Bishop Michael Barber of the Oakland Diocese was robbed over the weekend at gunpoint as he was on his afternoon walk, saying his rosary, near the Paramount Theater, church officials confirmed on Tuesday.
At Pentecost Sunday mass, Bishop Barber told parishioners at the Cathedral of Christ the Light of the frightening Saturday afternoon encounter.
“I’ll mention this today and then I’ll shut up about it,” Barber said. “Yesterday, at 3 o’clock in the afternoon I was taking a walk on our neighborhood, I go out and walk in the afternoon and say the rosary, a man pulled a gun on me, pointed it at me and said ‘Give me your wallet.”
Barber said in his mind he thought his life may soon end and he may become the latest victim of deadly gun violence in Oakland.
“I was terrified. I was afraid. ‘Maybe this it,’ I said … ‘I’m sorry for my sins Lord,’” said Barber. “I took out my wallet and I was shaking and he said ‘Give me the cash, give me the cash.’ I gave him the money and then he saw my bishop’s ring. He said ‘Give me that ring.’”
“I was afraid. I’d rather have my life, so I gave him the ring. The ring with which I was consecrated by the archbishop when I was made a bishop. The ring that means I’m married to the Diocese of Oakland. It’s as precious to me as your wedding ring is to you.”
He said the gunman then sped away on a bike. Other than being shaken up, Barber was uninjured.
In his homily, Barber said he hopes this doesn’t happen to his parishioners, but that he forgives the suspect.
“The only way we defeat evil and crime and hatred is to pour out the love of Jesus wherever we find evil and crime and hatred and things like that,” he said.
The Oakland Police Department said it was actively investigating the armed robbery. The city has seen a 50% increase in armed robberies this year compared to 2020.
The above comes from a May 25 story on KPIX5, a CBS TV affiliate.
This broke my heart for Bishop Barber. He will turn age 67 this year– he is now getting older, and more vulnerable. Wonder if he needs a companion to accompany him on his prayerful walks? That might be helpful. The crime situation in Oakland has now worsened. Makes me sick. A bishop is holy, and deserves respect.
I agree, Anon, but find myself -in his shoes- asking myself. ” Would God have protected me if I had protected this sacred ring and said: ‘ I am a catholic Bishop of Oakland. Sorry, but this is too sacred to give away my Bishop’s ring . ‘ ” Apparently that never entered our Bishop’s mind then OR NOW. Just asking.
I don’t think Christ would want that. Just based on the Bible.
A shocking and disgusting crime all too common in deep blue cities run by progressives and democrats.
Yes it it a terrible but if you criticize these blue states democrats and progressives you are labeled racists..
If you’re in a state of grace you should have nothing to fear.
Come on Ron, fear is the natural response to armed robbery. Don’t deny the obvious, even for those in a state of grace. Very disingenuous of you.
The Agony in the Garden
No one should presume they are worthy of Heaven, even a bishop. I think Bishop Barber’s reaction was appropriate — shows he is just like the rest of us,
Ron, if you are in a state of grace, you should not fear death, is what that really means– because you are on the best of terms with God. Respect the great and good Bishop Barber. A holy man of God must have respect from the public– and should never be a victim of such an evil crime by a filthy, violent, worthless criminal.
Thomas Aquinas and St. Paul would disagree… man cannot judge with certainty that he has grace, according to 1 Corinthians 4:3-4: “But neither do I judge my own self . . . but He that judgeth me is the Lord.”
Chardin, no. A person can be reasonably sure that they are in a state of grace, if they have fulfilled what the Church requires to be in a state of grace– free from mortal sin, attending Mass regularly, confessing your sins regularly, leading a good life, pleasing to God. But no one can know their final end, only God can judge. So leave it at that, seek to live always in a state of grace, close to God– and put your faith and trust in God and His Love.for you.
Use the correct pronoun. Not “they” when referring to singular; use the inclusive singular “he”. A person can be sure HE is in a state of grace. No one can know HIS final end.
Fear is normal, and needed. And how do we control fear without practice?
So the Bishop was in a normal human mode, which all of us have. .
And Ron, both you and I need continuing practice also, regardless of our
Catholic Faith, and our state of grace.
This is horrible. And it was in broad daylight in a very public place. I will pray for Bishop Barber and his peace of mind, and for the robber.
Only prayer for the robber is that he’s caught and jailed.
Oh yes. I recall Jesus saying that exact same thing from the Cross. “Father, make sure these bastards that did this to me are caught and jailed”
YFC said we should pray for the robber, but now wants to dictate what that prayer should be. Praying for a criminal’s apprehension and justice is perfectly reasonable, YFC’s attempted virtue shaming is rejected.
Excuse me Get Real, I never said what the content of the prayer for the robber ought to be. That was YOU at 7:47 PM who dictated the content of the prayer! Get real, Get Real!
The difference is that the people who crucified Jesus knew not what they were doing. The man who robbed the bishop at gunpoint knew full well what he was doing.
How do you know the state of mind of the robber, whether they knew what they were doing or not? You have some kind of mind reading app on your phone?
Give me a break YFC. A man holds a gun to someone and demands money, then a flashy ring when he sees it. His use of the gun is a threat to use deadly force if the bishop refused to hand over his money and property. I guess nobody is guilty of any wrongdoing in YFC’s world except for Republicans.
YFC, what’s with the use of “they” to refer to an individual man, as described by the bishop himself? Why can’t you use the masculine pronoun “he”? Elementary school error in grammar: pronouns must agree in number and grammatical gender with their referent.
Dear anonymous language police:
You must all have disturbed hearts to be so contentious about things so trivial on the one hand (pronouns) yet so obvious in the first place (that we must pray for those who trespass against us).
Peace be with you!
These days pronoun usage is a front in the culture war, and the left has made it so. Correct pronoun usage is not trivial at all, for the left uses it to conceal reality in an attempt to alter people’s perceptions of biological sex. Therefore, correcting your usage of “they” to refer to an individual male is an act of charity and truth.
Hey, YFC. No way. Our God is a God of Justice. Yes, the violent robber must face his sins and take his punishments. Oh, yes. And he must repent, repent, repent. Besides that, our God is also a God of Love, Mercy, and Forgiveness. But Repentance of Sin is a must.
“I pray for the Bishop and the robber.” That’s all I said. Sheesh.
How many comments does it take for you all to belittle me and these simple heartfelt sentiments?
“Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us”
“Forgive them, Father, for they know not what they do.”
““You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.”
“Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.”
YFC– you must respect Our Lord! Do not put dirty language into His holy mouth, ever! Always respect Our Lord! And please, never use dirty language in writing a post for others to read! That’s horrible! This online Catholic news source also needs higher standards, with more respect for God.
P.S. YFC, you’re forgiven! And thanks for the lovely Scriptural quotes in your post of May 28 at 4:43pm! But I also believe the violent robber must repent, take his punishments and do penance for his sins– and return to the good Bishop– a man of God!– his wallet, money, holy episcopal ring, and everything! And make a very deep, sincere, heartfelt confession and apology, to God and to the Bishop! Praying he will be caught, brought to trial, and given his punidhment for his violent crime — and will harm no one else, ever, for the rest of his life! Keep Oakland safe!
I am glad that he was not hurt. I am sorry that this happened to him. I am glad that he forgave his assailant. I needed that good example today.
The Bishop’s ring is virtually useless to the thief. The police will have a good description [and perhaps a picture] in the hands of all pawn shops, second hand sgtores,etc.
I wouldn’t walk around Oakland by myself, day or night.
Some trolls who post here would say it’s because you are a racist. I would say you are pragmatic and correct.
Sorry that happened to you or to anyone
“ ‘I was terrified. I was afraid. Maybe this it,’ I said ”
Perhaps that is how the Police feel when also being confronted with threat.
Maybe you could do the “Stations of the Cross” for the Police, too, who are often targeted,
instead of mindlessly merging with them who defunded the Police.
Take away all the guns, so only criminals can get them isn’t going to help the public.
If guns could ever be removed, Knives will be the next weapon of choice.
It’s Oakland California what would you expect to happen in a city that is crime ridden from top to bottom????
I don’t care about the felon’s mindset, and neither do most reasonable people who have a gun held to their head in a brazen robbery. When someone else starts the fight, we have every right to defend ourselves, unconcerned by virtue shaming liberals worried more about the felon than the innocent victim.
Poor YFC, 28 May @ 11:42 am. The report contains no suggestion that the robber was mentally deranged. So, in the absence of such evidence, are we to assume [or at least suspect] that every evildoer is crazy? That’s the logic of your post. No, evil is evil and crazy is crazy. And the presence or absence of the one does not predict the presence or absence of the other.
I never aid “he” was mentally deranged or crazy. Please don’t put words into my mouth. What I said is that we can’t know what was his state of mind. That is actually Catholic Church teaching, by the way.
So if I rob you at gunpoint in broad daylight, you will be thinking about my mental state because you think that’s Catholic teaching. By the way, where do you like to walk alone? Rhetorical question, don’t bother to answer or say you, an anonymous person in an unknown location are being threatened, just hope you get the point!
Duh, did you even read the comment?
Ya. That’s why I commented.
Just a form of reparations – all in a day’s ” work.”
You nailed it.
Maybe this will make this bishop and others begin to support widespread concealed carry of firearms.
Calm yourself, Linda Maria.
Keep calm and pray on.
Thanks to God that the Bishop wasn’t physically harmed.
US Catholic Conference of Bishops (USCCB)
through its Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD)
has been funding organizations that demanded the defunding of the police.
Hence, diminished police presence and more crime in Oakland
The Bishop’s “walletful of cash” (according to earliest news reports)
and ring can be re-issued to him by the Diocese
but folks don’t have those resources when they are robbed.
Hopefully the original sacred ring will be restored
and that Bishop Barber will pray and work for law and order and safety for all Oaklanders
God willed it.
God never wills sin. He permits it.
He willed to permit it.