The Word on Fire Show - Catholic Faith and Culture

Join Bishop Robert Barron for a weekly podcast on faith and culture. Find more episodes at and submit your questions at
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The Word on Fire Show - Catholic Faith and Culture





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Oct 15, 2018

Today we share a sample lesson from Bishop Barron's flagship course inside our new Word on Fire Institute. His 12-part course is on Hans Urs von Balthasar, and it explores Balthasar's impact, his major works, and his key ideas. This first lesson covers Balthasar's life and times. Enjoy!

NOTE: To get the other 11 lessons from the course, sign up today for the Word on Fire Institute >>

Oct 8, 2018

A few days before leaving for the 2018 Synod on Youth in Rome, Bishop Barron hosted a listening session with a group of young people at Villanova Preparatory School in his region. The goal was to invite the kids to share their ideas, desires, and concerns, so that Bishop Barron could bring those insights with him to the Synod discussions. Today we share the audio of that discussion. Enjoy!

NOTE: Be sure to visit to see all of Bishop Barron's daily video updates from the Synod!

Oct 1, 2018

Today marks the grand opening of the Word on Fire Institute! It's one of the pillars of our Word on Fire Movement, and it's a place where you'll find online training in evangelization, theology, and the spiritual life. You'll get courses taught by Bishop Barron, his Word on Fire team, and world-class professors. In today's episode, we get more details from Bishop Barron and learn how to sign up.

Click here to learn more >>

Bonus Link >> Bishop Barron's Reddit Q&A

Sep 24, 2018

This week, we're sharing the second half of Bishop Barron's keynote talk at the recent 2018 World Meeting of Families in Dublin, Ireland. His talk was titled "Pope Francis on the Gospel of the Family." Enjoy!

Sep 17, 2018

This week, we're sharing the first half of Bishop Barron's keynote talk at the recent 2018 World Meeting of Families in Dublin, Ireland. His talk was titled "Pope Francis on the Gospel of the Family." We'll share the second half in next week's episode. Enjoy!

Sep 10, 2018

Bishop Barron has set out on a missionary journey to the UK! In this episode of the Word on Fire Show, Bishop discusses this great adventure while on the road with Word on Fire Producer, Joseph Gloor.

Topics Discussed

  • 0:04 - Introduction
  • 3:30 - What were the grave sites like in Scotland?
  • 10:00 - What is the Catholic take on Adam Smith's market economy? 
  • 15:00 - Where is Arthur's Seat?
  • 20:00 - What does Haggis taste like?
  • 23:00 - What did Bishop Barron discuss in his talk at The Usher Hall?
  • 27:00 - Listener Question: What will Bishop Barron talk about in Liverpool?
Sep 3, 2018

Bishop Barron was recently appointed as a representative of the U.S. Bishops for the upcoming Synod in Rome on "Youth, Faith, and Vocational Discernment." In this episode, he shares why he thinks this Synod is more important that other recent gatherings, and some of the main reasons why people become "nones" and leave the Church. He also explains why accompaniment involves apologetics and how the two are mutually implicative. A listener asks when Bishop Barron says "love the other, as other," what does he mean by "as other"?

Topics Discussed

  • 0:04 - Introduction
  • 3:30 - Why is the upcoming synod so important?
  • 5:00 - Why are young people becoming "nones"?
  • 9:45 - What is the number one reason people leave the Church and why?
  • 12:00 - Why do accompaniment and apologetics go hand and hand?
  • 19:30 - What questions does the New Apologetics need to respond to?
  • 24:30 - Listener Question: When you say "love the other, as other," what do you mean by "as other"?


Aug 29, 2018

Friends, in light of the recent scandals, I know many people are wondering whether they should remain in the Catholic Church. And I totally get that; the outrage is warranted. But in this time of crisis, I beg you not to flee, but to fight--not violently, with the weapons of the world, but with the weapons of the Spirit. We need you.

Aug 28, 2018

Many of you have asked for Bishop Barron's thoughts on the McCarrick abuse crisis, the Pennsylvania grand jury report, and the recent report from Archbishop Viganò. We're all devastated by the horrific suffering of these many victims, and we're all wondering what to do next.

Bishop Barron shared some thoughts a couple weeks ago, in an article, but we thought it might be helpful to have a more candid conversation today, building on the USCCB's recent statement.

Listen to the discussion here, and together let's pray for the victims and the entire Body of Christ.

Aug 27, 2018

The first annual Word on Fire Conference for Priests brought 300 Catholic priests to Huntington Beach, CA, for a three day reflection on the art of preaching. Bishop Barron delivered four talks, in addition to a talk by Dana Gioia, California's state Poet Laureate, and the conference closed with a lively Q&A where priests asked Bishop Barron whatever questions they had about preaching. Today, we share the Q&A with you. Enjoy!

Aug 20, 2018

In this episode you'll hear the full Episode 1 from Bishop Barron's new film series, The Mass. Listen as Bishop Barron explains why the Mass is so important, and why it's not just a lecture or performance but a continual response between Christ and his people.

Be sure to visit, where you can pick up the new special edition set of the series, which includes immediate streaming access to the videos and free USA shipping for the box set.

Aug 13, 2018

Ten years ago, Bishop Barron and his Word on Fire team set out to create something the world had never seen: a large-scale film series about the Catholic faith that put the intelligence and beauty of Catholicism on full display. The resulting CATHOLICISM series has touched millions of people, becoming one of the most effective evangelistic resources of the twenty-first century.

As we celebrate the tenth anniversary of the CATHOLICISM series this week, we share a special Live Q&A with Bishop Barron about the series, and offer a special way to watch all ten episodes free online. Learn more at!

Aug 6, 2018

Pope Francis has encouraged priests to "get out of the sacristy into the streets," to find the Church's lost sheep and evangelize them. Bishop Barron agrees with this advice, and in this episode, he offers his take on the best ways to do that. A listener asks why we need to repent if God's love is unconditional.

Topics Discussed

  • 04:00 - Bishop Barron's favorite memories from the Pivotal Players film trip
  • 4:00 - What is Bishop Barron's article about?
  • 8:15 - How does a parish shift gears to evangelization?
  • 14:00 - What has been the common perspective on evangelization?
  • 17:30 - How will the Word on Fire Movement serve this mission?
  • 22:00 - What advice does Bishop Barron have for evangelizers, both lay and clergy?
  • 26:15 - Listener Question: Is the love of God really unconditional?
Jul 30, 2018

What do we mean by religious liberty? Why should all people, including non-religious people, care about protecting religious liberty? Bishop Barron recently joined the U.S. Bishop's Committee for Religious Liberty, and has been thinking about these questions more deeply. Today, he gives an overview of the topic, including a look at John Courtney Murray, Vatican II, and what ordinary Catholics in the pew can do to promote religious liberty. A listener asks about the divide which has arisen between academic theology and spirituality.

Topics Discussed

  • 0:04 - Introduction, USCCB meeting in Florida
  • 2:00 - What is religious liberty?
  • 5:50 - Why should atheists care about religious liberty?
  • 9:00 - What is the history of religious liberty in the USA?
  • 16:00 - Is religious liberty under attack in America now?
  • 19:50 - What are the best ways to propose religious liberty, and how can we defend religious liberty in our own way?
  • 25:45 - Listener Question: How to we heal the gap between theology and spirituality?
Jul 23, 2018

Listen to tales from the road as Bishop Barron discusses his recent film trip with Word on Fire Producer, Joseph Gloor. The team just wrapped production on the next two episodes of CATHOLICISM: The Pivotal Players, which feature Ven. Fulton Sheen and Flannery O'Connor. In today's episode you'll hear some anecdotes and insights Bishop Barron gathered over the course of this great American adventure. Word on Fire CEO, Father Steve Grunow, asks Bishop to explain the last two pivotal players on the list.

Go to for exclusive behind-the-scenes commentaries!

Topics Discussed

  • 0:04 - Introduction
  • 1:45 - What did Bishop Barron think of Yaddo and his reaction to all the laypeople thanking him throughout the trip?
  • 6:30 - Who is the Pivotal Players film crew?
  • 11:15 - Hilary Clinton and the D.C. travel debacle
  • 13:30 - Savannah, Church politics, and another Bishop Barron meme
  • 19:45 - How are we celebrating 10 years of the CATHOLICISM series?
  • 20:30 - Flannery O'Connor's countryside living, suffering, and sanctity
  • 25:20 - Where was the last shot in the film project?
  • 26:30 - Listener Question: Who are the remaining pivotal players and when will they be filmed?

To ask Bishop Barron a question on the show go to 

Jul 16, 2018

Join Bishop Barron in the production van as he travels from New York City to Yaddo, an artist community in Saratoga Springs. Bishop is currently filming the next two episodes of his epic film series, CATHOLICISM: The Pivotal Players, which feature Ven. Fulton Sheen and Flannery O'Connor. Today's episode gives you behind-the-scenes access as Bishop offers his take on these major Catholic figures. A listener asks about the sanctity of Flannery O'Connor.

Go to for exclusive behind-the-scenes commentaries!

Topics Discussed

  • 04:00 - Introduction
  • 1:45 - What is The Pivotal Players film series?
  • 3:30 - Where are the film locations for these next two episodes?
  • 10:15 - Where is Bishop Barron most excited to visit?
  • 11:20 - Who is Fulton Sheen to Bishop Barron?
  • 14:20 -Who is Flannery O'Connor to Bishop Barron?
  • 21:00 - What does Bishop Barron think these two figures would want us to emphasize while telling their story?
  • 23:30 - Listener Question: Should Flannery O'Connor be considered for sainthood?
Jul 9, 2018

In this episode Bishop Barron answers Questions about the Mass.

Go to to get your free Catholic scientist posters!

Jul 2, 2018

In this episode, Bishop Barron answers questions from the Word on Fire Community.

Topics Discussed

  • 0:04 - Introduction
  • 1:45 - Why have my emotions cooled off after my conversion?
  • 6:30 - What should we tell people who think religion is superstition?
  • 10:36 - How should we respond to people who claim to be "spiritual but not religious"?
  • 14:30 - Does religion have a smart people problem?
  • 19:30 - Why does Dante's explanation of Heaven have varying levels?
  • 23:40 - Are all religions at the core fundamentally the same?
  • 27:25 - What are some ideas for evangelizing a college campus?

To join the Word on Fire Community go to 

Jun 25, 2018

In this episode, Bishop Barron discusses the content of his great book, And Now I See. A listener asks about the role of our conscience in relation to Church teaching.

Topics Discussed

  • 0:04 - Introduction, Bishop Barron's trip to the National Eucharistic Congress in Atlanta.
  • 2:15 - What is the central crux of And Now I See?
  • 5:30 - Why is the idea of sight used to explain Christian transformation?
  • 7:40 - How does Dante reveal the "mind of fear" in all of us?
  • 13:45 - How does Thomas Merton reveal the "mind of trust" that comes from Christ?
  • 18:30 - How can a aggressive spirituality become a detriment to us? 
  • 22:50 - How is the Incarnation the key to changing our vision?
  • 25:10 - What should we do if our conscience is at odds with Church teaching?

Visit to submit a listener question.

Jun 18, 2018

Nearly every day we hear about natural disasters, school shootings, and profound tragedies. Each of us experiences pain and suffering. So why does God allow it? Why doesn't he just prevent all evil from occurring? That's what Bishop Barron discusses in today's episode. A listener asks

Topics Discussed

  • o:04 - Introduction, Bishop Barron talks about his The Mass Study Program
  • 3:14 - How did St. Augustine wrestle with the problem of evil?
  • 10:00 - How did Thomas Aquinas deal with the problem of evil philosophically and theologically?
  • 17:00 - How could God under any circumstances permit the Holocaust?
  • 20:00 - How did God deal with the problem of evil on the Cross?
  • 23:00 - How would Bishop Barron explain evil to a grieving sufferer?
  • 24:50 - Question: Why did God not make us more capable of understanding him?
Jun 11, 2018

In this episode, we discuss a recent article in GQ magazine which described the Bible as overrated, along with a new report from Barna titled State of the Bible 2017: Top Findings. We explore whether people are reading the Bible, how much they're doing it, and how we can all read the Bible better.

Topics Discussed

  • 0:04 - Introduction, Bishop's reflections on his Google talk, the Pope Francis movie
  • 5:25 - Why does GQ Magazine think the Bible is overrated?
  • 11:30 - How does Bishop Barron engage people who want to read the Bible but struggle with the task?
  • 17:00 - How can the Bible, itself, be used as an evangelical tool?
  • 21:30 - Why is the printed text of the Bible so important to people rather than the ebook version?
  • 27:30 - Question: Is the God of the Bible in contrast with the God of natural theology?

Bonus Resources

Jun 4, 2018

Bishop Barron was recently invited to speak at the Google headquarters (aka the Googleplex) in Mountain View, CA. He addressed a room full of Google and YouTube employees on how religion doesn't shut down the questing intellect, but in fact opens up our minds, causing us to seek the fulfillment of our deepest longings.

We shared the first half of his talk in last week's episode. Today we listen to the second half along with the post-talk Q&A with Google/YouTube employees.

May 28, 2018

Bishop Barron was recently invited to speak at the Google headquarters (aka the Googleplex). in Mountain View, CA. He addressed a room full of Google and YouTube employees on how religion doesn't shut down the questing intellect, but in fact opens up our minds, causing us to seek the fulfillment of our deepest longings.

NOTE: This episode includes the first half of Bishop Barron's talk. We'll play the second half next week, including the post-talk Q&A with Google/YouTube employees.

May 21, 2018

Bishop Barron answers several questions from young listeners, ranging from three-year-olds to eight-year-olds, about God, Adam and Eve, and robbers. Enjoy this kids Q&A episode!

Be sure to record your questions—or your kids' questions—at

Topics Discussed

  • 2:20 - Update about Word on Fire Institute video recording
  • 4:00 - Did Jesus really see his Father on the Cross?
  • 5:15 - Why did Peter deny Jesus three times?
  • 8:05 - Why didn't God warn Adam and Eve about the serpent?
  • 13:00 - Why didn't God make us perfect in the beginning?
  • 18:20 - Why did God make robbers?
  • 20:45 - Why did God make tigers?
  • 24:20 - How is it that God did not come into existence?
May 14, 2018

The new film Avengers: Infinity War, based on the Marvel Comics superhero team the Avengers, has already grossed over $1 billion worldwide and had the highest-grossing opening in film history. In this episode, Bishop Barron and Jared Zimmerer explore some of the movie's philosophical and spiritual themes.

*SPOILER ALERT!* This episode contains spoilers so only listen after you've seen the film, or if you don't plan to see it.

Topics Discussed

  • 0:04 - Introduction, confirmation season
  • 4:30 - What does Bishop Barron think of comic book movies and the villain, Thanos?
  • 6:17 - How does Thanos mirror Nietzsche and alchemy?
  • 9:45 - How does Thanos reflect the totalitarian regimes of the World War II?
  • 13:05 - How does the Church stand against the idea that "the end justifies the means"?
  • 15:45 - What are the shortcomings of the Marvel heroes, and how do they reflect the Greek gods?
  • 21:50 - How did Bishop Barron react to the surprise ending?
  • 25:00 - Who is Bishop Barron's favorite super hero?
  • 26:00 - Question - By what criteria to you criticize movies?
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