Robert Barron

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Robert Barron
Auxiliary Bishop of Los Angeles
Bishop Barron - Wikipedia.jpg
Barron in 2018.
ChurchRoman Catholic Church
ArchdioceseLos Angeles
AppointedJuly 21, 2015
InstalledSeptember 8, 2015
Other post(s)Titular Bishop of Macriana in Mauretania (2015-)
OrdinationMay 24, 1986
by Joseph Bernardin
ConsecrationSeptember 8, 2015
Personal details
Birth nameRobert Emmet Barron
Born (1959-11-19) November 19, 1959 (age 61)
Chicago, Illinois, United States
Previous post(s)
Alma mater
  • Non Nisi Te Domine
  • (English: Nothing but you, Lord)
Coat of armsRobert Barron's coat of arms

Philosophy career
AwardsList of awards'
EraContemporary philosophy
RegionWestern philosophy
Nouvelle Theologie
Virtue ethics[1]
Main interests
Notable ideas
Styles of
Robert Emmet Barron
Coat of arms of Robert E. Barron.svg
Reference styleHis Excellency
Spoken styleYour Excellency
Religious styleBishop
Ordination history of
Robert Barron
Episcopal consecration
Consecrated byJosé Horacio Gómez
DateSeptember 8, 2015

Robert Emmet Barron (born November 19, 1959) is an American prelate of the Catholic Church serving as auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. He is the founder of the Catholic ministerial organization Word on Fire, and was the host of the TV series Catholicism, an award-winning documentary about the Catholic faith which aired on PBS. Previously, he served as rector at Mundelein Seminary in the Archdiocese of Chicago.

Barron has published numerous books, essays, and articles on theology and spirituality. He is a religion correspondent for NBC and has also appeared on Fox News, CNN, and EWTN. Barron's website,, is viewed by millions of people each year. As one of the world's most followed Catholics on social media, he has been informally called the "bishop of social media" and the "bishop of the Internet".[8][9] As of July 2020, his regular YouTube videos have been viewed over 50 million times; he has over 3 million followers on Facebook, 260,000 on Instagram, and 166,000 on Twitter.[10][11] In addition, has been invited to speak about religion at the headquarters of Amazon, Facebook, and Google. He has keynoted several conferences and events over the world, including the 2016 World Youth Day in Kraków, Poland, and the 2015 World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia, which marked Pope Francis's visit to the United States.

His 2016 film series, Catholicism: The Pivotal Players, debuting in September of that year, was syndicated for national television in the United States.

Barron is a proponent of Hans Urs von Balthasar's “dare we hope” theory, declaring there is "objective ground" for a "hope that all men may be saved".[12]

Early life[edit]

Robert Emmet Barron was born on November 19, 1959, in Chicago. He is of Irish descent. He spent his childhood first in Detroit, then in the Chicago suburb of Western Springs. His mother was a homemaker, and his father, who died in 1987, was a national sales manager for John Sexton & Company, a national food distributor.[13][14] He has a sister and a brother, John Barron, who is the Sun-Times Media Group's publisher and senior vice-president of news and editorial operations.[15]


Barron discovered the teaching of St. Thomas Aquinas when he was a freshman at Fenwick High School, a private Dominican high school.[16][17] Aquinas's teaching was formative for Barron and continues to be influential in his theology. He transferred to Benet Academy, a private Benedictine high school, where he graduated in 1977.[18]

Barron attended the University of Notre Dame for a year before transferring to Mundelein Seminary in Chicago. One year later, he was accepted as a Basselin Scholar at the School of Theology of the Catholic University of America, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts in philosophy in 1981 and a Master of Arts in philosophy in 1982; his master's thesis was on the political philosophy of Karl Marx. Barron earned a Licentiate of Sacred Theology from Mundelein Seminary in 1986 and was ordained on May 24, 1986, by Cardinal Joseph Bernardin.

After serving as an associate pastor of St. Paul of the Cross Catholic Church in Park Ridge from 1986 to 1989, he was sent to France and earned a Doctor of Sacred Theology at the Institut Catholique de Paris in 1992. His dissertation was titled "Creation as Discipleship: A Study of the De potentia of Thomas Aquinas in Light of the Dogmatik of Paul Tillich".

In addition to his native English, Barron is also fluent in French, Spanish, German, and Latin.

Priestly ministry[edit]

From 1992 until 2015, Barron was a professor of systematic theology at University of St. Mary of the Lake, where he was also named the inaugural Francis Cardinal George Professor of Faith and Culture in 2008.[19] He also served as president-rector from 2012 to 2015.

He lectured extensively in the United States and internationally, including the Pontifical North American College and the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas in Rome. The late Cardinal Francis George called Barron "one of the Church's best messengers".[citation needed]

He started his Word On Fire platform in the year 2000.

In 2002 he was a visiting professor at the University of Notre Dame[20] and at the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas in 2007. He was also twice scholar in residence at the Pontifical North American College in Rome, in 2007 and 2010.


On July 21, 2015, Pope Francis appointed Barron an auxiliary bishop in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles and titular Bishop of Macriana in Mauritania. Archbishop Gomez of Los Angeles gave each of the three forthcoming auxiliary bishops pectoral crosses modeled after the one Pope Francis wears, noting that Barron's media talent and rapport with young people, as well as his outreach to other faiths and to the world of culture (including with non-believers and non-practicing or fallen away Catholics) and education, would be good for the archdiocese.[21] Archbishop Cupich said he would be of great benefit to the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, citing his work with Word on Fire, his doctoral training in theology and parish service in Chicago, his social media presence, and his administrative service to him and his two predecessors, Cardinal George and Cardinal Bernardin, especially since his appointment as rector and president of the seminary.[22]

On September 8, 2015, Barron was consecrated as an auxiliary bishop for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels by Archbishop José H. Gomez.[23]

Media works[edit]

In 2000, Barron launched Word on Fire Catholic Ministries, a non-profit organization, that supports his evangelistic endeavors. Word on Fire programs, featuring Barron, have been broadcast regularly on WGN America, EWTN, Telecare, Relevant Radio and the Word on Fire YouTube Channel. Barron's Word on Fire website offers daily blogs, articles, commentaries and over ten years of weekly sermon podcasts. In September 2015, Barron and Word on Fire content director Brandon Vogt started a weekly podcast called The Word on Fire Show.

Barron lectures extensively in the United States and internationally and he has published numerous books, essays and DVD programs. He is a frequent commentator on faith and culture for The Chicago Tribune, NBC Nightly News, Fox News Channel, Our Sunday Visitor, the Catholic Herald (London, UK) and The Catholic New World.


Barron's website reaches millions of people each year. The site hosts daily blog posts, weekly articles and video commentaries, and an extensive audio archive of over 500 homilies. His homilies are heard by tens of thousands of listeners each week, and over 400,000 people receive his daily email reflections.

Barron is one of the most-followed Catholics in the world on social media. His work has garnered:

  • 3.1 million+ Facebook followers[24]
  • 449,000+ YouTube subscribers[25]
  • 338,000+ Instagram followers[26]
  • 181,000+ Twitter followers[27]


Barron has produced over 400 online video commentaries, which have attracted over 84 million views. His weekly, high-quality productions include brief and lively theological reviews of contemporary culture, including movies, books, music, current events, and more.


Barron's videos are aired on CatholicTV, EWTN, Telecare, NET TV, and Salt + Light Television.

He created a 10-part documentary, Catholicism, filmed in 16 countries, which aired on nearly every public television station in America beginning in 2011. A sequel was released in September 2013, titled Catholicism: The New Evangelization.

In October 2010, he began presenting a half-hour television show, Word on Fire with Father Barron, on WGN America on Sundays.[28] Barron is the first priest since Archbishop Fulton Sheen in the 1950s to have a regular national program on a commercial television network.


Barron produces a weekly conversational podcast on faith and culture titled The Word on Fire Show which has been downloaded over ten million times. His weekly homilies and podcasts air on multiple radio stations to millions of listeners.


  • A Study of the De potentia of Thomas Aquinas in Light of the Dogmatik of Paul Tillich (1993)
  • Thomas Aquinas: Spiritual Master (1996)
  • And Now I See: A Theology of Transformation (1998)
  • Heaven in Stone and Glass (2000)
  • The Strangest Way: Walking the Christian Path (2002)
  • Bridging the Great Divide: Musings of a Post-Liberal, Post-Conservative, Evangelical Catholic (2004)
  • The Priority of Christ: Toward a Post-Liberal Catholicism (2007)
  • Word on Fire: Proclaiming the Power of Christ (2008)
  • Eucharist (2008)
  • Catholicism (2011)
  • Seeds of the Word: Finding God in the Culture (2015)
  • 2 Samuel (2015)
  • Exploring Catholic Theology (2015)
  • Vibrant Paradoxes: The Both/And of Catholicism (2016)
  • To Light a Fire on the Earth: Proclaiming the Gospel in a Secular Age (2017) [29]
  • Arguing Religion (2018)[30]
  • Letter to a Suffering Church: A Bishop Speaks on the Sexual Abuse Crisis (2019)[31]
  • Centered: The Spirituality of Word on Fire (2020)
  • The Pivotal Players: 12 Heroes Who Shaped the Church and Changed the World (2020)
  • Renewing Our Hope: Essays for the New Evangelization (2020)
  • The Rosary with Bishop Robert Barron (2021)
  • Light from Light: A Theological Reflection on the Nicene Creed (2021)


  • Untold Blessings The Three Paths of Holiness (2005)
  • Conversion (2006)
  • Faith Clips (2007)
  • Seven Deadly Sins, Seven Lively Virtues (2007)
  • Eucharist (2009)
  • Catholicism (2011)
  • Catholicism: The New Evangelization (2013)
  • Priest, Prophet, King (2014)
  • The Mystery of God (2015)
  • Catholicism: The Pivotal Players Volume I (2016)
  • David the King (2017)
  • The Mass (2018)
  • Catholicism: The Pivotal Players St. Augustine & St. Benedict (2018)
  • Catholicism: The Pivotal Players Fulton Sheen & Flannery O'Connor (2019)
  • The Sacraments (2020)
  • The Creed (2021)





  • 2015: Fisher's Net Award for Best Overall and for Best Social Media Presence[32]
  • 2012: Relevant Radio Christ Brings Hope Award
  • 2003: Catholic Press Association Book Award: The Strangest Way: Walking the Christian Path
  • 1998: Catholic Press Association Journalism Award: Best Article - Clergy, Religious, "The Uncanny God"
  • 1997: Catholic Press Association Book Award: Thomas Aquinas: Spiritual Master
  • 1995: Catholic Press Association Journalism Award: Best Article - Professional and Special Interest, "Priest as Bearer of the Mystery"

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Barron, Robert (June 21, 2018). "Bishop Barron on Pope Francis and Virtue Ethics". YouTube. Retrieved December 27, 2019.
  2. ^ Barron, Robert (October 16, 2019). "Bishop Barron at the Grave of C.S. Lewis". YouTube. Retrieved December 27, 2019.
  3. ^ Barron, Robert (September 24, 2016). "Word on Fire 035: Understanding Dante's "Divine Comedy"". Spotify. Retrieved December 27, 2019.
  4. ^ Barron, Robert (October 16, 2019). "Bishop Barron at the Grave of J.R.R. Tolkien". YouTube. Retrieved December 27, 2019.
  5. ^ Barron, Robert (June 11, 2019). "Bishop Barron on Pope Francis, Tradition, and John Henry Newman". YouTube. Retrieved December 27, 2019.
  6. ^ Barron, Robert (January 21, 2016). "Bishop Barron on René Girard". YouTube. Retrieved February 3, 2020.
  7. ^ Barron, Robert (October 3, 2019). "Bishop Barron on His Theological Path". YouTube. Retrieved December 27, 2019.
  8. ^ Mastrangelo, Dominick (January 22, 2019). "'Bishop of the Internet': Backlash against Covington Catholic students 'literally, Satanic'". Washington Examiner. Retrieved December 27, 2019.
  9. ^ Barron, Robert (January 22, 2019). "Bishop Barron on the internet and Satan's game". Aleteia. Retrieved December 27, 2019.
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^ ""Dare We Hope?" FAQ page".
  13. ^ Bertagnoli, Lisa (September 27, 2010). "Priest's pulpit: blogs, YouTube". Crain's Chicago Business. Retrieved December 27, 2019.
  14. ^ "Obituary: John C. Barron". Chicago Tribune. May 7, 1987. Retrieved December 27, 2019.
  15. ^ "John Barron named Sun-Times Media Group Publisher". The Huffington Post. November 20, 2009. Archived from the original on November 21, 2009. Retrieved December 27, 2019.
  16. ^ Mixa, Robert (July 21, 2015). "Fr. Robert Barron named Auxiliary Bishop of Los Angeles". University of Saint Mary of the Lake. Retrieved December 27, 2019.
  17. ^ Osuna, Traci (June 7, 2010). "Age Old Values Spread Through Modern Technology: An Interview with Father Robert Barron". Zenit News Agency. Retrieved December 27, 2019.
  18. ^ "Father Robert Barron '77 Appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Los Angeles". Benet Academy. Retrieved December 27, 2019.
  19. ^ Murphy, Francesca Aran (September 24, 2015). The Oxford Handbook of Christology. OUP Oxford. p. 11. ISBN 978-0-19-106167-7.
  20. ^ "Father Robert Barron - Curriculum Vitae". St.Paul Center for Biblical Theology. October 4, 2008. Archived from the original on January 31, 2016.
  21. ^ Long-García, J. D. (July 22, 2015). "The story behind the new LA bishops' pectoral crosses". Catholic News Agency. Retrieved December 27, 2019.
  22. ^ "Archbishop Cupich Congratulates Bishop-elect Robert Barron on his Appointment to the Archdiocese of Los Angeles" (Press release). Archdiocese of Chicago. July 21, 2015. Archived from the original on July 24, 2015.
  23. ^ Long-García, J. D. (September 9, 2015). "Three new auxiliary bishops ordained for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles". Angelus News. Archived from the original on September 24, 2015. Retrieved September 9, 2015.
  24. ^ "Bishop Robert Barron". Facebook. Retrieved December 27, 2019.
  25. ^ "Bishop Robert Barron". YouTube. Retrieved December 2, 2020.
  26. ^ "Bishop Robert Barron (@bishopbarron) • Instagram photos and videos". Retrieved December 2, 2020.
  27. ^ "Bishop Robert Barron (@BishopBarron)". Twitter. Retrieved December 27, 2019.
  28. ^ "Catholic Priest Father Robert Barron set to Launch Nationwide Television Program in October". PRWeb. September 13, 2010. Retrieved December 27, 2019.
  29. ^ Barron, Robert. ""To Light a Fire on the Earth" by Bishop Robert Barron with John Allen, Jr". Retrieved December 27, 2019.
  30. ^ Barron, Robert. "New Book! "Arguing Religion: A Bishop Speaks at Facebook and Google"". Retrieved May 13, 2019.
  31. ^ Barron, Robert. "Letter to a Suffering Church: A Bishop Speaks on the Sexual Abuse Crisis". Retrieved May 13, 2019.
  32. ^ "Award Winners". Fisher's Net Awards. December 8, 2015. Retrieved September 12, 2016.

External links[edit]

Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Auxiliary Bishop of Los Angeles
Academic offices
Preceded by
Dennis J. Lyle
President-Rector of University of Saint Mary of the Lake-Mundelein Seminary
Succeeded by
John Kartje