Bishop Barron: don’t water down Christianity

LA auxiliary bishop tells 8000 attendees at Catholic leadership conference: "Christ commands his mystical Body the Church to do what he did, and to say what he said. That’s it… that’s the task of the Church to the present day"

Bishop Robert Barron

Speaking to some 8,000 people at Student Leadership Summit in Chicago, Bishop Robert Barron said on Tuesday that trust in the risen Christ should give us the courage to preach the truth boldly.

In bringing the message of heaven to earth, Catholics should be careful not to water down the Gospel or fall for bland and uninspiring half-truths, he said.

He recalled an encounter that he had with Biblical scholar Scott Hahn, who remarked that “there is no historical basis for the for the claim that St. Francis said, ‘Preach always, and when necessary, use words.’”

While indeed “our whole life should be a kind of preaching,” Barron said, the statement attributed to St. Francis can become a problem when it is “used as a justification for a kind of pastoral reductionism,” for example, the idea that “what it all really comes down to is taking care of the poor.”

While caring for the poor is important, Barron said, this work “in and of itself can never be evangelically sufficient.”

“This is not the time for anti-intellectualism in our Church! We have lots of young people, you know them, they’re your friends and colleagues, who are leaving the Church for intellectual reasons,” Barron said.

He called for a kind of “bold speech” needed to proclaim the Gospel, pointing to the preaching in the early Church, which challenged the widely held belief at the time that “Caesar is Lord.”

The Roman empire at the time, Barron said, was rather liberal with regards to new religions, yet still rejected the early Christians because they identified Jesus – and not Caesar – as the only Lord.

“If he is Lord, everything in your life belongs to him. Your personal life, yes. Your body, yes. Your friendships, yes. Your political life, yes. Your entertainment, yes. All of it.”

When Christianity becomes reduced to a mere message that can be gained from the dominant culture, Bishop Barron said, it moves from the faith of early persecuted Christians to one which is rewarded lavishly by others.

“That’s what happens to a weakened, attenuated Christianity,” he said.

“In the Acts of the Apostles we hear that when those first disciples spoke, people were cut to the heart. Still true, still true to this day. Bland spiritual teachings, saying what everybody else says, that won’t cut anyone to the heart, but trust me, declaring the lordship of Jesus, that’ll cut them to the heart.”

Full story at Catholic News Agency.

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  1. “Bishop Robert Barron said on Tuesday that trust in the risen Christ should give us the courage to preach the truth boldly.”

    Does that mean the Bishop does not trust in the risen Christ? He certainly didn’t “preach the truth boldly” when he was on The Rubin Report. Church Militant covers the scandal well here.

    “This is not the time for anti-intellectualism in our Church! We have lots of young people, you know them, they’re your friends and colleagues, who are leaving the Church for intellectual reasons.”

    But, Your Excellency, Our Blessed Mother says, “More souls go to Hell because of the sins of the flesh than for any…

    • Anonymous says:

      What the bishop said in this article is 100% correct.
      You should support him rather than persecute him.

      • Anonymous:

        My first comment is an open and honest question, wholly resting on what was reported about the bishop and what we know transpired in his interview with Dave Ruben. Your charge of persecution is absolutely baseless here.

        Your charge of persecution is also baseless in regard to my second comment, which simply calls into question the degree to which the bishop is emphasizing intellectual reasons for people rejecting the Catholic faith.

      • Seriously, Anonymous, if there is any persecution here, it is your own persecution of a simple layman.

        Think of my comments this way. If the laity were to cease asking honest questions about what their bishops are saying and doing, then the laity would be failing to do precisely what Bp. Barron has called them to do—he’s called them to be more intellectual about their faith.

        • Anonymous says:

          I am sorry that it has taken me a few days to get back to this post. I am sorry if my rebuke hurt you.
          As Catholics, we should all be one mind and one heart but the truth is that we are not.
          I am not a follower of Bishop Barron although I have seen him in person. He was fine-no errors.
          My first experience with a writing of Bishop Barron’s was very upsetting and my second experience he also said something I felt he should not have.
          I leave these in the past. When he is dead on as he is here, he should be supported and the past not brought up. It is a sin to harm someone’s reputation.

          • A: “When he is dead on as he is here, he should be supported and the past not brought up.”

            Why? What if he said last week that husbands should be able to beat their wives? Should we forget about it this week if today he gives a great lecture on the existence of God?

            A: “It is a sin to harm someone’s reputation.”

            Calling a bishop’s error erroneous is not slander. What if Bp. Barron were to announce tomorrow that Purgatory did not exist? Should we give him a pass on that? What if he were to deny the Real Presence? Should we be silent?

          • [Continued]

            Bp. René Gracida, another Catholic bishop, has given us answers to these questions. In his words,

            We need people to stand up in their churches and say to the priest, homilist, or to the bishop […], “No! You’re wrong!”

            See the bishop’s interview here: Laity, Rise Up!

          • People did that. 7 years ago.

          • A: “People did that. 7 years ago.”

            Therefore?

  2. On Bishop Barron’s Word on Fire website the most recent three columns are movie reviews. Is he a bishop or is he trying to be Roger Ebert? Is it a good use of his time to watch movies and write reviews? Is anyone going to read his review and say, “Hmm… I think I should go to church”?

    I’m weary of Bishop Barron harping on about how the Church needs to step up its catechesis yet he plays the role of traveling celebrity bishop and doesn’t do things such as concentrating on preaching in his pastoral region to bring people to church. He doesn’t lead catechetical classes in his region to do what he exhorts other people to do. He repeats the same thing at every workshop and conference he gives; he’s been doing so for years.

    All…

    • Covfefe, let me say first that I do not know Bishop Baron, have never met him. I do follow him on Facebook. From that vantage point, let me say that I think your assessment of him is inaccurate. Almost every week he celebrates Mass in one or two different parishes in his region. He meets with lay people on a regular basis, visits schools and performs his many duties at the Cathedral as well. His Word on Fire organization is one of the most prolific and followed approaches to teaching the faith available today. If there is a major gathering of Catholics anywhere, it is likely that he will be asked to be a keynote speaker, because he has an amazing ability to connect with people. Listen to his sermons.

      • I’ve listened to his workshops and speeches; I’ve heard him in person more than a few times.

        I was a supporter of his, but over the past two years I’ve concluded that he doesn’t offer effective, specific solutions but has found a niche market in talking about the Church’s catechetical problems and wringing his hands about how we ought to do better.

        We don’t need an episcopal Paul Revere. We already know the British are coming. What do we do about it? We already know Catholics are leaving. What do we do about it? Appeals to do better are all Bishop Barron offers. That doesn’t help.

    • Continued:
      Bishop Baron is recognized over much of the world as an effective preacher, especially for younger people. He can relate to them. Watch the video of him speaking to the 8,000 college kids at the FOCUS conference. His effectiveness is why he was chosen by his fellow Bishops to represent our country at the upcoming synod on youth. I suspect that his methods are not the same as the parish priest that many of us, of a certain age, grew up with, but he is one of a key faces of the Church today. He doesn’t confuse.

      • “He doesn’t confuse.”

        He most certainly does.

        Case in point, regarding recent legislation on gay marriage, Bp. Barron stated:

        I wouldn’t want to get on a crusader’s tank and try to reverse that.

        But in 2003, the CDF said:

        all Catholics are obliged to oppose the legal recognition of homosexual unions

        So, given the bishop’s words and what the CDF issued in 2003, Catholics should oppose but not try to reverse the legal recognition of gay unions.

        Now tell me: How in the world does one do that?

        It has to be one of the most confusing things I can think of having to do.

    • Linda Maria says:

      I strongly believe that Bishop Barron should start a HUGE Church BOYCOTT of Hollywood and its filthy movies!

    • Anonymous says:

      It is amazing that people think other people have to live up to their criteria.
      Tell us your problems and sins. That would be more interesting.

  3. Joel Fago says:

    Fr. Robert Barron, “If there are any human beings in hell…”

    There are souls actually in hell now, and will be for all eternity. This is a teaching of our Catholic Faith.

    Fr. Barron has watered down and confused the teaching of our Catholic Faith.

    • Anonymous says:

      No that is not a teaching of our Catholic Faith. The Catholic Church has never declared anyone to be in hell, even when we have good cause to believe they are (like Judas.)
      Private revelations like Fatima are not part of the deposit of Faith.

      • “The Catholic Church has never declared anyone to be in hell”

        Here’s a short piece worth reading on that issue: Are There Souls in Hell Right Now? (Tim Staples, Catholic Answers)

        Staples helpfully points out that Barron “seems to be confusing the idea that we don’t have definitive knowledge of an individual soul being in hell by name, and our not knowing whether there are any souls in hell. We don’t know the former; we do know the latter as a matter of Church teaching.”

        If memory serves, however, Fr. John Hardon taught that, given Christ’s own words, we do know Judas is in Hell.

        • Anonymous says:

          Thank you for the link to Tim Staples piece. The assumption of most Catholics has been that people have died and gone to hell and we do have private revelations which support that. I do not think the quotes Tim Staples uses constitute an infallible church teaching so Bishop Barron can squeak past that. Theologians do that. I do not agree with him. Is he a heretic? No. Is he in error? I think so.

      • “Private revelations like Fatima are not part of the deposit of Faith.”

        So what?

        The Church still teaches that the apparitions at Fatima are worthy of belief—that counts for something.

  4. William Robert says:

    Bishop Barron has done so much for the good of the Church, he certainly is deserving of support from the clergy and the laity.

    • For putting things in perspective, one can also see the commentary by Church Militant here: On Bp. Robert Barron

      • Anonymous says:

        I think Michael Voris would agree with Bishop Barron on this article. If they would or could work together, it would be a great apostolate. Church Militant has never reached its potential and Voris could help Barron see how the fundamentalist Catholics could misinterpret some of his outreach.

        • How are these “fundamentalist Catholics” misinterpreting Barron’s outreach?

          • Anonymous says:

            On here, a lot is made of the hell video. And there are others but they aren’t being criticized online and I’m not going to start it.

  5. Bishop Barron, the person, does deserve our support, of course. But the errors of the bishop do not deserve our support. They deserve our criticism.

    For those who are still unaware of the bishop’s errors, here’s some commentary that might put things in perspective:

    Fr. Barron is Wrong

    Fr. Barron and the Planned Parenthood Videos
    Martin Luther & Bishop Barron
    Bp. Barron on ‘Pelvic Issues’

    • Anonymous says:

      CR, now don’t get all persecuted, but this is the problem.
      Is there anything wrong with what Bishop Barron said in the article on this page?
      If there is not, then the propaganda you are promoting from Church Militant (whatever it’s intrinsic worth) is being used for evil.

      • That’s a non sequitur.

        My criticisms are principally directed at the bishop’s broader teaching that constitutes the context of the above piece, and context is always relevant. My remarks are fair game, then, even if (for the sake of argument) there is nothing problematic with the above piece per se.

        • Anonymous says:

          I don’t agree. Obviously.

          • A: “I don’t agree. Obviously.”

            Disagreement is not an argument.

          • Anonymous says:

            I don’t want to argue. You have considered what I said and rejected it. That is your prerogative. God bless you.

          • A: “You have considered what I said and rejected it.”

            I’ve considered what you said, rejected it, and explained myself. You haven’t.

            A: “I don’t want to argue.”

            I understand. You don’t want to argue. You just want to make snide remarks like “don’t get all persecuted,” accuse others of promoting “propaganda,” and tell them that what they’re doing “is being used for evil.”

            They should just take that, right?

    • Anonymous says:

      Why does one evangelist attack another evangelist? Shouldn’t they each focus on reaching whatever audience they reach and stay out of each other’s lane? I don’t watch either of their videos because I’ve caught both of them in errors and I don’t really care what either of them thinks.

  6. St. Christopher says:

    What “Joel Fago” says is correct. Bishop Barron is not to be trusted regarding preaching God’s word. Certainly, B. Barron says correct things now and then, but his comments about Hell, which to current memory, he has not retracted, show that, indeed, Barron’s beliefs are more Protestant than Catholic. It is difficult to be “on fire” about the True Gospel without acknowledging the realities of sin; Heaven, Hell, and the need for redemption and reformation of one’s life. What is there, exactly, Bishop Barron, to boldly proclaim if one does not accept all of what Christ taught.

    Answer: Martin Luther!

    • Anonymous says:

      Bishop Barron did not say anything against Church Teaching. I do not agree with him that we can reasonable hope that no souls are in hell, but maybe I am lacking in hope. However, it is ignorance of the Faith to accuse him of being more Protestant than Catholic.

      • The Real Ralph says:

        You mean Barron’s ignorance of the faith, right? Certainly not the poster to whom you respond. Anybody namby-pamby about Hell is protege of Luther. We just don’t need these weaklings wandering around with a microphone in their hands- on balance, they contribute nothing.

        • Anonymous says:

          Martin Luther believed strongly in hell. Although when I looked up your claim, there are some people online claiming that he didn’t. Sigh…the internet.

          • The Real Ralph says:

            Protestants are obviously the proteges of Luther. Protestantism in its many and myriad forms denies sin, or at least the Catholic concept of it. When sin goes away, what happens to Hell? Is this stuff really that complicated? Why did Christ die on the cross, and why do Protestants look away from crucifixes? What is your point? Who do you serve? You disintegrate the faith. Sigh… Protestantism.

          • Anonymous says:

            Presbyterians, Episcopalians, Lutherans, Methodists, Baptists, Christian Reformed Churches, etc all believe in hell and sin.
            Unitarians, 7th Day Adventists do not believe in hell.
            If you know of a Protestant denomination that does not believe in sin, please let me know. The whole point of Christianity is that Jesus the Son of God died for our sins and rose again to bring us new life.S
            Some religions do not use the crucifix because Jesus rose-He is no longer on the Cross and some fundamentalists see it as a graven image which the 10 Commandments forbids.

          • The Real Ralph says:

            “Be a sinner and sin boldly, but believe and rejoice in Christ even more boldly … as long as we are here [in this world] we have to sin … No sin will separate us from the Lamb, even though we commit fornication and murder a thousand times a day.” –Luther. If you call this believing in hell or sin, I’m sorry for you.

          • Anonymous says:

            You have taken the quote out of context and are drawing conclusions that are not valid. I am not an apologist for Luther but you can educate yourself on that quote and any other thing you want to know about him. There is plenty online.

  7. Interesting that so many are such harsh critics of Bishop Barron. No apologies are needed that Bishop Barron is unlike the favorite Bishop of many traditional Catholics, Bishop Richard Williamson. But then again, Bishop Barron is reasonable and sane. By the way, only God knows who is in hell.

    • M: “Interesting that so many are such harsh critics of Bishop Barron.”

      And would it be “harsh” to tell the bishop he’s wrong if he says 2 and 2 equals 5? Then why is it “harsh” to tell the bishop he’s wrong about Hell and gay marriage? Errors are errors.

      M: “No apologies are needed that Bishop Barron is unlike the favorite Bishop of many traditional Catholics, Bishop Richard Williamson.”

      You’re actually dividing Barron’s supporters from his critics along Barron/Williamson lines? I hope your understanding of matters is better than that.

      • Anonymous says:

        But CR you are not talking to the bishop. You are gossiping about him to others. If the topic here was Bishops Barron’s video on hell, this would be a discussion which more will support you, but you are undermining this evangelical efforts, his efforts for every Catholic to evangelize, by the sin of detraction.

        • A: “You are gossiping about him to others.”

          What is the gossip?

          A: “If the topic here was Bishops Barron’s video on hell, this would be a discussion which more will support you.”

          On the relevance of my remarks, please see my comment above at “January 7, 2018 at 11:02 am.” Anything belonging to the intellectual context of the above piece is fair game.

          A: “you are undermining this evangelical efforts, his efforts for every Catholic to evangelize, by the sin of detraction.”

          Bp. Barron has undermined his own evangelical efforts. The sin of detraction? I’ve criticized errors in public statements by the bishop. That’s not detraction.

    • M: “only God knows who is in hell.”

      Who is in Hell and whether any are in Hell are different, but related, issues, and the objections of Barron’s critics can’t all be met by defending a negative answer to the first question, much less by simply asserting a negative answer to it.

    • Linda Maria says:

      Mark– Traditional Catholics DO NOT LIKE former Bp. Williamson! He got kicked out of the SSPX!!

  8. Anonymous says:

    Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people…Eleanor Roosevelt (possibly) I don’t know that this is true because it may not be the size of someone’s mind but a lack of expertise and experience.
    When I was younger, I was shocked at something Barron wrote. I did not trust him after that. As I got older and I learned more about the Faith I was able to understand more of the nuances involved.
    It is possible for someone to be wrong, without being a heretic or a Protestant. He is coming from a different place. The Hell video (so controversial here) is an answer to people for whom the teaching on hell is a stumbling block to believing in God.

    • A: “The Hell video (so controversial here) is an answer to people for whom the teaching on hell is a stumbling block to believing in God.”

      You don’t remove a stumbling block by creating a stumbling block, and that’s what the bishop has done.

  9. Anonymous says:

    The way to not get criticized is to not do anything.
    Until the master returns…

  10. St. Christopher says:

    Your point being what, exactly, “Mark?” First, if you read the Bible, you know that Christ frequently spoke of Hell and that when you sin you go there, without the intervening graces of God. The “rich” did not come out so well, according to Christ. Second, if you are Catholic, you know that Our Blessed Mother said, and demonstrated, at Fatima, that Hell was chock full of good old humans. Now, I recall that Bishop Barron has simply said, about Fatima, that you don’t have to believe that.

    Your argument of “prove it” is weak and unavailing, given the many indications that (1) Hell exists, and (2) people go there, many of them. Also you are wrong to try to paint “Traditional” Catholics as being influenced by someone like…

  11. St. Christopher says:

    (Part Deux) ” . . . Bishop Williamson. Most Traditional Catholics are influenced by Saints. Too bad you Zombie-Liberals have to resort to such outdated associational and straw-man arguments, in an attempt to discredit a commenter, rather than address the points raised.

    • What amazes me is that Barron has called for the laity to be more intellectual, yet many of his followers seem to loathe open, intellectual discussion of what Barron says.

      There is nothing intellectual about that; it’s not even honest.

  12. Linda Maria says:

    Many Church leaders today, cater to the whims of the ignorant, unchurched masses of people in the Death Culture. They are not very serious, in the end, about religion– some are more media, “pop-star personality”-oriented, shallow with religion, and others have simply given up, sold their souls to the Devil, and joined the Death Culturre people. Some also will say– it’s not worth it, to present true Catholicism– those people are hopeless, and anti-Christian to begin with– and the real religion, is way too hard! Just try to get through this hopeless, anti-Christian age; wait for a better age, for the Church!! It does no good, to try to discuss these issues, with our prelates– they already have their minds set.

  13. Michael Voris Reveals His Dark Past: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1kX-UhdqAaI

    • Anonymous says:

      He looks so ill, like cancer or AIDS. But maybe he just went on a gluten free diet. Please lets all pray for him.

  14. Anonymous 2 says:

    Well, maybe the Catholic Church did not “declare” anyone in hell, but Our Lord certainly did (Jn. 17:13, regarding Judas). Peter in Acts 1 also implies little doubt about Judas’ ultimate destination

    This argumentation smacks of the frivolous “empty-hell” “everyone-saved” debate.

    Hard to square at all with Our Lady’s revelation of hell at Fatima, or with any other saint of the Church, from St. Leonard of Port Maurice to St. Teresa of Avila.

    • Adding to your point about Scripture, Tim Staples has nicely pointed out that “the Church can do nothing but repeat her Lord’s solemn words.”

      And in fact the Catholic Church does rely on Scripture in teaching that some souls will be in Hell. Catholics should note this. On the basis of Mt 25:41, CCC 1034 says that Jesus “will pronounce [pronuntiabit] the condemnation: ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire!’”

    • [Continued]

      The Latin pronuntiabit is in the future indicative tense, not future subjunctive. So, yes, the Church teaches that Jesus will pronounce a condemnation, which presupposes that some souls will be condemned.

      It is therefore 100% false to claim that, given the magisterial teachings of the Catholic Church, we may have a reasonable hope that all are saved.

      Bishop Barron is wrong, and dangerously so.

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