Here’s what Bishop Barnes learned during 25 years serving the San Bernardino diocese

The bishop lists immigration reform, inclusiveness and diversity as important causes

Bishop Barnes of San Bernardino diocese

Bishop Gerald R. Barnes is celebrating his 25th year of leadership in the Diocese of San Bernardino, which includes Riverside and San Bernardino counties. No current Roman Catholic bishop in the United States has led a diocese longer than Barnes, diocese officials said.

COMFORTING IMMIGRANTS

Throughout the years, Barnes has pushed the church to embrace immigration reform. The way he sees it, the church has been a champion of immigrants since the very beginning. It has been there for the Italians, the Irish, Japanese, and Chinese.

The question of how to comfort immigrants has been a constant issue, including now, as many fear deportation under Donald Trump’s presidency.

“It’s not new, but it’s the time that we’re living … It breaks my heart. “What breaks my heart is that some of us, some people seem to have no compassion for what the other is going through,” he said.

Barnes worries that some people may not care when families are deported and separated. The Inland area is home to about 250,000 undocumented immigrants, yet the diocese has not decided whether it should official declare itself a sanctuary institution.

For now, Barnes said the diocese is hosting forums to teach immigrants about their constitutional rights. Through what he called a ministry of accompaniment, church members are comforting immigrants and praying with them. Also, the diocese hosts other forums to address, through church teaching, the humanity of the issue.

DIFFERENT BUT INCLUSIVE

To Barnes, engaging in dialogue, especially with those who may have differing views, is one of the pope’s most urgent calls. It’s a way to navigate through the complexities of family life, he said.

For example, although the church condemns birth control as sinful, Barnes recognizes that some people due to certain issues, like the health of a woman, may choose to use contraception.

“As a church, we don’t condemn that person,” he said. “We continue our teaching. We hold that person welcome, although we may not fully understand why that person is doing that.”

Barnes has long supported the gay community through the ministries of diocese. Although, he has rejected same-sex marriage.

He noted a commission that aims to support church members who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT). The commission has been around for nearly two decades, he said, and it provides support for family members and for LGBT people.

The committee is to “help us understand how to be more inclusive, how to reach out,” he said. “It isn’t meant for carrying any kind of agenda. Other than, we are family. We are one.”

TRANSCENDING TOKENISM

The Diocese of San Bernardino has earned a nationwide reputation for being especially welcoming of diversity.

When he took leadership here, Barnes noticed there weren’t many Asians making decisions.

“So I began to approach different people to be on there,” Barnes said. “So that we could hear their point of view (and) so that others could recognize that these other groups of people are also part of our church.”

And he referenced the Mass held earlier this month to celebrate his 25th year as proof.

The Mass was to reflect the multicultural profile of the Catholic church in the Inland area, which included liturgical dancing and scriptural readings in different languages.

“Someone from the outside would say it was a multicultural celebration … It wasn’t. It was a church celebration,” he said.

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Comments

  1. Disgusted with California Bishops says:

    Is Barnes a bishop in the Church of Political Correctness or in the Catholic Church? Must be the former because “Jesus”, “Christ”, “God”, “salvation” and “catechesis” are not mentioned in regard to what Barnes has learned or done whereas there are plenty of PC buzz words and leftist values espoused in the article.

    • Panther Mom says:

      Better to provide comfort and compassion than dogma and catechesis. Barnes is a bishop with heart.

      • Disgusted with California Bishops says:

        “Man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes forth from the mouth of God.” (Matthew 4:4)

        Barnes is a bishop without a spine.

        You prove my point, Panther Mom, about the bishop’s religion being Leftism. You yourself have placed leftist ideology above Catholic faith by your statement.

        • I doubt she is even a “mom”. No woman who has daughters would want all this single male Muslim men coming into this country. The same ones who believe in Shariah Law, and that Mohammed having a child bride was just hunky dory. CCD if you want to truly give us the whole story, how about posting articles on the Coptic Christians who have been martyred and their churches destroyed, or the young women in Sweden who have been raped and killed by “refugees”, or the Coptic Christian family in the United States that was destroyed by radical Muslims who did not like what they said, and on and on.

        • I take it you are not Catholic. Dogma is high Doctrine, defined in ecumenical councils. It is a non-negotiable.

          And their use of Liturgical Dance is a Liturgical abuse within the guidelines of the Mass.
          [GIRM, Rubrics]

          Inclusion of people to come means we don’t water down faith & doctrine simply to make them comfortable in sin. That codependency condemns them before God, rather than healing.

      • It’s the loose application of the law which has caused the problems in the first place. So, the question always comes down to: (1) do you correct things by enforcing the laws as written; or (2) do you say, to hell with it, throw in the towel, open the borders, dissolve the sovereignty of the United States into one world socialist government run from the Hague, and perpetuate global abortion and population control which will “solve” poverty by genocide? Your definition of compassion is the latter. It’s been said – A man who is not a socialist at age 20 has no heart, a man who is still a socialist at age 40 has no brain.

      • newguy40 says:

        Why can’t we have all 4 at the same time?

        I’d really like to know why folks think they are seperate.

      • Pather Mom, go listen to the video by Archbishop Sheen on Fr. Z’s website and many other websites, then come tell me about compassion. Compassion IS NOT letting into ones country those who are hell bent on destroying it.

  2. drewelow says:

    it makes me sad to see that liturgical dancing is making a comeback. it would be more festive to let dancers have extended performances at get togethers following mass, say, with the parish potluck .

  3. Bohemond says:

    Another lukewarm shepherd who will flee the coming persecution or side with the enemies of the Church…

  4. Bob Bugiada says:

    This is getting so tiresome. Here we are surrounded by the evils of abortion, attacks on the family, and an oppressive government that may yet drive the Church underground, and all this bishop can talk about are “immigrants” and “diversity.”

  5. Bishop Barnes, how about sin and salvation? Remember?

  6. He is my bishop and I pray for him. The diocesan paper always has a dozen or more pictures of him in every issue and maybe one artistic depiction of Jesus (if that) in an issue of Byte (the diocesan paper). I think you get the picture. How did we as a Church get to the point where the Pope and the Bishop’s images are splashed everywhere like they are movie stars?

  7. sounds like maybe says:

    He says re: migration -“It breaks my heart. “What breaks my heart is that some of us, some people seem to have no compassion for what the other is going through,” he said.

    He says re: contraception “As a church, we don’t condemn that person,” he said. “We continue our teaching. We hold that person welcome, although we may not fully understand why that person is doing that.”

    He says re: LGBT “Barnes has long supported the gay community through the ministries of diocese. Although, he has rejected same-sex marriage.”

    Sounds like maybe some misguided compassion goin’ on.

  8. These kind of articles engender lots of opinion about the job of a Bishop. Isn’t he supposed to teach and sanctify? It sounds like this Bishop is doing that. Most comments come from people with a multitude of opinions on how a Bishop should do that. At some point we all have to come to grips with the definition of a Catholic. We also have to come to grips with what it means to live the Catholic faith. We also have to come to grips with the notion that not every utterance from a Bishop or Priest has to be a condemnation of abortion, as awful as it is. People have needs that the Church traditionally tries to meet. People are starving, without shelter, or jobs. People are escaping from evil national governments and drug wars. Ours…

    • Bohemond says:

      Bob One the poor will ALWAYS be with us, no matter what utopia you liberals try to create at the expense of the rest of us.

  9. Bohemond, we could really save a lot of money following your suggestion to ignore the poor because they will always be with us. No more soup kitchens, shelters, job training, special schools, etc. Let them languish. I was always taught that since the poor will always be with us, we can never stop trying to help them. Take a gander at the Church’s teaching on Social Justice. Then you will know what it means to be Catholic.

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