American to oversee Catholic orders

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The Sydney Morning Herald

August 2, 2010 – 10:24PM

Pope Benedict XVI has tapped an American, Joseph William Tobin, to oversee Catholic religious orders around the world, the Vatican announced on Monday.

As head of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, one of the Vatican’s nine departments, Tobin, 58, will oversee the more than 300 Catholic orders around the world.

The orders of monks and nuns as well as lay people who live a common life under the leadership of a religious superior number around a million.

Tobin, from the midwestern US city of Detroit, headed the 5300-strong Redemptorist order based in Rome from 1991 to 2009.

His predecessor Gianfranco Agostino Gardin was named archbishop of Treviso, Italy, last December.

The Vatican this year took over the direct management of the Legion of Christ, a powerful ultra-conservative order tainted by scandal involving its late founder Marcial Maciel, accused of sexual abuse and secretly fathering children.

The Roman Catholic Church is under intense pressure to crack down on abusers and their protectors in the hierarchy after a string of abuse scandals since late last year in Europe, North America and elsewhere.

© 2010 AFP

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