RSSWord on Fire

Evangelizing through the good

Evangelizing through the good

| Bishop Robert Barron | April 19, 2017 | 1 Comment

Anyone even vaguely acquainted with my work knows that I advocate vigorous argument on behalf of religious truth. I have long called for a revival in what is classically known as apologetics, the defense of the claims of faith against skeptical opponents. And I have repeatedly weighed in against a dumbed-down Catholicism. Also, I have, for many years, emphasized the importance of beauty in service of evangelization. The Sistine Chapel Ceiling, the Sainte-Chapelle, Dante’s “Divine Comedy,” Bach’s “St. Matthew’s Passion,” T.S. Eliot’s “Four Quartets” and the Cathedral of Chartres all have an extraordinary convincing power, in many ways surpassing that of formal arguments. So, I affirm the path of truth and the path of beauty. But I also recommend, as a means of propagating the faith, the third of the transcendentals, namely, “the good.”

Continue Reading

Love is both tolerant and intolerant

Love is both tolerant and intolerant

| Bishop Robert Barron | April 6, 2017 | 0 Comments

Every community, inevitably, has a value or set of values that it considers fundamental — some basic good that positions every other claim to goodness.

Continue Reading

Dave Rubin, the ‘pelvic issues’ and Jewish comedians

Dave Rubin, the ‘pelvic issues’ and Jewish comedians

| Bishop Robert Barron | February 9, 2017 | 13 Comments

Recently, I was interviewed in Los Angeles by Dave Rubin for his popular program “The Rubin Report.” Dave is a stand-up comedian, political satirist, protégé of Larry King, and spokesman for, I think it’s fair to say, the classically liberal, secularist world view. He has demonstrated a particular interest in the issues raised by the new atheists and by the supposed conflict between religion and the sciences. He is also an advocate of gay marriage. You might be wondering, therefore, why he’d want to talk to a Catholic bishop.

Continue Reading

The trouble with the ‘You Go Girl’ culture

The trouble with the ‘You Go Girl’ culture

| Bishop Robert Barron | November 9, 2016 | 10 Comments

Two recent films, “Deepwater Horizon” with Mark Wahlberg and “Sully” starring Tom Hanks, represent something of a breath of fresh air, for both movies feature men who are intelligent, virtuous and quietly heroic. If this strikes you as a banal observation, that just means you haven’t been following much of the popular culture for the past 20 years.

Continue Reading

Knowing who we are, knowing what we’re supposed to do

Knowing who we are, knowing what we’re supposed to do

| Bishop Robert Barron | October 26, 2016 | 0 Comments

This fall, I am giving presentations to all of the high school teachers, staff and administrators in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. These annual talks are dedicated to a regular cycle of topics. This year, the theme is morality. Lucky me! My guess is that disquisitions on doctrine or Church history or pastoral practice wouldn’t raise too many hackles, but ethics is practically guaranteed to rile people up, especially now when issues of same-sex marriage, transgenderism and assisted suicide are so present to the public consciousness.

Continue Reading

Why you should read C.S. Lewis’ ‘The Great Divorce’

Why you should read C.S. Lewis’ ‘The Great Divorce’

| Bishop Robert Barron | September 21, 2016 | 1 Comment

In my capacity as regional bishop of the Santa Barbara pastoral region, which covers two entire counties north of Los Angeles, I am obliged to spend a good deal of time in the car. To make the trips easier, I have gotten back into the habit of listening to audio books. Just recently, I followed, with rapt attention, a book that I had read many years ago but which I had, I confess, largely forgotten: C.S. Lewis’ “The Great Divorce.”

Continue Reading

3 Reasons Why ‘Vikings’ is the Most Religiously Interesting Show on TV

3 Reasons Why ‘Vikings’ is the Most Religiously Interesting Show on TV

| Bishop Robert Barron | July 26, 2016 | 1 Comment

At the prompting of some of my younger colleagues at Word on Fire, I spent time during a recent vacation getting caught up on the History Channel show Vikings. My friends had told me that Vikings, curiously, is the most religious show on television. They were right.

Continue Reading

Thomas Aquinas and the art of making a public argument

Thomas Aquinas and the art of making a public argument

| Bishop Robert Barron | July 7, 2016 | 2 Comments

There is, in many quarters, increasing concern about the hyper-charged political correctness that has gripped our campuses and other forums of public conversation. Even great works of literature and philosophy — from “Huckleberry Finn” and “Heart of Darkness” to, believe it or not, Kant’s “Critique of Pure Reason” — are now regularly accompanied by “trigger warnings” that alert prospective readers to the racism, sexism, homophobia or classism contained therein.

Continue Reading

Bill Nye is not the Philosophy Guy

Bill Nye is not the Philosophy Guy

| Bishop Robert Barron | April 6, 2016 | 0 Comments

Reliable sources have informed me that for the millennial generation Bill Nye is a figure of great importance, due to his widely-watched program from the 1990’s called “Bill Nye the Science Guy.” Evidently, he taught a large swath of American youth the fundamentals of experimental science and became for them a sort of paragon of reason. Well, I’ll take their word for it.

Continue Reading

‘The Revenant’ and the search for a higher justice

‘The Revenant’ and the search for a higher justice

| Bishop Robert Barron | February 2, 2016 | 0 Comments

Alejandro Iñárritu’s new film “The Revenant” is one of the most talked about movies, and for good reason. The opening 20 minutes, which feature a frighteningly realistic Indian attack and a horrifically vivid mauling by a grizzly bear, are absolutely compelling viewing. And the remainder of the film is so involving that this viewer, at least, felt physically sick as he followed the sufferings of the main character.

Continue Reading

Daniel and the great unveiling

Daniel and the great unveiling

| Bishop Robert Barron | November 18, 2015 | 0 Comments

Toward the end of the liturgical year, we Catholics hear at Mass from the mysterious, often confounding and utterly fascinating book of Daniel. Recent scholarship has demonstrated that the book of Daniel had an extraordinarily powerful influence on the first Christians, providing them a most important template for understanding the significance of Jesus. Daniel is, of course, an example of apocalyptic literature, which in the common understanding means that it has to do with the end of the world.

Continue Reading

Pope’s message on mercy not indifference to sin

Pope’s message on mercy not indifference to sin

| Bishop Robert Barron | October 21, 2015 | 0 Comments

Having just returned from a week covering Pope Francis’ triumphant journey to the United States, I can confidently tell you that the news media are in love with the Vicar of Christ.

Continue Reading