Robert Barron (bishop)

bishop of the Roman Catholic Church, author, scholar and Catholic evangelist.

Robert Emmet Barron (born November 19, 1959) is an American prelate of the Catholic Church, author, theologian and evangelist, known for his Word on Fire ministry. He serves as auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, since 8 September 2015. Previously, he served as Rector of Mundelein Seminary in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago.

Robert Barron


  • The Catholic Church’s job is to call people to sanctity and to equip them for living saintly lives. Its mission is not to produce nice people, or people with hearts of gold, or people with good intentions; its mission is to produce saints, people of heroic virtue…To dial down the demands because they are hard, and most people have a hard time realizing them, is to compromise the very meaning and purpose of the Church. However, here’s the flip side. The Catholic Church couples its extraordinary moral demand with an extraordinarily lenient penitential system. The Church mediates the infinite mercy of God to those who fail to live up to that ideal (which means practically everyone). This is why its forgiveness is so generous and so absolute. To grasp both of these extremes is to understand the Catholic approach to morality.
    • Barron, Bishop Robert. To Light a Fire on the Earth: Proclaiming the Gospel in a Secular Age (p. 78). The Crown Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
  • Essential to the Catholic mind is what I would characterize as a keen sense of the prolongation of the Incarnation throughout space and time, an extension that is made possible through the mystery of the church. Catholics see God’s continued enfleshment in the oil, water, bread, imposed hands, wine, and salt of the sacraments; they appreciate it in the gestures, movements, incensations, and songs of the Liturgy; they savor it in the texts, arguments, and debates of the theologians; they sense it in the graced governance of popes and bishops; they love it in the struggles and missions of the saints; they know it in the writings of Catholic poets and in the cathedrals crafted by Catholic architects, artists, and workers. In short, all of this discloses to the Catholic eye and mind the ongoing presence of the Word made flesh, namely Christ.
    • Father Barron, Robert. Catholicism: A Journey to the Heart of the Faith (Kindle Locations 75-81). The Crown Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
  • Paul consistently proclaimed that the church of Jesus Christ is not so much an organization as an organism, a mystical body. I will present the church accordingly as a living thing, whose purpose is to gather the whole world into the praise of God. And the central act of the church, its “source and summit” in the words of Vatican II, is the Liturgy, the ritualized praise of God. I will therefore walk through the gestures, songs, movements, and theology of the Liturgy. The entire purpose of the Liturgy and the church is to make saints, to make people holy. This is why Catholicism takes the saints, in all their wild diversity, with such seriousness and why it presents them to us with such enthusiasm.
    • Father Barron, Robert. Catholicism: A Journey to the Heart of the Faith (Kindle Locations 116-118). The Crown Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
  • In the society of Jesus’s time, physical illness was typically construed as a curse, and in many cases sickness or deformity prevented one from participating fully in the life of the community, especially in common worship. Curing the blind, the deaf, the lame, and the leprous, Jesus was Yahweh binding up the wounds of his people and restoring them to communion.
    • Father Barron, Robert. Catholicism: A Journey to the Heart of the Faith (Kindle Locations 246-249). The Crown Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
  • The ISIS barbarians were actually quite right in entitling their video “A Message Written in Blood.” Up and down the centuries, tyrants and their lackeys have thought that they could wipe out the followers of Jesus through acts of violence. But as Tertullian observed long ago, the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church. And they were furthermore right in sending their message to “the Nation of the Cross.” But they should know that the cross taunts them.
  • There is a regrettable interpretation of the cross that has, unfortunately, infected the minds of many Christians. This is the view that the bloody sacrifice of the Son on the cross was “satisfying” to the Father, and appeasement of a God infinitely angry at sinful humanity. In this reading, the crucified Jesus is like a child hurled into the fiery mouth of a pagan divinity in order to assuage its wrath. But what ultimately refutes this twisted theology is the well-known passage from John’s Gospel: “God so loved the world, that he sent his only Son, that all who believe in him might have eternal life.” John reveals that it is not out of anger or vengeance or in a desire for retribution that the Father sends the Son, but precisely out of love. God the Father is not some pathetic divinity whose bruised personal honor needs to be restored; rather God is a parent who burns with compassion for his children who have wandered into danger.
  • The Mass is a priviledged encounter with Jesus Christ. Christianity is not a philosophy, is not a social theory, is not an ideology, Christianity is a relationship with Christ, it is a friendship with Him. Everything in Christianity relates to and comes back to that friendship. What's the Mass? The Mass is the most intense way to see the ethernity that we can commune with Jesus.
  • God created the world through an active speech. God's Word is not descriptive, it is creative. God speaks the worls is being...God's Word changes, it is effective, makes things happen...What God says, is. If Jesus is just a spiritual teacher among many, one great religious figure, okay, fine. But there are thousands of those. What claims the Church is He is not a human figure amomg many, but He is the Word made flesh. The very embodiement of God [as a] transformative and creative work. The night before he dies, that Jesus took bread, the Pasqual bead, and said: "This is my Body." Taking the goblet with the meal, said: "This is the chalice of my Blood". If that [was said] by a human being, a great hero, a philosopher, a social reformer, okay, we say: "He is using a symbolic talk." But who is saying that? The Word made flesh. The Word whose speech constitutes reality at the deepest level. Just as if God spokes you to be, so Jesus speaks His presence into being, over the appearence of bread and wine...We move into His very identity at that point. We now commence to speak in the first person, saying: "Take this, all of you, and eat it. This is my Body given for you." We speak in persona Christi, we speak in the very Word of Jesus.
  • I will confess that my two forays into the Reddit space have been more than a little discouraging. If you dare, look at the dismaying number of just plain aggressive and mean-spirited comments.
    • [1] (10th March, 2019)
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