New Bishops

Liam broke the news here, and Deacon Greg includes a statement from the bishop-elect here. Our frequent commenter mentions that Pope Francis has avoided sending new bishops to places without personal connections. I’m sure anything written by someone other than the bishop-elect, his archbishop(s), or someone in Rome is sheer speculation.

Father_Robert_BarronMaybe sending a filmmaker to Hollywood is a no-brainer. I remember an America piece from last summer in which Jim McDermott described his aspiration to make films caught the attention of his Jesuit superiors. So they sent him to UCLA to learn how to do it. Perhaps Pope Francis has a secret plan to evangelize in southern California.

Maybe another auxiliary bishop is needed more in Los Angeles than in the Second City.

A combination of the above implies that some discernment went into this appointment, that Congregation of Bishops is actually putting some thought into assignments, and not just sending culturewarriors into liberal bastions just to shake things up.

I do recall that many folks have been agitating for this “promotion” for years. I wonder if they realize that we will soon find out if Word on Fire is more Robert Barron or more the Holy Spirit. I suspect it is more the latter, and we will see new presenters on the films produced.

I like his last request at the conclusion of his own statement:

Please pray for me and teach me how to be a good bishop.

Rocco has more on the other two bishops appointed, including this curiosity about David O’Connell:

Hailed as an exemplar of the priesthood in a 2002 LATimes profile as the clergy sex-abuse crisis made national headlines, the candid cleric likewise made a wave of a different sort in the piece with an indirectly cited statement that “women should be ordained and clergy should be able to marry.”

“If there had been some parents in there running things,” O’Connell said then in reference to abuse and its cover-up, “none of this would have ever happened.”

Those kind of statements would have been a disqualifier in previous recent decades. Even if only hearsay.

These three guys represent a small cadre of immense talent. Ecclesiastical gold for LA.



About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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6 Responses to New Bishops

  1. Jim McCrea says:

    All Anglos; no Hispanics. LA County is 48% Hispanic/Latino. California is 38% Latino/Hispanic.

    A word to the wise should be sufficient. I’m sure the “sects” are quite cognizant of this fact; hence the ever-increasing drain.

    • MikeK says:

      Actually, of the three Anglos, two have ministered regularly in the Hispanic community, and both are well-versed to fluent in the language. Even Bishop-elect Barron gave a statement in Spanish that seemed to roll off his tongue fairly easily, and he’s supposed the be the least fluent of the three,

  2. FrMichael says:

    The apocalypse is upon us: I agree with one of the uber-progressive commentators here.

    “All Anglos; no Hispanics.” The state of California is brimming with high-quality Hispanic priests. It is a scandal that the Irish old guard of LA managed to get 2 out of 3 from its ranks, much less that one is a supporter of women’s ordination.

  3. Devin Rice says:

    I read an except from Fr. Thomas Reese a while back (not my favorite writer) about bishop selection. The time frame he covered was in the 70s and 80s. One of his findings was that most diocese preferred a pattern of alternating bishops between insiders to the diocese and outsiders. Outsiders having the advantage of having fresh eyes and not being involved in intra-diocesan fights.

    On a somewhat similar line of thought, perhaps “ethnic-minority” priests who are ordained bishops should sometimes be assigned to areas where their particular group has no sizeable presence. Or how about Bishop McElroy being sent to a very conservative diocese. Sometimes a bit of incongruence is what the doctor ordered.

  4. FrMichael says:

    I’m not a quota-type guy when it comes to lots of things. But it does steam me to see high- qualified ethnic minority priests get passed over by equally- or lesser-qualified white priests, not just for selection for bishops, but for chancery positions and diocesan commissions from whom many bishops come. It’s definitely the plantation system ruling the Church in California.

    • Liam says:

      A notorious case of the inside-boys-network was Boston during the tenure of Cardinal Madeiros. Madeiros succeeded Richard Cushing and a series of Irish-American archbishops. Madeiros was a double auslander: (i) he was born in the Azores, and spent his childhood there, only moving to Fall River in his mid-teens, where he was very much of the local Lusophone community, and (ii) he spent most of his time as a local parish priest, then 4 years as bishop of Brownsville TX, before succeeding Cushing. Madeiros was an outsider the the dominant Hibernian culture of Boston. And his assigned task was to staunch the red ink from the open wallet Cushing gave to suburban parish creation in his tenure; in other words, Madeiros was going to have trim budgets and make cuts what would make him unpopular. And his auslander status made a huge difference when Boston’s busing crisis brought local racial/ethnic tribalisms into high relief in the mid-1970s. So Bernard Law’s assigned task when he succeeded Madeiros was to heal those racial/ethnic divisions, which, much to his credit, he did more ably than was expected. Of course, then he had a legacy that Sean O’Malley was sent in to repair. The cycle will undoubtedly continue.

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