Bishop Robert Barron

“Laudato Si” Athwart Modernity

Pope Francis | giulio napolitano / Shutterstock.com

Pope Francis takes positions that annoy both standard-issue liberals and standard-issue conservatives. This is because his overarching opponent is the philosophy of modernity, which in fact has produced both the “conservatism” and the “liberalism” that we know today. In preparation for my participation in a USCCB sponsored symposium for the fifth anniversary of Pope Francis’ encyclical letter Laudato Si, I reread […]

Why We Can’t Do Evil Even If Good May Come

"St. Paul Preaching in Athens" (detail) by Raphael [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

There is a curious and intriguing passage in the third chapter of St. Paul’s letter to the Romans, which in the context of the missive seems almost tossed-off, but which has proven to be a cornerstone of Catholic moral theology for the past two thousand years. Responding to some of his critics, Paul says, “And why not say (as some […]

Spending Time With My Spiritual Father

Pope Francis | giulio napolitano / Shutterstock.com

I write these words from the Eternal City of Rome, whither I’ve come with my brother bishops from Region 11 (California, Nevada, and Hawaii) for our ad limina visit. This is a regular and canonically required trip to pray at the limina apostolorum (the threshold of the Apostles), the tombs of Saints Peter and Paul, and to meet with the successor of Peter. Yesterday […]

What I Learned Talking with Thousand of Skeptics on Reddit

Disputa (Disputation of the Blessed Sacrament - Detail) by Raphael

I just finished my second dive into the Reddit AMA world. One of the most popular websites in the world, Reddit is a forum for all sorts of online conversations and presentations. The AMA (for Ask Me Anything) is a twenty-first century version of the medieval quodlibetalquestions, during which a game theology professor would entertain any inquiry that came from […]

John Henry Newman in Full

"Blessed John Henry Newman" by Sir John Everett Millais

I write these words in the Rome airport, on my way to England, where I will deliver a paper on St. John Henry Newman and evangelization. I’m still basking in the glow of the splendid Mass of canonization yesterday, presided over by Pope Francis and attended by tens of thousands of bishops, priests, and faithful from all over the world. […]

CARDINAL ETCHEGARAY, HENRI DE LUBAC, AND VATICAN II

Notre-Dame de Paris, Gothic style, 1163-1345 (Madhurantakam [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons)

Last week, Cardinal Roger Etchegaray passed away. Perhaps his was not a household name, but this very decent man made a substantive contribution to the life of the Church, serving in a number of different capacities over the years and collaborating closely with St. Pope John Paul II. I had the privilege of meeting him in the mid 1990s when […]

One Cheer for George Will’s “The Conservative Sensibility”

We the People are the opening words of the preamble to the Constitution of the USA. The document underneath is a copy of the Declaration of Independence with the date, July 4, 1776

I have been following George Will’s thought for a long time. I’m old enough to remember when his column occupied the last page of Newsweek magazine every other week and when he sat in the chair of conservative thought on David Brinkley’s Sunday morning political talk show. I have long admired his graceful literary style and his clipped, smart manner […]

Finding God in All Things

There is, to be sure, a stress within the Biblical tradition that God is radically other: “Truly, you are a God who hides himself, O God of Israel, the Savior.” (Isaiah 45:15) and “No one shall see [God] and live” (Exodus 33:20). This speaks to the fact that the one who creates the entire universe from nothing cannot be, himself, […]

THE USCCB MEETING, JORDAN PETERSON, AND THE “NONES”

Last week, I gave a presentation at the USCCB Spring Meeting in Baltimore. My topic was what I identified as the second greatest crisis facing the Church today—namely, the massive attrition of our own people, especially the young. I trust that the first—around which most of our discussions that week revolved—is obvious to everyone. Judging from the extremely positive reaction […]

Paul on the Areopagus — A Master Class in Evangelization

"St. Paul Preaching in Athens" (detail) by Raphael [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

The account of St. Paul’s address on the Areopagus in Athens, found in the seventeenth chapter of the Acts of the Apostles, is a sort of master class in the evangelization of the culture, and anyone engaged today in that essential task should read it with care. The context for Paul’s speech is his mission to Greece, which commenced when […]