Bishop Barron: Church's “turf wars” makes Catholicism unattractive

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Robert Barron is bishop of Winona-Rochester in Minnesota, but each year he reaches millions through his Catholic media ministry. Word on Fire, produces podcasts, videos, books, and more to evangelize through engaging content on goodness, truth, and beauty. 

In just two weeks, his more than hour-long interview to discuss Shia LeBeouf's conversion story to Catholicism has received more than 1.5 million views on YouTube. In it, the actor highlighted the role which the Latin Mass played in his conversion.

Founder, Word on Fire Catholic Ministries
When I sat down with him, the story I wanted to tell, I knew this great story of grace, and conversion, how the Capuchin friars had a big impact on him, so I wanted to emphasize all of that, and indeed that's what about 92% of the interview is about. He did mention the Latin Mass, and I had no idea he was going to. I just simply asked him, oh tell me about that, how did that affect you? So I let him tell me and tell the world.

Bishop Barron's interview has sparked discussion among Catholics as to what role should the liturgical form restricted by Pope Francis last year have in the life of the Church. Yet the Bishop himself says his ministry aims to go beyond those conversations to share the richness of the Faith.

Founder, Word on Fire Catholic Ministries
I've tried to say, here's the core and the essence of this very smart and very beautiful tradition and I want to share it with you. So we've kind of purposefully avoided getting into the back and forth and the civil wars within the Church. I want to occupy the space, and I've been upfront about it, of Vatican II as interpreted by teh great post-conciliar popes, Paul VI up to Francis, the catechism of 1992, that's what I'm for, and I want to speak out of the power of that tradition.

The Bishop says that his role in Word on Fire is that of an “evangelizer,” and so he seeks to present an attractive face of the Church, rather than falling into the debates that may pin Catholics against one another.

Founder, Word on Fire Catholic Ministries
I think the turf wars within the Church are so evangelically uncompelling, let's say someone comes from the outside on to a website to see let's see what these Catholics are all about, and all they hear is that we're bickering with each other. That's uncompelling evangelically, so we've always tried to avoid that.

Bishop Barron was in Rome to give a presentation to the Pontifical Academy of the Sciences. Although he was meant to travel to the UK to speak at the British parliament, his plans changed after the Queen's death, though he says it is a journey he is keen on making soon.


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