Barron: Basketball, Heroism, and Holiness

I have no doubt Father Robert Barron is having a tough time with the change in papacy, as well as the change in the Archbishop of Chicago. His sensibilities seem far more attuned to the JPII and Benedict eras than the poor church of the poor called for by Francis.  That's fine- we all don't need the same sensibilities. 

Still, a friend called my attention to this video about the priesthood and it left me, well, flummoxed -  and a little uncomfortable, to tell the truth. The values seem, well, really off.  I think basketball is a fine sport-- but a model for heroic priesthood? There are priests dying for the faith in the Middle East. And it is all JPII -- just a brief shot of Francis, which is visually jarring since the shot only emphasizes the vast differences in liturgical sensibilities between Barron, who seems to follow Ratzinger's style, and the current papacy.

As a recruitment tool, the video seems to be in the middle of a time warp. JPII has been dead for a decade now and the last ten years of his life were not the model of vigor and physical strength that probably brought men of Father Barron's age to the priesthood.  Francis is the pope now- -and by all accounts, pretty popular. Why not use him as the centerpiece of a recruiting video?

update: I watched the video a second time: there are no women--the candidates are interacting only with men. The emphasis is on the celebration of the Eucharist-- no baptism, no anointing of the sick, no penance, no sacraments of marriage.  There is virtually no Church. The priest is a lone romantic figure, standing beside a lake. There are no corporal or spiritual works of mercy portrayed. There is no one old, no one messy, no one uncoordinated. And no one too short to play basketball. It looks like a recruiting tool for the Legion of Christ-- maybe that's the source of my discomfort.

Can any one help me make sense of this? Is this code to say: "come to Mundelein and you won't have to pay any attention to Francis's pesky rejection of clerical privilege?" Or does it reflect the view that Francis's popularity doesn't translate into vocations?

And really: why basketball?

Cathleen Kaveny is the Darald and Juliet Libby Professor in the Theology Department and Law School at Boston College.

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