Go In Haste! Be Amazed! Treasure!Jan 03, 2017 17 Comments
By now most of you are probably aware of the depressing statistics regarding the “nones,” that is to say, those in this country who claim no religious affiliation. I have written frequently regarding practical steps that religious leaders ought to be taking to confront this rising tide of secularist ideology, and I will continue to do so. But for the moment, I would like to reflect on a passage from the Gospel of Luke, which was featured on the Solemnity of Mary the Mother of God, and which sheds considerable light on this issue.
Scorsese’s “Silence” and the Seaside MartyrsDec 27, 2016 82 Comments
The much-anticipated “Silence”, based upon the Shusaku Endo novel of the same name, is a worthy addition to the Scorsese oeuvre. It is marked by gorgeous cinematography, outstanding performances from both lead and supporting actors, a gripping narrative, and enough thematic complexity to keep you thinking for the foreseeable future. However, the "three cheers" most inspired by the film are not for the Hollywood greats but for the martyrs, crucified by the seaside.
Why Christmas Should Bother EverybodyDec 13, 2016 12 Comments
To be sure, the distinctive mark of Jesus’ Lordship is love, compassion, forgiveness, and non-violence—but this is not the stuff of sentimentality and warm feelings. It is a provocation, a challenge, a call to conversion of the most radical kind.
“Arrival” and the Unique Manner of God’s SpeechDec 06, 2016 11 Comments
The new film, “Arrival”, meditates on the possibility of humans communicating with a higher intelligence. Drawing upon this motif, Bishop Barron reflects on God’s distinctive manner of communication and the process by which we come to understand it.
Why We Should Address Jesus as ThouNov 22, 2016 12 Comments
Referencing the mystical prayers of St. Catherine of Siena, Bishop Robert Barron reminds us that "thou" is meant to be a more familiar and intimate form of the second person pronoun, "you". So, it is with this affection we are to address our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. After all, the bishop explains, sharing a personal relationship with God is the awesome distinction of biblical religion and the real purpose of evangelization.
A Pilgrim, a Bishop, and His iPhoneNov 15, 2016 7 Comments
I’m in the process of re-reading a spiritual classic from the Russian Orthodox tradition: The Way of a Pilgrim. This little text, whose author is unknown to us, concerns a man from mid-nineteenth century Russia who found himself deeply puzzled by St. Paul’s comment in first Thessalonians that we should “pray unceasingly.” How, he wondered, amidst all of the demands of life, is this even possible? How could the Apostle command something so patently absurd?
“Doctor Strange,” Scientism, and the Gnostic Way StationNov 08, 2016 6 Comments
Scott Derickson’s new film, “Doctor Strange”, has received rave reviews for its special-effects, its compelling story-telling, and the quality of its actors, but I would like to focus on the spirituality implicit in it. Dr. Strange is far from a satisfying presentation of the spiritual order, but it represents a significant step in the right direction, which proves especially helpful for our time.
3 Lessons for Young CatholicsNov 01, 2016 6 Comments
Last week, I had the privilege of speaking to around nine thousand middle school and high school students from the Catholic schools of the Los Angeles Archdiocese. Encouraged by their enthusiasm, I invited them to internalize three spiritual truths as they come of age.
The Trouble With the “You Go Girl” CultureOct 18, 2016 46 Comments
One of the distinctive marks of films and television programs the last couple of decades has been the Homer Simpsonization of men. This has led to a Nietzschean over reaction, by which female power has to be asserted over and against males. That this savage contrast is having an effect especially on younger men is becoming increasingly apparent.
Knowing Who We Are; Knowing What We Are Supposed to DoOct 11, 2016 7 Comments
This fall I am giving presentations to all of the high school teachers, staff and administrators in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. This year, the theme is morality. Lucky me! What I’m telling the Catholic high school teachers of L.A. is what I want to tell all Catholics: you won’t know how to behave until you know who you are. And you won’t know who you are until you realize what play you’re in!
Satellites, the Internet, and the Communion of SaintsOct 04, 2016 5 Comments
While helping me with a tech problem, Word on Fire content director, Brandon Vogt, described modern internet processing as analogous to the Church's intercessory prayer with the communion of saints. With this comparison in mind, here is a little reflection on prayer and the 'communio sanctorum'.
A Report from Baby Bishop SchoolSep 19, 2016 12 Comments
For the past week, I have been sequestered in Rome, along with 150 fellow bishops from around the world who have been appointed in the last twelve months. We're here for the Formation for New Bishops’ program, more colloquially known as “Baby Bishop School.” Between praying and worshiping together, and spending a few moments with Pope Francis, it has proved to be an unforgettable experience.
Apologists, Catechists, Theologians: Wake Up!Aug 30, 2016 80 Comments
The most recent Pew Study survey indicates that intellectual objections figure prominently when religious drifters are asked why they abandoned their faith. It's time that we teachers, catechists, theologians, apologists, and evangelists do something about it!
Advice to Students New and OldAug 26, 2016 2 Comments
Last week Bishop Barron offered some remarks at the matriculation ceremony for Thomas Aquinas College in California. His insights apply to any Catholic student reentering the school year, so he wrote the ideas down here for you to read and share.