Tag Archives: Father Robert Barron

What I took away from the Rediscover: event

October 17, 2013

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Father Robert Barron at the Rediscover: Catholic Celebration. (Dianne Towalski/The Catholic Spirit)

Father Robert Barron at the Rediscover: Catholic Celebration. (Dianne Towalski/The Catholic Spirit)

I left the Rediscover: event at the Saint Paul RiverCentre on Saturday with fresh encouragement to take my faith to the next level. Matthew Kelly challenged all 5,000 of us by asking whether the would be a life-changing day or just another day? “It’s up to you,” he said. “You decide.”

George Weigel urged us to take our baptism much more seriously. The world needs us, he said. “We are on a battlefield and the walking wounded are all around us.” He called this “mission territory,” and said it has never been more important that we fulfill the great commission to spread the Good News.

Father Robert Barron capped the day with practical suggestions for all us modern-day evangelists. Bringing a little notebook with me to the event, I wrote the suggestions down, and am delighted to share them here, in case you weren’t there on Oct. 12:

Lead with beauty to get to goodness and truth. Father said it is rare to win someone over with arguments about goodness or truth. Secular culture has relativized goodness and truth to the point where people have trouble agreeing on what is good and what is true. But most of us can recognize beauty. And the Church has so much beautiful music, architecture, art, etc., to share. A person might become more disposed to accepting goodness and truth if they have been prepared by common admiration of true beauty.

Don’t dumb down the faith. Father Barron said we have hurt ourselves by reducing the message of Vatican II to “banners and balloons.” Noting the rich intellectual tradition of the Church, Fr. Barron said we need smart explanations of the faith to counter the arguments against God and Church coming from the secular world, which is largely well-educated.

Preach with ‘ardor.’ That’s an easy one to understand. Who would you rather listen to: a dull speaker or an exciting speaker? Of course, we all prefer the exciting speaker. People can hear the passion in your voice; let it come through when you are talking about your faith.

Tell the great story. Explain that Jesus Christ was crucified and rose from the dead in the climactic story of the Bible. This is THE good news. All the stories in the Bible – creation, the fall, the formation of the people of Israel, the life of Christ, the early Church – are part of the Great Story. And the story doesn’t end with the Bible. We are part of the story, too! “Teach the Bible,” Father Barron said.

Emphasize the Augustinian anthropology. Father unpacked that one for us. What he means is that St. Augustine said, “Lord, you have made us for yourself, therefore our hearts are restless until it rests in Thee.” Because of the way God made us, we all have a void in our lives that only can be filled by God. We mistakenly try to fill the void with things like wealth, pleasure, power and honor, but everything leaves us wanting. This is a belief shared by some of our most famous modern-day philosophers – Mick Jagger said, “I can’t get no satisfaction;” U2 sings, “I still haven’t found what I’m looking for,” and Bruce Springsteen has a song called “Everyone Has a Hungry Heart.”

Stress the Irenaeus doctrine of God. St. Irenaeus taught that God does not need us. This is great news because it means that God does not give us things and do things for us to get anything back from us. The only reason He does anything for us is because He loves us.

Any one of these tips can make us better evangelists. There’s a lot of work to do, so let’s get to work!

Blog author Tom Bengtson is a local small business owner and writer. You can contact Bengtson by visiting his website

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Now we know why TPT won’t air “Catholicism” in the Twin Cities

October 11, 2011

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A couple weeks ago, I asked why TPT wasn’t following the lead of other PBS affiliates in broadcasting the highly-acclaimed series “Catholicism” by Father Robert Barron.

Now we know why.

Here’s the full response to one of our blog readers (emphasis mine):

Here is the response I received from TPT today:

Dear [removed],
Thank you for your email inquiring about the program Catholicism.

After careful review, tpt has declined to air the four-part series “Catholicism”, produced by Word on Fire Catholic Ministries and Picture Show Films.

While the program is very well produced and interesting, it does not meet our long-standing requirement that programs carried by tpt be “non-commercial, non-partisan and non-sectarian”.

This standard is applied to all tpt programs: those provided by PBS and those (like the “Catholicism” series) coming from a non-PBS source.

While our programming policy does permit programming about religion and religious issues, the ‘non-sectarian’ requirement means we generally do not carry programs that express only a single religious point of view, or assert matters of religious faith as fact.

In addition, the stated purpose of the producer (Word on Fire Catholic Ministries) is to “reach millions of people to draw them into or back to the Catholic faith.” While tpt recognizes the importance of programming that brings understanding and illumination to matters such as religion, we do not believe the evangelical nature of this series is consistent with our standards.

Thank you again, for your interest in our programming.

Tom Holter
Executive Director, Programming

Obviously, this is disappointing news. Especially considering the 700,000 Catholics in the Twin Cities who would benefit from such a program. It’s also puzzling that other PBS affiliates do not share their timidity in providing their viewership with such an engaging and interesting program.

If you’d like to express your disappointment in their faint-hearted decision, you can contact them at viewerservices@tpt.org or http://www.tpt.org/?a=contactUs.

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Why won’t TPT air Father Barron’s “Catholicism” series? Help them change their mind.

September 23, 2011

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UPDATE: I received a direct response from TPT, which I’ve included at the bottom of this post. They’re going to “review” it, so please continue to contact them and show your interest in this series.


The highly anticipated and groundbreaking televisions series, Catholicism, is coming to TV screens this Fall – except in the Twin Cities. TPT (Twin Cities Public Television) claims the program isn’t on their broadcast schedule. It’s scheduled on other public television stations nationwide, but why not this market? No one knows. Considering the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis has 750,000 members, I find it odd they wouldn’t want to air something so critically acclaimed and relevant to the largest demographic in the region.

Please contact the Twin Cities Public Television programming department at viewerservices@tpt.org and – politely – request they review their decision and bring this culturally important TV series to the people of the Twin Cities.

You can watch the amazing trailer here…

YouTube Preview Image

UPDATE: I received an e-mail response from TPT. It’s worth noting that another blogger had contacted them before my original post and received the answer that they would not be showing the series. Perhaps you’re messages to them are having a positive effect. Please continue to show your support for this important program.

Dear Craig,
Thanks for contacting member supported tpt. We appreciate hearing from you regarding the program Catholicism. The series will be reviewed when it is sent to public television stations for screening on 9/28. We expect we would make a determination within a few weeks.

Thank you again, for your interest in viewing and supporting Public Television. Please let us know if you have any questions or concerns.

Regards,
{name removed}
Member Services

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