August 1, 2015


Pope Francis has chosen social media star Robert Barron for Los Angeles auxiliary bishop (Sarah Pulliam Bailey July 21, 2015, Washington Post)

Pope Francis has named Chicago priest Robert Barron one of three new assistant bishops of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, a move some insiders are calling noteworthy because of his wide social media presence.

Barron is well known among church-going Catholics, since his video series on Catholicism is regularly shown in churches across the U.S. His appointment is both surprising and not surprising, said James Martin, editor at large of America magazine.

"It's surprising because bishops aren't normally people who are so media savvy," Martin said. "But given his talent and profile, I thought this was just a matter of time."

We'd always liked his movie reviews and cultural commentary, but the Catholicism series is a tremendous sustained statement of the faith with A League production values.  It's Chesterton/Lewis-worthy and marked, in particular, by a tremendous generosity of spirit.  Father Barron's is a religion of love.

New Video Series Contemplates the "Mystery of God" (MATTHEW BECKLO, 7/31/15, Aleteia)

 Merton wrote. ]"I had never had an adequate notion of what Christians meant by God."
The problem is a familiar one to Fr. Robert Barron, the YouTube evangelist and recently elected auxiliary bishop of Los Angeles. What is (and what isn't) the 'God' of Christianity? How do we know? Arguments about God's existence and non-existence all seem to hinge on a more critical question: namely, what is it we're all talking about when we talk about God?
This recurring theme of Fr. Barron's ministry has culminated in a six-part video series titled "The Mystery of God: Who God Is and Why He Matters," which puts the enigma of the meaning of "God" front and center.
The first talk, "Atheism and What We Mean By 'God'," is a longer, more polished video in keeping with Word on Fire's minimalist aesthetic. With typically deft and sweeping insights, Fr. Barron brings us from Christopher Hitchens back to the great giants of modern unbelief, most notably Feuerbach. The upshot is this: when any of these atheists recasts God as the ruler of a kind of "celestial dictatorship," scaling back human freedom or demanding credit for this or that natural process, they pivot on a "Yeti theory of God," which thinks of God as a kind of supreme being that's either "out there" in the universe or not.
You can hardly blame them. Christians everywhere loudly profess the God atheists are busy deconstructing. But there is a lively classical alternative to this false dilemma, one that continues to revolutionize the way people approach the question to begin with. Drawing on Augustine, Aquinas, and other giants of Catholic theology, Fr. Barron returns to the notion that flipped a switch in Merton's mind all those years ago: ipsum esse, the infinite wellspring of the universe that, to borrow from Gilson, lies "beyond all sensible images, and all conceptual determinations... the absolute act of being in its pure actuality."
That wellspring is not a problem for us to solve, but a mystery in which "we live and move and have our being." 

Posted by at August 1, 2015 9:18 AM

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