Fr Robert Barron finds God in unexpected places

Back in 2007, a Catholic priest from Chicago uploaded a video on YouTube – not about social issues, church scandals, or religious observances, but about Martin Scorsese’s film The Departed.

“Evil cannot be fought on its own terms,” Fr. Barron said, riffing on Jack Nicholson’s character. “You fight fire with fire, the world becomes hotter. You meet violence with violence, you just get more violence. Go back to Goodfellas, go back to Mean Streets, his really great movies, you’ll see that motif played out over and over again.”

It was the first of many video commentaries from Fr. Barron’s Word on Fire, a nonprofit global ministry that has quickly become the new face of Catholicism in the culture.

Armed with social media, highly produced documentaries, and a steady torrent of article and video commentary, Fr. Barron and his team are marrying philosophical depth with what’s trending, excavating truth, goodness, and beauty everywhere they turn.

The approach has caught on: Darren Aronofsky praised Fr. Barron’s review of his film Noah over Twitter; his YouTube channel has raked in over 12 million views; and a series of videos on the music of Bob Dylan so impressed one young nineteen year old that it brought him to the doorstep of the Church.

“Up came one of your videos,” the teenager wrote to him. “It came up, and I saw the Roman collar, and I just wanted to close the window. But I watched it, and I liked it and so I watched another one of your Bob Dylan commentaries, and then a third one. That led me to lots of your other videos and that led me back to your website, and then I got drawn into it…now I am in the RCIA program.” Continue reading


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