RSSWord on Fire

Canceling Padre Serra

Canceling Padre Serra

| Bishop Robert Barron | July 22, 2020 | 0 Comments

I have just received word that, after voting to remove a large statue of St. Junípero Serra that stands in front of their City Hall, the government of Ventura, California (which is in my pastoral region) is now considering removing the image of Padre Serra from the county seal. This entire effort to erase the memory of Serra is from a historical standpoint ridiculous and from a moral standpoint more than a little frightening.

Continue Reading

Martin Luther King and the Religious Motivation for Social Change

Martin Luther King and the Religious Motivation for Social Change

| Bishop Robert Barron | July 17, 2020 | 0 Comments

A principal reason why the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s was so successful both morally and practically was that it was led largely by people with a strong religious sensibility. The most notable of these leaders was, of course, Martin Luther King. To appreciate the subtle play between King’s religious commitment and his practical work, I would draw your attention to two texts—namely, his Letter from the Birmingham City Jail and his “I Have a Dream” speech, both from 1963.

Continue Reading

Why “What are the bishops doing about it?” is the wrong question

Why “What are the bishops doing about it?” is the wrong question

| Bishop Robert Barron | July 9, 2020 | 0 Comments

Recently, the bishops of California made a statement regarding the attacks on the statues of St. Junipero Serra in San Francisco, Ventura, and Los Angeles. While acknowledging that there are legitimate concerns about racism both historical and contemporary, we insisted that the characterization of Serra as the moral equivalent of Hitler and the missions he founded as tantamount to death camps is simply unconscionable.

Continue Reading

Heart of Jesus, Holy Temple of God

Heart of Jesus, Holy Temple of God

| Bishop Robert Barron | July 9, 2020 | 0 Comments

I’ve been reading, recently, a good deal of the work of Dietrich von Hildebrand—perhaps not a household name, but in fact one of the greatest Catholic philosophers of the last century. An inspiration to both John Paul II and Benedict XVI, von Hildebrand was designated by the Nazis themselves as their number one enemy in the 1930s—pretty high praise, that.

Continue Reading

“Unorthodox” and the Modern Myth of Origins

“Unorthodox” and the Modern Myth of Origins

| Bishop Robert Barron | May 27, 2020 | 0 Comments

Unorthodox, a mini-series that debuted on Netflix a few weeks ago, is the story of a young woman who escapes from her oppressive Hasidic community in Williamsburg, Brooklyn and finds freedom with a group of welcoming friends in Berlin.

Continue Reading

“Laudato Si” athwart modernity

“Laudato Si” athwart modernity

| Bishop Robert Barron | May 27, 2020 | 0 Comments

In preparation for my participation in a USCCB sponsored symposium for the fifth anniversary of Pope Francis’ encyclical letter Laudato Si, I reread the famous and controversial document with some care. Many of the themes that struck me five years ago stood out again, but on this reading I was particularly impressed by the pope’s sharply critical assessment of modernity.

Continue Reading

Why we can’t do evil even if good may come

Why we can’t do evil even if good may come

| Bishop Robert Barron | May 11, 2020 | 0 Comments

There is a curious and intriguing passage in the third chapter of St. Paul’s letter to the Romans, which in the context of the missive seems almost tossed-off, but which has proven to be a cornerstone of Catholic moral theology for the past two thousand years.

Continue Reading

The Quarantine’s Three Lessons About the Church

The Quarantine’s Three Lessons About the Church

| Bishop Robert Barron | May 5, 2020 | 0 Comments

One silver lining for me during this weird coronavirus shutdown has been the opportunity to return to some writing projects that I had left on the back-burner. One of these is a book on the Nicene Creed, which I had commenced many months ago and on which I was making only very slow progress, given my various pastoral and administrative responsibilities.

Continue Reading

Governor Cuomo and God’s Noncompetitive Transcendence

Governor Cuomo and God’s Noncompetitive Transcendence

| Bishop Robert Barron | April 28, 2020 | 0 Comments

Last week, Andrew Cuomo, the governor of New York, made a rather interesting theological observation. Commenting on the progress that his state has made in fighting the coronavirus, and praising the concrete efforts of medical personnel and ordinary citizens, he said, “The number is down because we brought the number down. God did not do that. Faith did not do that.”

Continue Reading

Tragedy, Contingency, and a Deeper Sense of God

Tragedy, Contingency, and a Deeper Sense of God

| Bishop Robert Barron | April 10, 2020 | 0 Comments

I have lived in Santa Barbara, California for the past four years. In that brief time, my neighbors and I have experienced a number of real tragedies. Just over two years ago, the terrible Thomas Fire broke out in my pastoral region, in the vicinity of Thomas Aquinas College (hence the name). For a frightening month it made its devastating way from Santa Paula through Ventura, Carpenteria, Montecito, and eventually commenced to devour the foliage on the hills just north of my home.

Continue Reading

The coronavirus and sitting quietly in a room alone

The coronavirus and sitting quietly in a room alone

| Bishop Robert Barron | March 18, 2020 | 0 Comments

Blaise Pascal said, “All of humanity’s problems stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone.” The great seventeenth-century philosopher thought that most of us, most of the time, distract ourselves from what truly matters through a series of divertissements (diversions).

Continue Reading

Violence against Christians and the waning of reason

Violence against Christians and the waning of reason

| Bishop Robert Barron | May 29, 2019 | 0 Comments

There were more Christian martyrs in the twentieth century than in all of the previous nineteen centuries combined. Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, and many of their lesser-known totalitarian colleagues put millions of Christians to death for their faith in that terrible hundred-year period.

Continue Reading