The Word on Fire Show - Catholic Faith and Culture

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The Word on Fire Show - Catholic Faith and Culture





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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?
May 7, 2018

Part two of Bishop Barron’s talk on Catholicism and beauty from the 2018 Los Angeles Religious Education Congress.

Apr 30, 2018

Part One of Bishop Barron's talk on Catholicism and beauty.

Apr 23, 2018

Bishop Barron answers several listener questions during this episode, ranging from classic education to the Great Story of Israel to living the faith while under persecution. Enjoy this listener Q&A episode!

Topics Discussed

  • 0:04 - Updates about Confirmation season
  • 2:00 - Video made by students at Bishop Sullivan High School (Virginia Beach, VA)
  • 5:00 - What do you think about the movement promoting Catholic classical education?
  • 7:40 - Does Psalm 23 demand some sort of prosperity Gospel (e.g., Joel Osteen)?
  • 11:00 - What books do you recommend to understand God's relationship with Israel, and the Great Story?
  • 14:30 - What do make of the Scripture that says, "God did not do the evil he had been planning to do." How should we read this?
  • 18:00 - What key topics and elements do you think every parish religious education program should have?
  • 22:15 - Is it possible to be gluttonous in the pursuit of knowledge about God? How do we address that?
  • 25:45 - What did John Paul II do to facilitate the downfall of communism?
  • 30:15 - Any advice for people living in places where you can't outwardly practice your faith?
Apr 16, 2018

John Krasinski's new film, A Quiet Place, which he both directs and stars in, may at first seem like a typical thriller, with lurking monsters threatening to kill everyone in their path. But it's actually a surprisingly religious movie, as Bishop Barron explains, witnessing to the monastic response to evil, the dignity of life, and the sacrificial death of Christ on the Cross. A listener asks about the next steps for someone who has said "yes" to Jesus and the Church.

*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, Bishop Barron's vacation
  • 2:25 - What is the plot summary of the movie?
  • 4:40 - Did John Krasinski intend on making this a religious movie?
  • 6:25 - What are some of the key religious motifs presented in the film?
  • 10:20 - How does this movie display the beauty of the pro-life argument?
  • 15:25 - How does the Christus Victor theory of atonement become a motif within this film?
  • 18:50 - How does the Church draw parallels with the ending of A Quiet Place?
  • 21:40 - Question - What are the next steps for someone who has said "Yes" to Jesus/Church?

Have a question for Bishop Barron? Go to!

Apr 9, 2018

In this episode, Bishop Barron recounts his visit to the headquarters of both Google and YouTube. He was there to deliver a talk to Catholic Googlers on "Religion and the Opening of the Mind." He reflects on the hungering intellect and why wealth, power, pleasure, and honor all fail to satisfy its restless longings. A listener asks why Jesus didn't appear to more people after his Resurrection.

NOTE: Join the Word on Fire Community here >>

Topics Discussed

  • 0:04 - Introduction, Holy Week in Bishop Barron's Santa Barbara pastoral region
  • 2:20 - What was Bishop Barron's impression of the Google and YouTube offices?
  • 7:00 - Why did Bishop Barron choose the topic "Religion and the Opening Up of the Mind"?
  • 10:10 - How does Thomas Aquinas's epistemology explain the "agent intellect"? 
  • 13:40 - Why does Bishop Barron bring up Elijah and the priest of Baal while at Google?
  • 17:00 - Why can't wealth, power, pleasure or honor be the greatest good?
  • 25:00 - What can satisfy the questing mind?
  • 32:30 - Question: After his Resurrection, why did Jesus show himself only to a few people and not to the Pharisees, Pontius Pilate, or to a large crowd?
Apr 2, 2018

This week we enjoy a live recording of Bishop Barron's inspiring Easter homily.

Mar 26, 2018

In this week’s episode Bishop Barron discusses an intrinsic aspect of evangelization; community. Not only is there an intrinsic need of mankind to have a community, which the Church teaches is part of man’s nature, but also the need to have a certain kind of community within the Christian life. A listener asks how we ought to distinguish between authentic conscience and what CS Lewis called "the poison of subjectivism"?

BONUS: Learn more about the first ever Word on Fire National Conference for Priests >>

Topics Discussed

  • 0:04 - Introduction, Bishop Barron's recent trips
  • 3:00 - Why does contemporary culture bring a sense of isolation and loneliness?
  • 5:45 - How do we find a balance between the autonomy of the individual and the need for community?
  • 8:15 - What are the benefits and drawbacks of social media in community building?
  • 11:45 - Why do humans need each other?
  • 14:30 - How do we bolster parish community?
  • 17:30 - What role will the Word on Fire Movement play in building Catholic community?
  • 20:30 - What does Bishop Barron recommend for those looking for community?
  • 22:00 - Listener Question: What is the difference between the authentic conscience and individual subjectivism?
Mar 19, 2018

In this episode, Bishop Barron and Brandon Vogt record live from the L.A. Congress, discussing Bishop Barron's keynote talk on beauty and interacting with visitors at the booth. Enjoy!

Mar 12, 2018

In last week's episode, we discussed the Jordan Peterson phenomenon, wondering how the Canadian clinical psychologist exploded so quickly in popularity. In this week's episode, we continue the discussion as Bishop Barron reflects on Peterson's religious views and Biblical interpretation. A listener wonders why we spend so much money on churches instead of giving it to the poor.

BONUS: Learn more about the first ever Word on Fire National Conference for Priests >>

Topics Discussed

  • 0:04 - Introduction,  Bishop Barron's upcoming travels
  • 3:10 - What does Bishop Barron like about Jordan Peterson's religious perspectives?
  • 5:00 - What issues does he take with Peterson's work?
  • 10:45 - What are Jordan Peterson's religious views?
  • 16:00 - What does Jordan Peterson believe about the Resurrection and what is Bishop Barron's reaction?
  • 20:00 - What is the connection between C.S. Lewis and Jordan Peterson?
  • 25:20 - What can Christian evangelists learn from Jordan Peterson?
  • 28:30 - Listener question: How can the Church spend so much money on building fancy churches when there are so many poor people in need?

Bonus Resources

Mar 5, 2018

Dr. Jordan Peterson, a clinical psychologist and mythology enthusiast, has exploded onto the scene, becoming the world's most popular intellectual figure in just a few short months. Who is he and what should know about him? And why have his ideas gained so much traction, especially young men? Over the next couple episodes, Bishop Barron and Brandon Vogt discuss the Jordan Peterson phenomenon and reflect on his work from a Catholic perspective. A listener asks whether it's fine to use secular mindfulness meditation to relieve anxiety.

BONUS: Learn more about the first ever Word on Fire National Conference for Priests >>

Topics Discussed

  • 0:04 - Introduction, Bishop spends time with Jim Caviezel
  • 4:45 - How did Bishop Barron first come to know Jordan Peterson?
  • 7:20 - Who are some of the philosophical influences of Jordan Peterson?
  • 10:40 - Why does Jordan Peterson place such an emphasis on the Bible?
  • 14:10 - How does Peterson view Nietzsche and our reaction to life's suffering?
  • 24:05 - What is Jordan Peterson's reading of the Garden of Eden in Genesis?
  • 28:15 - What is Jordan Peterson's take on Buddhism and Christian redemptive suffering?
  • 30:00 - Why does Jordan Peterson believe you should absolutely never tell a lie?
  • 33:00 - Why has Jordan Peterson become so popular especially amongst young men?
  • 37:30 - Listener question: Is it okay for a Catholic to engage in secular mindfulness meditation in order to relieve anxiety?

Bonus Resources

Feb 26, 2018

The Academy Awards are just around the corner and nine films have been nominated for Best Picture. Bishop Barron has seen seven of them, and in this episode, he shares his thoughts on each. A listener asks whether free will is essential to Christianity.

BONUS: Sign up for the Word on Fire National Conference for Priests >>

Topics Discussed

  • 0:04 - Discussing Billy Graham's death and legacy
  • 5:00 - Dunkirk
  • 8:40 - Darkest Hour
  • 13:30 - Get Out
  • 16:10 - Lady Bird
  • 21:25 - The Post
  • 24:10 - The Shape of Water
  • 27:00 - Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
  • 30:10 - Listener question: How essential is the concept of free will to Christianity?

Bonus Resources

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