By W. H. MARSHNER
(Special to The Wanderer)
January 25, 1973
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Fr. William J. Tobin, formerly acting director of National Confraternity of Christian Doctrine (CCD) and a powerful figure in the U.S. catechetical establishment has abandoned his priesthood and the Church.
A check of the marriage records of the District of Columbia revealed that the 36-year-old Tobin was “married” on November 25th, 1972, to Judith Lee Kenny, 27, a divorcee. The ceremony was performed by Episcopalian minister, Harry C. Applewhite, in Washington’s national Episcopal cathedral.
Fr. Tobin joined the staff of the USCC on June 1st, 1970, as assistant director of the Division of Religious Education — CCD. In November of 1971, he became acting director, due to the illness of Msgr. Russell Neighbor. Passed over a choice for permanent director in favor of Fr. Charles McDonald, Tobin terminated his employment with national CCD on September 9th, 1972. Among lay people, Fr. Tobin was best known for his role in the International Catechetical Congress, held in Rome, in September of 1971.
Tobin’s departure from the USCC this last September did not terminate his role in catechetical affairs however. In October, Tobin was invited to the Philadelphia Archdiocesan CCD Congress as a featured speaker on the subject of the General Catechetical Directory, which he had done as much as possible to strangle in the cradle, as it were. It remains to be seen whether Tobin’s now-quite-public abandonment of Roman Catholicism will finally remove him from the catechetical circuit.
In contrast to the case of Msgr. Bordelon, no press release from Catholic or secular sources notified the public of Tobin’s departure from the USCC, not to mention his subsequent marriage. When contacted, the Archdiocese of New York, to which Fr. Tobin had been ordained, had no comment on whether he had applied for or received laicization. Of course, given Tobin’s marriage outside the Church, the laicization is academic in any case.