I just read that Pope Francis has named Father Robert Barron to be auxiliary bishop of Los Angeles. Father Barron has been rector of Saint Mary of the Lake Seminary/University in Mundelein IL but is more famous for his evangelization work with Word On Fire. Theologically he is very “middle of the road” with his Doctorate in Sacred Theology from the Institute Catholique in Paris where he wrote his thesis: Creation as Discipleship: A Study of De Potentia of Thomas Aquinas in Light of the Dogmatick of Paul Tillich. It is an interesting title. Creation as Discipleship is a somewhat post-modern take. Thomas and De Potentia is about as classic Catholic as you can get. (And it is interesting that it is titled “Thomas Aquinas” and not “Saint Thomas Aquinas”—again, a hint of the post-modern.) And using Tillich’s critique brings not only a modern Protestant dimension to the thought of Thomas, but inserts the thesis in the mainline of current orthodox theological dialogue. It sort of sums up Father Barron. He is open to a variety of ideas, not afraid to express himself in contemporary vocabulary and thought processes, but at the base is a classic Thomist. I am excited that he will be among the episcopacy—we can use some theologians there to balance out the canon lawyers who have made the Church too cautious and the Burke-disciples who want to turn the clock back to a combination of Cardinal Mazarin and Tomás de Torquemada. Of course the krazies will be beside themselves. I can hardly wait to troll the blogs.