A New Bishop, With the Style of a Parish Priest, for Rockville Centere

On Tuesday, January 31st, Bishop Barres replaced Bishop William Murphy as the head of the Diocese of Rockville Centre in New York. Johnny Milano for The New York Times writes an article on the two figures of the church, giving readers an insight into who these men are and the ceremony that followed this change in leadership. Describing the two men in somewhat dissimilar ways, it is clear that a new way of thinking will come along with Bishop Barres’s installation as the head of the Diocese. Describing Bishop William Murphy as “a gregarious and outspoken man, is a doctrinal conservative who was not shy about wading into culture wars and politics. Before the 2016 presidential election, for example, he wrote a letter to be read aloud in all Sunday Masses that said support for abortion “should disqualify any and every such candidate from receiving our vote.” On the other hand, Bishop Barres has a rather differing personality than that of Bishop Murphy, Milano describes him as “…a different style. Naturally shy, he was described by his former flock in the Diocese of Allentown in Pennsylvania, where he had been bishop since 2009, as low-key, warm and personable. At the same time, he leans traditional in his Roman Catholic outlook. He is focused, he said in an interview, on what he calls the eternal truths of the church and has a deep personal practice of prayer.” While reading this portion of the article, I was greatly reminded of the shift we spoke of in class of the Catholic Church, starting as a “churchly orientation” and shifting overtime towards a “denominational orientation”. I see a sort of connection with the shift in the Catholic Church’s typology and the shift from Bishop Murphy to Barres.