Fr. Barron and “dialogue”

Some people say that the Church needs to evolve and appeal to the changing masses. I agree, but not in the way these individuals usually mean.

A few years ago, I came across the YouTube channel of Fr. Robert Barron, a Catholic priest, scholar, author, and cultural commentator. About fifteen years ago he launched Word on Fire, a ministry to support evangelism through a number of programs airing both over the air and on YouTube. Fr. Barron himself appears on both mediums and also periodically on cable shows.

I’ve become a big fan of Fr. Barron. Christian priests and laypeople have long weighed in on political and cultural issues; this is nothing new. C.S. Lewis, for example, was a regular broadcaster. The good Father’s presence on YouTube makes his work very accessible to the younger demographic. The internet offers an open platform for the dissemination of ideas on a scale that would have been unimaginable not too long ago. The other side has been quicker to adopt technology, for the most part.

Not only is he accessible, but Fr. Barron is very intelligent and well articulated. He’s quite fascinating to listen to, and he often offers easy to understand and relatively simple to explain arguments for God, for Christianity, and for the particulars of our beliefs. I especially enjoy his “Commentary” series.

He also doesn’t shy away from opposing beliefs or forces, but rather he tries to address them head on. This is something else I feel is lacking in our present Church leadership. We lack prominent defenders of the faith to correct the fallacies oh those public, small “c” Catholics like Nancy “abortion is sacred ground” Pelosi, Katherine Sebelius, Joe Biden, et all. There are a few American Catholic bishops who speak up against the heretics, but disappointingly few.

Here’s a video of Fr. Barron’s reaction to Obama’s The Audacity of Hope.

One theme that he touches upon quite often is how some people these days seem to exalt the concept of “dialogue.” We’re a civilized society, so when we disagree on something we should talk it over, yes? Not always, he rightly contends. If you believe in divine law and universal truth, then some things are evil, flat out. There can be no serious debate about the likes of slavery and abortion, for instance – they are wrong, period. Sure, you can try to reason with people who are honestly wrestling with a certain issue, but there can be no dialogue with those who enthusiastically sacrifice their children at the shine of Baal. And as the talkers talk, millions die.

In the article linked above, Fr. Barron reflects upon Obama’s invitation to Notre Dame in 2009 to receive an honorary degree. On this, he says:

“What I sensed in both Jenkins’s and Obama’s speeches was a sort of fetishism of dialogue, an excessive valorization of the second stage of the cognitional process. The conversation, they seemed to imply, should remain always open-ended, the dialogue on-going, decision or judgment permanently delayed. But dialogue is a means to an end; it is valuable in the measure that it conduces toward judgment. G.K. Chesterton said that the mind should remain open, but only so that it might, in time, chomp down on something nourishing. The Church has come to the considered judgment that abortion is morally objectionable and that Roe v. Wade is terrible law, as bad as the laws that once protected the practices of slavery and segregation in our country. To suggest, therefore, that a Catholic university is a place where dialogue on this matter is still a desideratum is as ludicrous as suggesting that a Catholic university should be the setting for a discussion of the merits of slavery and Jim Crow laws.”

Indeed, Father. Definitely worth a read, and I highly recommend you check out his YouTube channel, as well. His commentaries on current events and recent films and books are quite insightful.




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