Loading
Priest's new video series links evangelization with beauty
Fr. Robert Barron. Credit: Word on Fire.
Fr. Robert Barron. Credit: Word on Fire.
Facebook Twitter Google+ Pinterest Addthis

.- Father Robert Barron, rector of Mundelein Seminary outside of Chicago, has produced a new video series emphasizing the primacy of beauty in drawing people to Christ.

“Let's start with the beauty of the faith … I wanted to start with the splendor of it,”  Fr. Barron, a priest of the Chicago archdiocese, told CNA June 27. “I don’t talk about any of the hot button issues.”

Slated for release on DVD this August, “Catholicism: The New Evangelization,” explores the Church's mission in contemporary culture. The program follows Fr. Barron's critically acclaimed, high-definition “Catholicism” series of 2011, which aired on PBS nationwide.

His approach to the new evangelization – the late Blessed John Paul II's term for reaching formerly Christian societies – tends to begin with “something in the culture that people are watching or paying attention to.”

The priest, who founded global media group Word on Fire, said is able to find in these things something “that speaks to the Catholic faith, that reflects the Catholic faith.”

“So it’s more of affirmative orthodoxy; a positive approach,” he said. “And I think that intrigues people.”

The series focuses on the new evangelization because “it's what we need, as a Church.” It grew out of conversations Fr. Barron had on trips to Australia and England, looking at what is “drawing people in these very secularized societies back to the Church.”

The election of Pope Francis has given the Church the opportunity of a new, more positive narrative in the mainstream media, and Fr. Barron suggested that “maybe they are captivated by Francis.”

In concert with his focus on beauty as a route for the new evangelization, the priest said, “I want to get people off of the one-sided stress on sexual ethics.”

While acknowledging that sexual ethics are “very important,” he said the singular emphasis on this one facet of Church teaching “distorts the message.”

“If you read the New Testament, yes there's a sexual ethic implicit in the New Testament, but would you get the impression that's the one thing that we're supposed to do – we're supposed to get people clear on their sexual lives?”

No, he answered, the primary calling of Christians is “declaring the resurrection of Jesus from the dead, declaring the kingdom of God breaking into history, declaring this revolution that's wrought grace.”

“Now an implication of that is, get your sexual lives in order, towards love.”

But rather than focusing all one's message on sexual ethics, he declared, “I'd like to widen the lens a little bit.”

CNA spoke with Fr. Barron at a Catholic media conference in Denver shortly after a talk he gave, which touched on the “balloons and banners” era following the Second Vatican Council. A time, he noted, when there was a “dumbing down” of catechesis in much of the Church.

Asked if he thinks that era is starting to change, he responded, “not enough.”

“I worry about that … it needs to change.” The Church needs “a couple of saints, who will really raise up armies of teachers,” Fr. Barron said.

The generations of Catholics formed under Benedict XVI and in John Paul II's later years need “to go for advanced studies in philosophy and theology, so they can pass the thing on in a sophisticated way,” he reflected.

Going along with this, he said Catholics colleges must “become a breeding ground of Catholic intellectual life,” having professors, not only in philosophy and theology, but all the disciplines, “whose teaching is informed by their faith.”

Fr. Barron called it a “tragedy” that so many Catholic universities have “secularized themselves … aping Princeton and Harvard.”

He promoted Vatican II's idea that Catholic laypeople are called to be “great Catholics in the world.”

Rather than privatizing their faith, Catholics – whether business leaders, politicians, or media personalities – should let that faith inform their “decisions, approach, attitude.”

This is “tricky,” he emphasized, saying that “if you're a media person you can't say, 'I'm going to be announcing Jesus Christ risen from the dead as I do the evening news.'”

And yet, he calls for the “still unrealized Vatican II vision … of the laity Christifying the world” by refusing to privatize their Catholic faith.

Letting faith inform one's decisions in public: “that's evangelization,” Fr. Barron said.

Tags: Beauty, New Evangelization

Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages

RESOURCES »

Ads by Google (What's this?)

Featured Videos

An Indian contribution to the Vatican's Synod on the Family
An Indian contribution to the Vatican's Synod on the Family
Christ Cathedral CNA video Sept 2014
Alejandro Bermudez of CNA accepts ice bucket challenge
'The Real Albania,' remembering those who fled
Pope Francis in Albania, "one of the most important visits of the post-communist era in Albania"
Pope Francis greets paralyzed man who risked all to see him
Franciscans on the banks of the Tiber in Rome, working for the New Evangelization
Pilgrimage from Czech Republic to Assisi and Rome for intentions
Testimony of young Indian who met Pope in Korea
Preparations of the Closing Mass of 6th Asian Youth Day
Missionary of Charity, Korea
Testimony of Christian Love during Pope's Visit to Korea
Religious Sisters in South Korea react to Pope Francis kissing a baby
Warm atmosphere during Holy Mass at Daejeon World Cup Stadium
Images inside Pope Francis flight to South Korea
The tombs of the early Christians
Missionaries of Africa, called "the White Fathers"
Italian youth give testimony after mission to Peru
Interview with Iraqi Ambassador to the Holy See on the persecution of Christians
New book 'The Vatican unknown'
Oct
22

Liturgical Calendar

October 22, 2014

Wednesday of the Twenty-Ninth Week in Ordinary Time

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Lk 12:39-48

Gospel
Date
10/22/14
10/21/14
10/20/14

Daily Readings


First Reading:: Eph 3: 2-12
Gospel:: Lk 12: 39-48
Gospel:: Lk 12: 39-48

Saint of the Day

St. Romuald »

Saint
Date
10/22/14

Homily of the Day

Lk 12:39-48

Homily
Date
10/22/14
10/21/14
10/20/14