Bishop Robert Barron on Godfrey Diekmann, OSB

Ars Praedicandi: Bishop Robert Barron on Godfrey Diekmann, OSB

[Bishop “Imagine there’s no one in hell” Barron on a godfather of the liturgical movement – at Vatican II and St. John’s Abbey-Collegeville, Minnesota – as well as an advocate of inclusive language in the Mass, women’s ordination, and a married clergy]

JAN 19 ’16
Posted by Editor of Pray Tell

On January 10, the Baptism of the Lord, Bishop Robert Barron, recently ordained to serve the people of Los Angeles, celebrated Mass at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels. Barron began his homily with a story remembering conversations he had with Godfrey Diekmann, OSB. Barron met Diekmann during a visit to Saint John’s Abbey in Collegeville and the two became friends.

We have transcribed the homily from the YouTube video …:

Friends, what an enormous privilege we have, on this feast of the Baptism of the Lord, to celebrate in this place…because there, right behind us, is what I think is one of the most beautiful tapestries, this beautiful depiction of the baptism of the Lord. So maybe keep that image fixed in your mind as I preach this morning.

About 20 years ago I had the privilege of meeting Godfrey Diekmann. Godfrey was a monk of Saint John’s Abbey up in Collegeville, Minnesota. Maybe not a household name, but he had a huge impact on the church in the 20th century. Because Godfrey was the editor of this theological journal about the Liturgy [Orate Frates, Worship], he led in many ways the liturgical movement of the 20th century, which led to Vatican II. In fact, Godfrey was at Vatican II. He knew of John XXIII, Paul VI, he helped to write the document on the Liturgy.

So, a major player in the life of the church, someone who had fought all kinds of battles.
I met him when he was about 92 through a mutual friend. And when I met him, Godfrey was in a wheelchair, and he had this cane, always in his right hand. But a very lively fellow, full of humor and full of stories and energy.

So after a while, after I got to know him a little bit better, I said, Godfrey, if you were young again, and you could mount the barricades, what would you fight for in the life of the church? And I was sitting across from him, and I will never forget, he brought the cane down on my knee. Boom. And he said, “women’s ordination!” [Altered for reasons of poetic license; he actually said “the mystical body!”]

Read more or see the video at

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