Yesterday evening I browsed through a few videos on Youtube. YT proposed, sua sponte of course, a video with Bp. Robert Barron, himself being interviewed, in a “recap” about his own highly viewed interviews with Lex Fridman (of which I was unaware because I don’t pay heaps of attention to Barron) and with Shia LaBeouf.
The issue of Shia caught my attention because of his conversion and his comments to Barron about the Traditional Latin Mass. Those comments seemed to catch Barron out of prep and, as Shia came back to it several times, left him somewhat bumfuzzled.
Bp. Barron, to his credit, does a pretty good interview. He has interesting things to say. However, there are things that he doesn’t say and should, as when he was interviewed by Ben Shapiro. For this, which strikes me as a tactic, Barron has for a long time stood oracularly astride what I call the Olympian Middle.
Now that he is the ordinary bishop in a diocese, I hope he will let himself off his ever so carefully braided leash, though I don’t expect that he will. Not much at least. He is, after all, in Winona. Greener pastures await, but not if he leaves the leash. Not at this time. Not with this present episcopate.
The recap video opens in medias res, no opening title, graphics, with Barron making the statement:
“Maybe we don’t have to be in a stance of kind of mutual suspicion.”
Hence, he did not bury the lead.
Leaving aside what Barron said about the interview with Lex Fridman (a science guy… some of this was very good) I was mainly interested in what he would say about the Shia interview which has garnered 1..5 million views and attention in the secular press, which he acknowledged.
Both Barron and the interviewer, his employee and water carrier, entirely ignored Shia’s comments about the Traditional Latin Mass. He chose instead to remark on the good example of “evangelization” given to Shia by the Franciscans he had met.
I will agree that that was a good topic. However, the issue of the TLM was absolutely the hulking gorilla in the recap and he chose to ignore it. I don’t say that he chose to emphasize something else: he ignored it. He could have addressed it, but he didn’t. Even though he might have wanted to keep the video short, he didn’t mention it at all. Nor did the the water carrier. If you are going to fulfill the role of the interviewer, you ask about the hulking gorilla in the room. They clearly agreed ahead of time to ignore it.
That gorilla is now even bigger than before by the fact that he so obviously tried to photoshop it out of the background.
It is difficult to have respect for that choice.
I firmly believe that someone of Barron’s stature could to a great deal to bring various components of the Church in these USA together.
A demographic sinkhole is opening up under the Church right now. Pretty soon, only the committed, of various flavors of Catholic identity, will be left. They will find each other out of sheer need and something interesting will result. One of the groups that will remain strong and prominent will be Catholics who have embraced traditional sacred worship. And not just the elements that most obviously characterize that liturgical tradition. They want all of it. They want the identity and life that goes with it. This is something many bishops do not get at all. They think it is about the externals. Or, on the odd chance that they do get it, even if they are inclined to warm up, they dread even more the wrath of the whatever from high atop the thing.
Here’s the “recap”. The Shia part starts at about 16:45.
I don’t want this to turn into a bash Barron combox, especially from traddydom’s chattering Id crowd. If you are going to comment, say something interesting.
Meanwhile, I invite Bp. Barron to learn the Vetus Ordo and then to celebrate a Pontifical Mass.