New Neighbor

My wife, not Liam, not the whisperer, broke the news to me this morning. One of my favorite authors will be my new neighbor in Minnesota. Bishop Barron can strike the “auxiliary” from his office; he’s to be in charge in southern Minnesota.

I wasn’t aware of the churning at Word on Fire. That piece published yesterday. The promotion news this morning.

Robert Barron as a subject has popped up on this site for years. Careful readers know of my regard for the bishop as a five-star writer. Perhaps a bit less (just four stars) as a filmmaker in the mode of Ken Burns. Catholicism was a fine achievement, but Hollywood might yawn. Has there been anything moving forward in the past eleven years? He catches a bit of guff, like here. But is there a next step forward like many artists have shown–from hobbits to The Lord of the Rings … from the heights to Hamilton?

Being a pastor is a different kind of career. Henri Nouwen struggled with the charism of  stability when we consented to be the pastor for a L’Arche community. No more free agent jetting to Europe or Latin America or to speaking gigs. Does that mean that now Bishop Barron is the ordinary of a diocese he can’t make films or travel to Big Places? What are the dreams and aspirations of a man in his 60s, closer to the end of a career than a beginning, who is sent to a place much more quiet and out-of-the-way than Chicago or Los Angeles? A good move for him, what do you think?

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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3 Responses to New Neighbor

  1. Liam says:

    I was wondering when you’d notice that (I check the Resignations and Appointments postings mostly every day).

    One of the things I’ve noticed is that, while Pope Francis had several years running (after roughly his first year in office) where episcopal appointments were much (much) less lateral billiard-table translations and more up-from-within, in the more recent years, appointment have reverted more to that billiard-table pattern that dominated the prior two pontificates. Which is unfortunate in my view.

    This appointment at least brings him closer to his Chicago home. But Minnesota ain’t Illinois.

  2. I confess I don’t follow appointments closely enough these days to tell, not even those in the US–unless they are my own diocese. I have read some muted cheers and jeers over this one. Bishop Barron has something of a neutral-aligned following among the Catholic Right–not too many critics and not too much hero worship. He has his fans, yes. But these don’t look like ideological Catholics to me. I did note from social media commentators the thinking that Los Angeles to Winona is a demotion, but it strikes me that an invented office in Orders is lower on the pole than being an ordinary. Santa Barbara isn’t a diocese after all. (Whether or not it should be is another matter.) Bishop Barron is captain of his own boat now. He’s not a high-ranking assistant. Speaking for myself, I’d rather be head of liturgy and music in a small parish than an accompanist/altar server trainer in a 5000-family operation. Maybe Robert Barron thinks the same way. It wouldn’t surprise me that a few of his brother bishops might have noted that and sent the word to the dicastery for bishops.

    • Liam says:

      Maybe it should be the I-90 Diocese? I’ve driven along I-90 from Rochester to Rapid City in one day. An interesting diocesan territorial configuration…

      The co-cathedral in Rochester is large and modern – designed and built before the Council, and renovated a generation ago.

      “The new building, built in 1956, became one of Rochester’s most distinctive architectural structures of the times. The church, built of Mankato stone, was very simple with straight lines, but was impressive and dignified in its contemporary style. From its website:

      Reverend Monsignor Gerald Mahon, pastor since 1995, oversaw a major renovation of the church, which culminated in the dedication of the new space on May 19, 2002, the Feast of Pentecost. The interior of the church was turned 180 degrees, and a new chapel, gathering space, fellowship area, and peace garden were all added during the project. The parish received permission to connect with the downtown pedestrian subway, allowing patients and caregivers access to the church from the neighboring buildings of the Mayo Medical Center.”

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