This morning, Tuesday, July 21, Archbishop Jose Gomez (second from left) of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles held a press conference at the downtown Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels to introduce his three newly named auxiliary bishops — (from left to right) Msgr. Joseph V. Brennan, Father Robert Barron, and Msgr. David O’Connell — to the media.
Click here for the details on the announcement, from my Pax Culturati blog at Patheos.com. Click here for a story from Angelus, the online version of The Tidings, the newspaper of the L.A. Archdiocese, for a rundown which includes a full video of the event, which was livestreamed.
All four men addressed the assembled press in both English and Spanish. Both Brennan and O’Connell are longtime pastors in Los Angeles (O’Connell came to L.A. from Ireland, but his Spanish is flawless), and Barron was most recently rector of the Mundelein Seminary in Chicago.
The three bishops-elect also wore pectoral crosses that are identical to the one worn by Pope Francis, who made the ultimate decision to
appoint them. But, Barron noted after the ceremony that the chain wasn’t quite long enough to tuck the large cross into his jacket pocket, so some modification may have to be done.
As the head of the global media apostolate Word on Fire Catholic Ministries, whose motto is “Proclaiming Christ in the Culture” — and the warm, engaging host of the acclaimed “Catholicism” documentary mini-series — Barron brings a long experience of writing for the media and appearing on-camera.
He’s a skilled communicator, and Word on Fire productions are of top-notch quality, so it’s not hard to guess why Barron may have been chosen to come from his native Chicago to the heart of Hollywood.
I’ll be catching up with Barron in a few days for an interview, but in the meantime, here’s my video of his remarks:
And, here’s his answer to my subsequent question about how he plans to engage the entertainment industry.
Now that I’m here in this great entertainment capital, which includes the whole world, it’s an important question. One thing I’ve tried to do in my evangelical work is to reach out to TV and to movies and to popular culture, and try to find what the Church Fathers called seeds of worth, the signs and echoes of the Faith that you see in pop culture, and to point those out, so as to lead more positively.
It’s easy enough to say that there are all sorts of negativity within media culture — and there is — but my preferred method is to find the points of contact and to emphasize those.
In a more direct way, you can think of [the training and mentorship program] Act One here in Hollywood, trying to bring Christians into screenwriting. That’s a good thing.
My thing, from an evangelical standpoint, is to look out into popular culture, to find the points of contact and thereby draw people closer.
So that’s been my strategy, kind of an affirmative orthodoxy, if you will. It’s a hopeful way to engage popular culture.
Image/video: Kate O’Hare