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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 http://WordOnFireShow.com and submit your questions at http://AskBishopBarron.com.
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The Word on Fire Show - Catholic Faith and Culture
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Now displaying: Page 1
Jun 10, 2024

The atheist political commentator and television host Bill Maher has long been a bitter critic of Christianity. In additional to regular swipes at Christians on his shows, Maher also devoted an entire documentary film, sardonically entitled Religulous, to lampoon what he takes to be Christianity’s moral and theological absurdities. However, Maher has recently tempered his anti-Christian rhetoric and started focusing his biting wit on criticizing progressive woke ideology and condemning positions like neo-racism, the denial of biology, and the stifling of free speech in ways that the Catholic tradition would largely agree with.

In light of this apparent shift, is it time for people of faith to reassess Bill Maher? Has one of Christianity’s most vocal opponents now become an ally or, perhaps, even a friend? 

A listener asks, “What is truth?”

00:00 | Intro
01:32 | Bishop Barron’s recent diaconate ordinations
02:35 | Bill Maher’s analysis of religion
04:47 | What rationalism misses in its critique of religion
06:35 | Historic interpretive strategies for reading the Bible
10:31 | Freedom of speech and cancel culture
12:14 | On racial emphases
14:11 | Equality vs. equity
17:05 | Oppressors and the oppressed
18:21 | The philosophical roots of classical liberalism
20:01 | The value of classical liberalism over political progressivism
22:14 | Critiquing classical liberalism
26:18 | Is classical liberalism necessarily doomed?
28:39 | Finding points of agreement
30:41 | Listener question
32:48 | Join the Word on Fire Institute

 

 


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Jun 3, 2024

Our journey continues through Dante's poetic imagery of the seven deadly sins. As Bishop Barron describes them in order of their severity, we discover that in order to atone for each sin, those in purgatory are punished with the repetitive practice of a countervailing virtue.

Bishop Barron's course, “Dante’s Catholic Imagination,” is timeless and ever-relevant. Watch it in its entirety in the Word on Fire Institute.


NOTE: Do you like this podcast? Become a Word on Fire IGNITE member! Word on Fire is a non-profit ministry that depends on the support of our listeners . . . like you! So become a part of this mission and join IGNITE today to become a Word on Fire insider and receive some special donor gifts for your generosity.

May 27, 2024

Is Christianity a useful religion to the West? Atheist Richard Dawkins recently claimed that, while still an atheist, he considers himself a “cultural Christian” because of Christianity’s utility in supporting Western cultural and political values, which he laments are under attack. Former atheist Ayaan Hirsi Ali also recently shared that she became a Christian upon realizing that Christianity is necessary to preserve Western political norms.

There are some complex and even troubling underlying questions about making the connection between Christianity and utility, especially as it relates to contemporary “Western values.” How is the utility defined and in response to what specific societal goals? Is Christianity’s utility limited to the West alone? Aren’t there some “Western values” that are antithetical to Christianity?

A listener asks how to respond to the common criticism from atheists that Christians only believe in God because they are scared of death.

00:00 | Intro
01:32 | Bishop Barron’s recent farm visit
03:00 | Recapping Richard Dawkins and the New Atheism
07:14 | Unpacking Richard Dawkins as a “cultural Christian”
12:38 | Can Christianity be culturally useful without a fixed cultural aim?
14:13 | Making moral judgments without a fixed standard
16:43 | The fundamentality of Christian thought in the West
19:51| Remembering the doctrinal dimension of Christianity
21:51 | Other influences in Western thought
25:16 | Is linking Christianity and Western thought evangelically helpful?
27:23 | Listener question
29:44 | Join the Word on Fire Institute


NOTE: Do you like this podcast? Become a Word on Fire IGNITE member! Word on Fire is a non-profit ministry that depends on the support of our listeners . . . like you! So become a part of this mission and join IGNITE today to become a Word on Fire insider and receive some special donor gifts for your generosity.

May 20, 2024

Continuing the journey in the fourth lecture of Bishop Barron’s course, “Dante’s Catholic Imagination,” we see notion that “we’re damned alone, but we’re only saved together” on full display as Dante climbs Mount Purgatory. While hell was a place of violence and self absorption, purgatory is a place of charity, hope, and faith.

This timeless and ever-relevant course is available in its entirety in the Word on Fire Institute.


NOTE: Do you like this podcast? Become a Word on Fire IGNITE member! Word on Fire is a non-profit ministry that depends on the support of our listeners . . . like you! So become a part of this mission and join IGNITE today to become a Word on Fire insider and receive some special donor gifts for your generosity.

May 13, 2024

Terms like “safe spaces,” “trigger warnings,” “harm reduction,” “micro-aggression,” “emotional wellbeing” and “fragility” are dominating the culture as well as the governance of many institutions. But by some measurements, our society is more physically compromised and mentally delicate than ever. Today, we discuss the contemporary embrace of “safety” and whether it overlaps with a Catholic understanding of the individual and common good.  

A listener asks, can a priest ever deny absolution during confession?

00:00 | Intro
01:51 | Bishop Barron’s Confirmation season
02:30 | Understanding the contemporary use of “safety”
07:45 | The relationship between risk, safety, and flourishing
12:23 | The emotional life and its role
16:14 | Physical safety as the highest good
21:36 | Speech as a form of violence
24:04 | The spiritual works of mercy vs. coddling
25:16 | Safety and the cardinal virtues
26:42 | Christ crucified and the value of safety
27:58 | Listener question
30:03 | Word on Fire Institute

NOTE: Do you like this podcast? Become a Word on Fire IGNITE member! Word on Fire is a non-profit ministry that depends on the support of our listeners . . . like you! So become a part of this mission and join IGNITE today to become a Word on Fire insider and receive some special donor gifts for your generosity.

May 6, 2024

We continue with the third lecture of Bishop Barron’s course, “Dante’s Catholic Imagination.” We uncover the horrors of hell as Virgil takes Dante on a journey to see the three levels of sin and their corresponding punishments. This ever-relevant course is available in its entirety inside the Word on Fire Institute.


NOTE: Do you like this podcast? Become a Word on Fire IGNITE member! Word on Fire is a non-profit ministry that depends on the support of our listeners . . . like you! So become a part of this mission and join IGNITE today to become a Word on Fire insider and receive some special donor gifts for your generosity.

Apr 29, 2024

Most in contemporary secular culture have probably never heard of the name “Thomas Aquinas.” However, his thought remains more pertinent than ever—not only to theology and philosophy but also to current conversations on how to build a more stable, just, and prosperous political order. Today, we discuss the evergreen genius of St. Thomas Aquinas and how his legacy continues in the life and work of the contemporary Dominican theologian, Fr. Paul Murray.   

A listener asks, does the devil know that his rebellion is ultimately futile?

00:00 | Intro 
01:12 | Bishop Barron in Rome 
02:01 | Aquinas’ impact on Bishop Barron’s formation 
03:56 | Why medieval thinkers like Aquinas still matter 
06:18 | The relationship between metaphysics and ethics 
07:29 | God as Being itself rather than as the greatest of beings 
12:43 | How God can be both transcendent and immanent 
15:58 | God’s non-competitive relationship with Creation 
21:29 | Defining true human and social goods 
23:00 | Does metaphysical speculation have a role in politics? 
25:45 | Fr. Paul Murray, St. Thomas Aquinas, and the Dominican charism 
29:54 | Listener question 
31:49 | Word on Fire Institute

Show Notes:


NOTE: Do you like this podcast? Become a Word on Fire IGNITE member! Word on Fire is a non-profit ministry that depends on the support of our listeners . . . like you! So become a part of this mission and join IGNITE today to become a Word on Fire insider and receive some special donor gifts for your generosity.

Apr 22, 2024

We continue now with the next lecture from Bishop Barron’s popular course, “Dante’s Catholic Imagination,” available in its entirety inside the Word on Fire Institute. We follow as Dante tries to go forward on his journey, but he is blocked by the beasts of sin. Enjoy this further glimpse into Dante’s always-relevant, poetic, moral, and theological genius. 


NOTE: Do you like this podcast? Become a Word on Fire IGNITE member! Word on Fire is a non-profit ministry that depends on the support of our listeners . . . like you! So become a part of this mission and join IGNITE today to become a Word on Fire insider and receive some special donor gifts for your g

Apr 15, 2024

recent article in The Atlantic magazine highlights the crisis of isolation befalling the United States. Americans have never been—or felt—more solitary, especially the younger generations. And the consequences are often fatal: loneliness is a major cause of the recent spikes in depression, anxiety, and suicide, which are at unprecedented levels. Today, we discuss the loss of our social bonds and how Catholic thought can help heal and re-unite us.

A listener asks, given free will, does God know what choices we will make?

00:00 | Intro
01:23 | Bishop Barron’s recent USCCB and diocesan work
02:22 | Why should a person’s chosen isolation matter to anyone else?
04:34 | Individuality vs. the Catholic conception of the individual
09:11 | Distinguishing between solitude and isolation
12:43 | Why in-person communities matter
14:00 | The role of unchosen communities in an individual’s development
16:09 | How to view the company of others
17:34 | Can one adequately substitute animal companionship for community?
22:06 | New media, smart devices, and screen time
26:45 | Advice to encourage more in-person gatherings
27:53 | Listener question
29:32 | Join the Word on Fire Institute


NOTE: Do you like this podcast? Become a Word on Fire IGNITE member! Word on Fire is a non-profit ministry that depends on the support of our listeners . . . like you! So become a part of this mission and join IGNITE today to become a Word on Fire insider and receive some special donor gifts for your generosity.

Apr 8, 2024

Today we are excited to bring you the first lecture from Bishop Barron’s popular course, “Dante’s Catholic Imagination,” which is available in its entirety inside the Word on Fire Institute. We hope you enjoy this deep dive into Dante’s evergreen, always-relevant poetic, moral, and theological genius. 


NOTE: Do you like this podcast? Become a Word on Fire IGNITE member! Word on Fire is a non-profit ministry that depends on the support of our listeners . . . like you! So become a part of this mission and join IGNITE today to become a Word on Fire insider and receive some special donor gifts for your generosity.

Apr 1, 2024

Pope St. John Paul II used the term “culture of death'' in his 1995 encyclical Evangelium Vitae to capture the secular world’s dark confluence of poisonous ideas and practices that lead—directly and indirectly—to spiritual and physical ruin.

Sadly, we’ve seen the the culture of death advance on many fronts. Today, we focus on the increasing legalization of suicide in the United States and abroad. Listen as we discuss the issue and how Catholics can and should respond to it. 

A listener asks why we pray for the dead, and can we pray for the souls on atheists and non-Catholics?

00:00 | Intro 
01:18 | Bishop Barron's recent diocesan work 
02:34 | The role of euphemism in the euthanasia debate 
06:39 | Unpacking "autonomy" and "compassion" 
12:31 | Responding to critics of the slippery slope argument 
20:56 | The State's role in moral disputes 
24:40 | How can Catholics positively respond to euthanasia? 
26:50 | Listener question 
28:15 | Word on Fire Institute

SHOW NOTES:


NOTE: Do you like this podcast? Become a Word on Fire IGNITE member! Word on Fire is a non-profit ministry that depends on the support of our listeners . . . like you! So become a part of this mission and join IGNITE today to become a Word on Fire insider and receive some special donor gifts for your generosity.

Mar 25, 2024

Today we bring you Bishop Barron's keynote address from the recent Good News Conference. In it, he speaks in depth about what it means to be a full witness to Jesus Christ. Enjoy! 


NOTE: Do you like this podcast? Become a Word on Fire IGNITE member! Word on Fire is a non-profit ministry that depends on the support of our listeners . . . like you! So become a part of this mission and join us today!

Mar 18, 2024

According to Fortune magazine, overall undergraduate enrollment experienced the steepest rate of decline on record from 2019 to 2022, and it has only worsened since then. There are several explanations, but one cause is entirely self-imposed: most universities and colleges have now replaced education with ideology, subverting the search for truth with political indoctrination. Today, we discuss the ideological takeover of higher education and how the Catholic conception of the university can help provide an antidote. 

A listener asks, if priests are meant to represent Jesus, are nuns supposed to represent Mary?

00:00 | Intro
01:47 | Catholic social thought tradition and the higher education crisis
03:50 | Differences between Catholic and secular universities
04:50 | Seeking while knowing the truth
07:33 | Resisting relativism
09:30 | Catholic staff ratios for Catholic universities
11:16 | Segregating Catholic identity
13:51 | Academic freedom at Catholic universities
15:46 | Dicy freedom of speech claims
17:06 | Catholic universities and male participation
18:37 | Higher education and vocational training
20:35 | High costs and accessibility
21:51 | What can we do to course-correct universities that have lost their way?
24:50 | Listener question
26:01 | Word on Fire Institute


NOTE: Do you like this podcast? Become a patron and get some great perks for helping, like free books, bonus content, and more. Word on Fire is a non-profit ministry that depends on the support of our listeners…like you! So be part of this mission, and join us today!

Mar 11, 2024

Today, we are bringing you a recent conversation from the “Bishop Barron Presents” series between Bishop Barron and Congressman Ro Khanna. Congressman Khanna represents California’s 17th Congressional District, best known as the home of Silicon Valley. Over the course of the conversation, the Bishop and he discussed his background, Catholic social teaching, various policy matters, finding common ground, and why the American experiment is a great and worthwhile endeavor. Enjoy!


NOTE: Do you like this podcast? Become a Word on Fire IGNITE member! Word on Fire is a non-profit ministry that depends on the support of our listeners . . . like you! So become a part of this mission and join us today!

Mar 4, 2024

Friends, the Book of Jonah is one of the shortest books of the Bible, yet it’s packed with profound truths about hearing and obeying the voice of God. On today’s episode of “The Word on Fire Show,” Brandon Vogt and I discuss this powerful little book.

A listener asks, why did Jesus show up when he did and not at a different point in time? What would the world look like had he showed up later, or not at all?

00:00 | Intro
00:46 | Bishop Barron on Catholic Schools Week
01:51 | Bishop Barron’s recent conversation with Jordan Peterson
02:47 | Intro to the book of Jonah
04:41 | Jonah’s opening narrative
09:25 | Lessons from Luke’s road to Emmaus and Jonah
11:00 | The significance of Jonah’s storm
14:31 | The significance of Jonah’s fish
16:58 | Answering Jonah’s critics
18:22 | Jonah’s concluding narrative
20:17 | Jesus’ words on Jonah
22:48 | More resources on Jonah
23:34 | Listener question
26:17 | New book—Princesses of Heaven: The Flowers
27:13 | Special announcement about future of WOF Show

NOTE: Do you like this podcast? Become a patron and get some great perks for helping, like free books, bonus content, and more. Word on Fire is a non-profit ministry that depends on the support of our listeners…like you! So be part of this mission, and join us today!

Feb 26, 2024

Friends, what’s the proper relationship between liberal democracy and the Catholic Church? Many smart and reflective people, on either side of the Catholic/American divide, have felt that the two systems, democracy and Catholicism, were incompatible. But why?

Using the thought of the 19th century French diplomat and political philosopher, Alexis de Tocqueville, Bishop Barron explores this question in his 2023 Russell Kirk Lecture for the Heritage Foundation, titled “The Breakdown of the Tocquevillean Equilibrium.” Enjoy!

NOTE: Do you like this podcast? Become a patron and get some great perks for helping, like free books, bonus content, and more. Word on Fire is a non-profit ministry that depends on the support of our listeners…like you! So be part of this mission, and join us today!

Feb 19, 2024

Friends, we are in the midst of a mental health crisis, with many calling it another pandemic. Record-high numbers of Americans are facing depression and suicide. Nearly half of young people report feelings of persistent sadness or hopelessness. What’s behind this crisis, and how can the Church help? That’s what Brandon Vogt and I discuss on today’s episode of “The Word on Fire Show.”

A listener asks, is “just war theory” a concession to human weakness? How do we square that with Jesus’ teachings on non-violence?

00:00 | Intro
01:09 | USCCB recap on surrogacy
03:49 | Why the mental health crisis matters to bishops
06:00 | Social media's role in damaged mental health
09:39 | Community's role in healing mental health
13:03 | The connection between psychological and spiritual suffering
16:09 | Religious disaffiliation and mental illness
17:47 | Who is St. Dymphna?
18:40 | A word for those wrestling with poor mental health
20:55 | Listener question
24:17 | New book—“Christ Brings All Newness”

NOTE: Do you like this podcast? Become a patron and get some great perks for helping, like free books, bonus content, and more. Word on Fire is a non-profit ministry that depends on the support of our listeners…like you! So be part of this mission, and join us today!

Feb 12, 2024

Today, we’re excited to share with you Bishop Barron’s recent talk at the 2023 Alliance for Responsible Citizenship (ARC) Conference held in London, England. His talk was titled “What is the True Nature of Freedom?”

As Bishop Barron explains, freedom for excellence is not self-determination. It is the disciplining of desire so as to make the achievement of the good first possible and then effortless. Enjoy!

NOTE: Do you like this podcast? Become a patron and get some great perks for helping, like free books, bonus content, and more. Word on Fire is a non-profit ministry that depends on the support of our listeners…like you! So be part of this mission, and join us today!

Feb 5, 2024

Friends, the Catholic Church seems locked in constant disagreements, often between so-called liberal and conservative Catholics. But is there a third way to lead us out of this quagmire?

Cardinal Francis George offers a compelling answer, which Brandon Vogt and I discuss on today’s episode of the “Word on Fire Show.”

A listener asks, did Jesus ever get sick?

00:00 | Intro
01:13 | New episodes of “Bishop Barron Presents” are back!
03:24 | Who was Cardinal Francis George?
06:31 | Cardinal George’s critique of liberal Catholicism
09:45 | Why liberal Catholicism falls short of giving life
12:26 | Cardinal George’s critique of conservative Catholicism
18:11 | Cardinal George’s solution: simply Catholicism
20:53 | How Is Catholicism for our times and against our times?
23:38 | What Cardinal George might say to us today
24:39 | Listener question
26:41 | 2024 Wonder Conference

NOTE: Do you like this podcast? Become a patron and get some great perks for helping, like free books, bonus content, and more. Word on Fire is a non-profit ministry that depends on the support of our listeners…like you! So be part of this mission, and join us today!

Jan 29, 2024

Friends, today we’re excited to share with you the newest episode in our “Bishop Barron Presents” series. In this discussion, Bishop Barron talks with Fr. Joseph Fessio, SJ.

Fr. Fessio was formed by some of the greatest figures of twentieth-century Catholicism, including Henri de Lubac, Joseph Ratzinger, and Hans Urs von Balthasar. This fascinating conversation covers his life story, his education, his experience in Europe, the founding of Ignatius Press, and much more. Enjoy!

NOTE: Do you like this podcast? Become a patron and get some great perks for helping, like free books, bonus content, and more. Word on Fire is a non-profit ministry that depends on the support of our listeners…like you! So be part of this mission, and join us today!

Jan 22, 2024

Friends, we all strive to be spiritually great. We want to be magnanimous, great-souled men and women. But how do we get there? The Church offers a concrete seven-fold path, and that’s what Brandon Vogt and I discuss on today’s “Word on Fire Show” episode.

A listener asks, I’m coming back into the Church after a 15 year absence, and all the words [of Mass] have changed. What happened?

00:00 | Intro
00:55 | Bishop Barron’s California recap
02:18 | How spiritual works of mercy relate to corporal works of mercy
05:08 | Why loving others includes meeting spiritual needs
05:44 | 1) Admonish the sinner
08:24 | 2) Instruct the ignorant
10:17 | 3) Counsel the doubtful
13:32 | 4) Comfort the sorrowful
15:54 | 5) Bear wrongs patiently
19:00 | 6) Forgive all injuries
22:18 | 7) Pray for the living and the dead
26:18 | Listener question
28:32 | New book—Ethics for Beginners by Peter Kreeft

NOTE: Do you like this podcast? Become a patron and get some great perks for helping, like free books, bonus content, and more. Word on Fire is a non-profit ministry that depends on the support of our listeners…like you! So be part of this mission, and join us today!

Jan 15, 2024

Today, we’re excited to share with you Bishop Barron’s recent talk at Harvard University titled “The Catholic Intellectual Tradition,” sponsored by the Harvard Catholic Forum.

Bishop Barron explores some foundational themes in the Catholic intellectual tradition, including God, the human person, sin and grace, society, and freedom. All flow from Christology, our understanding of Jesus, so that, as St. Bonaventure said, Christ is truly found at the center of all the disciplines pursued in the university.

Get your copy of Word on Fire's 2024 Lent Reflection booklets: WordonFire.org/Lent2024

NOTE: Do you like this podcast? Become a patron and get some great perks for helping, like free books, bonus content, and more. Word on Fire is a non-profit ministry that depends on the support of our listeners…like you! So be part of this mission, and join us today!

Jan 8, 2024

Friends, each of us wants to be a good person. But how do we actually do that? How do we truly become a person of love? That’s what Brandon Vogt and I discuss on today’s “Word on Fire Show” episode.

A listener asks, if I did not inherit the sins of my parents, why did I inherit the sins of Adam and Eve?

00:00 | Intro
00:46 | Update on Winona-Rochester Diocesan Pastoral Center
02:38 | Dorothy Day and the need for corporal and spiritual works of mercy
04:41 | The seven corporal works of mercy
05:50 | Corporal works of mercy as measuring marks for self-examination
06:36 | 1) Feed the hungry, 2) give drink to the thirsty, 3) clothe the naked
10:53 | Direct aid for the needy vs. indirect aid
12:57 | 4) Visit the imprisoned—is this literal?
14:41 | How acts of love can lead to peace
17:27 | 5) Shelter the homeless
18:53 | 6) Visit the sick
21:02 | 7) Bury the dead
22:57 | How ordinary parents can pursue corporal works of mercy
24:12 | Listener question
27:21 | 2024 Lenten Reflections booklet from Word on Fire

NOTE: Do you like this podcast? Become a patron and get some great perks for helping, like free books, bonus content, and more. Word on Fire is a non-profit ministry that depends on the support of our listeners…like you! So be part of this mission, and join us today!

Dec 25, 2023

Friends, the prologue of the Gospel of St. John is one of the richest and most densely textured writings in the scriptures as John expresses the very nature of God and the profundity of the Incarnation that we celebrate every Christmas.

Merry Christmas to you on behalf of my whole Word on Fire team!

NOTE: Do you like this podcast? Become a patron and get some great perks for helping, like free books, bonus content, and more. Word on Fire is a non-profit ministry that depends on the support of our listeners…like you! So be part of this mission, and join us today!

Dec 18, 2023

Friends, is the Christmas story little more than a sweet, saccharine tale about a cute baby being born? Or do the Gospels present something more subversive and revolutionary, a battle between two great kings? That’s what Brandon Vogt and I discuss on today’s “Word on Fire Show” episode.

A listener asks, whose body is the Body of Christ in the Eucharist? Infant, crucified, or resurrected Jesus?

00:00 | Intro
01:31 | Bishop Barron at Good News Conference
03:56 | The surprising subversiveness of the Christmas story
05:44 | Christmas details—Caesar and his census
08:31 | Christmas details—“no room in the inn”
10:37 | Christmas details—swaddling clothes
12:06 | Christmas details—laid in a manger
13:36 | Christmas details—shepherds as first witnesses
15:47 | Christmas details—“do not be afraid”
18:38 | Christmas details—“heavenly host” of angels
23:47 | Why did God come as a baby?
25:16 | Listener question
26:43 | Join the WOF Institute

NOTE: Do you like this podcast? Become a patron and get some great perks for helping, like free books, bonus content, and more. Word on Fire is a non-profit ministry that depends on the support of our listeners…like you! So be part of this mission, and join us today!

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