Bishop Robert Barron’s Instagram for July 4 features a quote from Italian Catholic activist Pier Giorgio Frassati: “To live without faith, without a patrimony to defend, without a steady struggle for truth – that is not living, but existing.”
It was fitting that Barron chose July 4, Independence Day – and the Feast of Pier Giorgio Frassati – to join a group of Catholics in Ventura, who came out to defend the statue of Saint Junipero Serra in front of Ventura City Hall.
On June 20, as protesters rallied at the statue, shouting “Tear It Down,” a group of Catholic families and young people shielded the statue, praying throughout the rally, and only leaving when the anti-Serra protesters disbanded.
As word got out that “Ventura’s largest” Black Lives Matter rally was to meet in downtown Ventura on July 4, concerned Catholics again mobilized. A group of about 75 Catholics surrounded the statue as the rally began Saturday morning, praying the Rosary. As hundreds of Black Lives Matter protesters breached a barricade and surrounded the statue after marching through nearby streets, the Catholics – many of them teenagers and college students – continued to pray the Rosary, shouting to be heard over the chants of the BLM protesters.
The Serra protectors were encouraged by a surprise guest, a black-clad figure wearing his trademark baseball cap: Bishop Robert Barron. Noted author and media presence, Barron is auxiliary bishop of Los Angeles for the Santa Barbara pastoral region, which includes Ventura.
According to a high school student who was present, Barron told the Catholics at the statue that he was there “to give them hope.” His presence was significant for another reason. He has recently come under fire for his testy response “That’s the laity’s job!” to the question of who should stand up to the current “cancel culture.”
On June 24, Barron published a Word on Fire article entitled “Why ‘What Are The Bishops Doing About It?’ is the Wrong Question.” In the article, he responded to comments critical of the bishops’ response to the ongoing clamor to remove statues of St. Louis, King of France, and St. Junipero Serra. Barron remarked that the laity “are putting way too much onus on the clergy and not nearly enough on themselves.” He insisted that “the lion’s share of the work regarding this massive societal problem belongs to those whose proper arena is the society and whose expertise lies precisely in the relevant areas of concern, namely, the laity.”
Reaction to Barron’s Word on Fire article was overwhelmingly negative. In the ensuing furor, he disabled comments for his article, and blocked a certain prominent Catholic’s twitter account. Ultimately, however, it appears that he paid attention.
July 8 UPDATE:
Ventura City Council met Tuesday, July 7 to discuss the statue’s fate. As the meeting began, a large crowd gathered at the statue to pray. The city council meeting, held virtually, lasted for almost five hours. There were over 120 public comments, and, according to one council member, “thousands of pages” of comments submitted prior to the meeting. The city council expected to vote on the issue at the July 7 meeting but postponed the vote until Wednesday, July 15. Meanwhile, a petition to save the statue has gathered nearly 5000 signatures.
The above story was written by Monica Seeley.
It’s good to see a bishop demonstrate spiritual fatherhood by standing up, leading and defending. Clergy need to speak and act. Yet, Bishop Barron does seem to make a certain, valid point. Societies are changed largely by the actions (or inaction) of the lay faithful, the vast majority of the Church. Even Church renewal movements have been led largely by lay persons. Saint Francis, for example, was a layman for most of his life. We are all in this together. Let’s all speak and act on behalf of the Truth. (John 14:6)
I can only say, “Well it is about time!”
He only showed up when it caused him to be embarrassed.
Better late than never, I suppose, but he was shamed into it by Taylor Marshall.
Probably right! Dr. Taylor Marshall is a solid Catholic voice and his youtube videos are informative, entertaining and well worth your time. Hope you Cal Catholic readers will check them out!
Wearing a Dodger cap? I thought he was a Northsider.
When a bishop (or priest or deacon or anyone) does the right thing, even if belatedly, it seems a letter of gratitude to him would go a long way toward increasing his willingness to stand up, even more quickly, the next time an issue comes along. Pastors and bishops get mostly critical communication. I’ve seen pastors get stronger after numerous people have commended them for doing the right thing. Should we need that? Of course not. Yet, we’re human and a little encouragement (I can tell you from personal experience) goes a long way.
Here’s the address:
Archdiocese of Los Angeles
3424 Wilshire Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90010-2241
Anyone willing to write him a “thank you?”
Thank you Deacon
Yes, A simple “Thank you”
Yes, I thank him for going there, but please, please with sugar on top Bishop Barron unblock Taylor Marshall and Tim Gordon’s Twitters and e-mails. There are not any more “racist” than anyone else on this planet.
Another thing is that one cannot stop people from worshipping pagan idols on their own territory, but bringing them into a Catholic Church is not right. I certainly would not take a statue of the god Thor or the goddess Morrigan and plop them down in a Catholic Church, even though some of my ancestors surely worshipped them. I hope Bishop Barron have spoken out against that.
I cannot believe a good Catholic like you is a fan of those two.
Anonymous, only God is good. Any good that we do comes from him. Without him we can do nothing.
Taylor Marshall and Tim Gordon do make some good points. They have young children and are frustrated with what is going on, especially concerning Mc Carrick and the Mc Carrick report that has not come out. I am going to be quite clear here, I believe Mc Carrick was at least one of the people who “threw” Cardinal Zen and the Chinese Catholic Christians “under the bus”, and so do many others.
Anne, you’re right. McCarrick is one of the guys who threw Cardinal Zen and the Chinese Catholic Church under the bus. He was brought back out of exile by Pope Francis, who pledged a Vatican with “absolute transparency.” Same Vatican that promised in December that the McCarrick report would be released “soon.” Maybe they’re waiting until after our November election?! Maybe our co-religionists Biden and Pelosi with their pro-China stance and connections worked with McCarrick?! Who knows? Speculation and rumors will run rampant until they finish redacting out what they don’t want released and release their version of the story.
Did Bishop Barron stay the entire time, or did he leave before the mob came?
Tragically, the fire at the San Gabriel Mission is fueling more lies about Saint Junipero in the mainstream media, including the LA Times.
The Bishop writes good books, makes good videos, and preaches well. And then he erases all that good work by wearing an LA Dodger hat. Really!
I too noticed the Dodgers cap. Remember, all of us have our faults. I’m pretty certain God’s unconditional love includes Dodger fans, even Yankees fans!
I assume the baseball cap references are in good humor, because there is only on cap a Catholic should be wearing: PADRES.
HeheHE! Go PADRES!
A few might wear Cardinals caps.
And, I’d really like to see some Braves!
And, Mets for metropolitan archbishops!
And, I once saw a cap that had “NE Pats” on it. I think that’s for the Near Eastern Patriarchs.