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VATICAN CITY, March 4, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) — Pope Francis has appointed another American cardinal to a position of worldwide influence in the Catholic Church.

Today the Vatican announced that Cardinal Joseph Tobin, C.SS.R, the 68-year-old Archbishop of Newark, will be joining Cardinal Blaise Cupich, the Archbishop of Chicago, in the Congregation for Bishops. Cupich, 71, was appointed to the Congregation by Pope Francis in 2016. The chief responsibility of members of this Congregation is to assist the pontiff in choosing potential episcopal candidates for dioceses across the world. 

Cardinal Sérgio da Rocha, the 61-year-old Archbishop of Brazil’s São Salvador da Bahia, was also appointed to the Congregation. Pope Francis previously honored the Brazilian prelate by nominating him, alongside Cupich, as one of his special appointees to the 2015 Synod of Bishops. The Argentinian pontiff named Da Rocha a cardinal in 2016. Another Brazilian, Archbishop Ilson De Jesus Montanari, has been the Secretary of the Congregation for Bishops since 2013.

According to Joshual J. McElwee of the National Catholic Reporter, Tobin is “effectively” replacing Cardinal Donald Wuerl, the former Archbishop of Washington, whose participation in the Congregation of Bishops ended last November upon Wuerl’s 80th birthday.  Approximately 35 archbishops and cardinals are members of the Congregation for Bishops 

Catholic News Agency reported in early February that Cardinal Cupich may replace Canada’s Cardinal Marc Ouellet, 76, as prefect of the Congregation for Bishops.  A Vatican insider told LifeSiteNews today that Cupich may have asked Pope Francis to appoint Cardinal Tobin to the Congregation when the Archbishop of Chicago met with the pontiff last month. 

“Cupich doesn’t speak Italian, and other bishops don’t like him, but he does have his clique, and Tobin is in it,” the insider told LifeSiteNews from Rome. 

“I see [Tobin’s] appointment as a political move, and it has nothing to do with the faith.” 

According to the Vatican insider, who spoke only under condition of anonymity, but is well known to LifeSiteNews, the appointment of the Archbishop of Newark to the Congregation for Bishops is a way of making it more “inclusive”, that is, ensuring that there are enough Americans onboard. Meanwhile, the insider says that the word on the Roman street is still that the next prefect will indeed be American himself.

“Cupich is a frontrunner to be the next Prefect of the Congregation for Bishops,” the Vatican insider said, “and it would be a fantastic strategic move to bring Cupich to Rome.”

Apparently, this would do two things: it would take Cupich out of the United States where he has failed in influencing the Conference of Catholic Bishops, a role he inherited from Wuerl, who inherited it from the former Cardinal McCarrick, and it would make it necessary for Francis to appoint other likeminded bishops, first to the Archdiocese of Chicago, and then to whatever diocese the Chicago appointment left empty.   

Cupich made headlines in January after blasting the USCCB for its statement on the inauguration of self-identifying Catholic Joseph Biden. Cupich argued that the statement, which was critical of Biden’s pro-abortion, pro-LGBT stance, was “ill-considered,” and “came as a surprise to many bishops.” Cupich’s criticism of the statement squared with the position of the Vatican, which suppressed the release of the USCCB statement “hours before it was due to be released.”

Cardinal Tobin, too, is Biden-booster. Last September he stated that Catholics could in “good conscience” vote for the pro-abortion Democratic presidential candidate. Tobin’s de facto endorsement, in which he mentioned Biden by name, contradicted pro-life priests who warned that “no Catholic can vote for Joe Biden” because of his radical abortion advocacy. 

In 2018 Tobin claimed that the “Church is moving on the question of same-sex couples,” and added that the changes were not happening as quickly as some would like. Meanwhile, both Tobin and Cupich are allegedly part of the disgraced former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick “ego-network.”

Author and historian Dr. Peter Kwasniewski told LifeSiteNews that the appointment of Tobin to the Roman “bishop factory” means that there will be more bishops like him. 

“This new assignment of a cardinal whom Archbishop Vigano has repeatedly demonstrated to be part of the McCarrick cabal indicates that the “bishop factory” will continue to produce predominantly Bergoglian “magic circle” candidates, doctrinally progressive, morally compromised, who will promote the “new paradigm” that dissolves the Catholic religion,” Kwasniewski stated via social media.