Bishop Robert Barron

December 23, 2015

Grace, nature, and what Advent is finally about

By Bishop Robert Barron

The readings for the third Sunday of Advent put me in mind of one of the most significant themes in Catholic theology, namely, the play between nature and grace. St. Luke tells us that people came to John the Baptist, asking what they should do to reform their lives. John responds with good and very pointed moral advice. To the tax collectors he says, “Don’t take more money than you ought” and to the soldiers he urges, “Do not practice extortion, do not falsely accuse anyone; be content with...

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November 13, 2015

René Girard, Church Father

By Bishop Robert Barron

René Girard, one of the most influential Catholic philosophers in the world, died last week at the age of 91. Born in Avignon and a member of the illustrious Academie Francaise, Girard nevertheless made his academic reputation in the United States, as a professor at Indiana University, Johns Hopkins University, and Stanford University. There are some thinkers that offer intriguing ideas and proposals, and there is a tiny handful of thinkers that manage to shake your world. Girard was...

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October 27, 2015

Preaching the Strange Word

By Bishop Robert Barron

About fifteen years ago, I prepared an elective class at Mundelein Seminary which I entitled “The Christology of the Poets and Preachers.” In this course, I endeavored to explore the Catholic tradition’s non-technical, more lyrical manner of presenting the significance of Jesus. I studied the literary works of Dante, Gerard Manley Hopkins, and G.K. Chesterton, and I also investigated in detail the sermons of many of the greatest masters: Origen, Augustine, Chrysostom, Bernard, Aquinas,...

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October 20, 2015

'The Martian' and why each life matters

By Bishop Robert Barron

Editor's note: This article contains plot spoilers! Ridley Scott’s The Martian is a splendidly told tale of survival and pluck, reminiscent of the novel Robinson Crusoe and the films Life of Pi and Castaway. In this case, the hero is Mark Watney, an astronaut on a mission to Mars who is left behind by his crewmates when he is presumed dead after being lost during a devastating storm. Through sheer determination and an extraordinary application of his scientific know-how, Watney...

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October 14, 2015

Pope Francis and true mercy

By Bishop Robert Barron

Having just returned from a week covering Pope Francis’s triumphant journey to the United States, I can confidently tell you that the news media are in love with the Vicar of Christ. Time and again, commentators, pundits, anchorpersons, and editorialists opined that Pope Francis is the bomb. They approved, of course, of his gentle way with those suffering from disabilities and his proclivity to kiss babies, but their approbation was most often awakened by this Pope’s “merciful” and...

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During the Pope's visit to America, I had the privilege of commenting for NBC News and for MSNBC. Twice I was on for extended periods with Brian Williams, the former anchor for NBC Nightly News, and twice with Chris Matthews, the host of Hardball. I must say that both men are very good at what they do, namely, keeping a conversation going among several different people with varying points of view and assuring that things stay sufficiently lively and interesting. Like most gifted people,...

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September 18, 2015

Your life does not belong to you

By Bishop Robert Barron

It was revealed this week that, for the first time in its history, Harvard University, which had been founded for religious purposes and named for a minister of the Gospel, has admitted a freshman class in which atheists and agnostics outnumber professed Christians and Jews. Also this week, the House and the Senate of California passed a provision that allows for physician assisted suicide in the Golden State. As I write these words, the governor of California is deliberating whether to...

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September 04, 2015

Why St. Junipero Serra matters today

By Bishop Robert Barron

The upcoming canonization of Blessed Junípero Serra in Washington, D.C.—the first ever to take place on American soil—has generated, as I’m sure you know, a good deal of controversy. For his defenders, Padre Serra was an intrepid evangelist and a model of Gospel living, while for his detractors, he was a shameless advocate of an oppressive colonial system that resulted in the deaths of tens of thousands of Indians. Even many who typically back Pope Francis see this canonization as a rare...

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Just last week, Stephen Colbert gave an interview in which the depth of his Catholic faith was on pretty clear display. Discussing the trauma that he experienced as a young man—the deaths of his father and two of his brothers in a plane crash—he told the interviewer how, through the ministrations of his mother, he had learned not only to accept what had happened but actually to rejoice in it: “Boy, did I have a bomb when I was ten; that was quite an explosion…It’s that I love the thing...

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August 13, 2015

Mother Nature is one unreliable lady

By Bishop Robert Barron

Conservation International has sponsored a series of videos that have become YouTube sensations, garnering millions of views. They feature famous actors—Harrison Ford, Kevin Spacey, Robert Redford, and others—voicing different aspects of the natural world, from the ocean, to the rain forest, to redwood trees. The most striking is the one that presents Mother Nature herself, given voice by Julia Roberts. They all have more or less the same message, namely, that nature finally doesn’t...

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