Robert Barron (priest)

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Robert Barron
Father Robert Barron.jpg
Religion Roman Catholic
Nationality American
Born (1959-11-19) November 19, 1959 (age 55)
Chicago, United States
Senior posting
Based in Archdiocese of Chicago
Title Bishop-Elect
Religious career
Ordination May 1986
Present post Rector of Mundelein Seminary

Robert Barron (born November 19, 1959) is a Catholic priest in the Archdiocese of Chicago and Auxiliary Bishop-elect of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. On May 11, 2012, Barron was appointed President/Rector of Mundelein Seminary/University of Saint Mary of the Lake by Francis Cardinal George, a role he assumed in July 2012.[1] He is also an author, scholar and Catholic evangelist. On July 21, 2015 Barron was appointed by Pope Francis to be a new auxiliary bishop for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.


Early life[edit]

Robert Barron was born November 19, 1959 in Chicago. 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 a food distributor.[2] 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.[3]


See also: Paul Tillich

Father Robert Barron discovered Thomas Aquinas, the medieval philosopher and theologian, when he was a freshman in high school.[4] He transferred to Benet Academy and graduated from that high school in 1978.[5] He was ordained in May 1986. He performed his M.A. at Catholic University of America, where he had been awarded the prestigious Basselin Scholarship in philosophy and public speaking, in philosophy. His thesis was "Production and the Political Animal in the Writings of Karl Marx", and his advisor was Daniel Dahlstrom. He is a Doctor of Sacred Theology under the pontifical system from the Institut Catholique de Paris in 1992. His thesis was "Creation as Discipleship: A Study of the De potentia of Thomas Aquinas in Light of the Dogmatik of Paul Tillich" which was published by the Edwin Mellen Press in 1993. His advisor was Michel Corbin.

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

Ordination and ministry[edit]

Ordained in 1986, Barron is the Francis Cardinal George Professor of Faith and Culture at University of St. Mary of the Lake near Chicago. Barron lectures extensively in the United States and abroad, including the Pontifical North American College at the Vatican and the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas in Rome. Cardinal George called Barron “one of the Church’s best messengers.”

Barron served as associate pastor at St. Paul of the Cross parish in Park Ridge, Illinois from 1986-1989. He is a prominent theologian. Since 1992 he is the Professor of Systematic Theology at University of St. Mary of the Lake. In 2002 he was a visiting professor at the University of Notre Dame[6] and at the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas in 2007. He was also twice scholar in residence at the Pontifical North American College at the Vatican in 2007 and 2010.


On July 21, 2015, it was announced by the Holy See that Pope Francis has appointed Barron to be 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.[7] 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, cardinals George and Bernardin, especially since his appointment as rector and president of the seminary.[8][9]


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, 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.

Barron lectures extensively in the United States and abroad 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 in London and The Catholic New World. His lectures have also been featured in multiple titles distributed through Lighthouse Catholic Media[10]


  • Exploring Catholic Theology; 2015
  • Catholicism; 2011
  • Eucharist; 2008
  • Word on Fire: Proclaiming the Power of Christ; 2008
  • The Priority of Christ: Toward a Post-Liberal Catholicism; June 2007
  • Bridging the Great Divide: Musings of a Post-Liberal, Post-Conservative, Evangelical Catholic; 2004
  • The Strangest Way: Walking the Christian Path; 2002
  • Heaven in Stone and Glass; 2000
  • And Now I See: A Theology of Transformation; 1998
  • Thomas Aquinas: Spiritual Master; 1996
  • A Study of the De potentia of Thomas Aquinas in Light of the Dogmatik of Paul Tillich; 1993


  • Untold Blessings: The Three Paths of Holiness, July 2005
  • Conversion to Christ, 2006
  • Faith Clips, 2007
  • Seven Deadly Sins, Seven Lively Virtues, 2007
  • Eucharist, 2009


His DVDs are aired on CatholicTV, the Eternal Word Television Network, NET TV, and Salt + Light Television.

He filmed a 10-part documentary, The Catholicism Project, (journeying to 16 countries to tell the story of the Church) which aired nearly every public television station in American beginning in 2011. A sequel was released in September 2013, 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 at 8:30 am Central.[11] Barron is the first priest since Archbishop Fulton Sheen in the 1950s to have a regular, national program on a commercial television network.


His radio show, also called "Word on Fire," is heard on Sunday nights at 7:00 pm on Relevant Radio.

Honors and awards[edit]


External links[edit]