Robert Barron (bishop)

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The Most Reverend
Robert Barron
Auxiliary Bishop of Los Angeles
Titular Bishop of Macriana
Father Robert Barron.jpg
Other posts
Ordination May 24, 1986
by Joseph Bernardin
Consecration September 8, 2015
by José Horacio Gómez, Joseph M. Sartoris, and Blase J. Cupich
Personal details
Birth name Robert Emmet Barron
Born (1959-11-19) November 19, 1959 (age 56)
Chicago, Illinois
Previous post
Alma mater
Motto Non nisi te Domine
("Nothing but you, Lord")
Styles of
Robert E. Barron
Coat of arms of Robert E. Barron.svg
Reference style The Most Reverend
Spoken style Your Excellency
Religious style His Excellency

Robert Emmet Barron (born November 19, 1959) is a prelate of the Catholic Church, author, scholar and Catholic evangelist, known for his Word on Fire ministry. He serves as auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. Previously, he served as Rector of Mundelein Seminary in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago.


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.[1] 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.[2]


Barron discovered Thomas Aquinas, the medieval philosopher and theologian, when he was a freshman in high school.[3] He transferred to Benet Academy and graduated from that high school in 1978.[4] He was ordained in May 1986. He earned 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 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 was the Francis Cardinal George Professor of Faith and Culture at University of St. Mary of the Lake near Chicago until his installation as auxiliary bishop. Barron lectured 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. The late 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[5] 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 had 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.[6] 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.[7][8]

On September 8, 2015, Barron was ordained as an auxiliary bishop for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels by Archbishop José H. Gomez.[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, 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 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; July 2015
  • Seeds of the Word: Finding God in the Culture; March 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
  • Catholicism, 2011
  • Catholicism: The New Evangelization, 2013
  • Priest, Prophet, King, 2014
  • The Mystery of God, 2015


His DVDs are aired on CatholicTV, EWTN, Telecare, NET TV, and Salt + Light Television.

He filmed a 10-part documentary, The Catholicism Project, filmed in 16 countries, which aired on nearly every public television station in America 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.


Barron's radio show, also called Word on Fire, is heard on Sunday nights in the United States at 7:00 pm on Relevant Radio.

Honors and awards[edit]

See also[edit]


External links[edit]

Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Auxiliary Bishop of Los Angeles
Succeeded by