Robert Barron | – Bishop Barron on His Theological Path

The story of Pope John Paul II’s reverence for the great theologian Henri de Lubac tells us a lot about the state of Catholic theology today and where we are in terms of many arguments going on in the Church. It also sheds light on the theological path that I’ve tried to walk with my work.

About The Author

Bishop Robert Barron These are brief and insightful commentaries on faith and culture by Catholic theologian and author Bishop Robert Barron. The videos complement his weekly sermons posted and podcasted at

Comment (49)

  1. An excellent précis of the connections between V2, NT, JPII and BXVI. It’s difficult to get recent history right, let alone current events in the church, and you are an invaluable guide, Fr. Barron. Thanks so much for all your good work!

  2. Magnifique! Bishop Barron displays his significant skills in the French language.

    We do need a better understanding each other in the Church and in society. Not everything is quickly reducible to simple labels like liberal and conservative. These are relativistic labels anyway. In the USA, I've seen liberals act like conservatives and conservatives act like liberals and no one seems to notice. We do need a larger middle ground and better understanding of unique, nuanced and specific points of view. We do need relief from the moral posturing of the too-quickly-outraged who too quickly presume and categorize and stop listening and understanding.

  3. Silenced before the Council by the great Pius XII, and up to his elbows in the Rhine countrys' hijacking of the Council… yeah, "persecuted by the conservative Church." Nuff said. That he ended up on the right wing of the Revolution is hardly a recommendation.

  4. Thank you for highlighting the "nouvelle théologie". Unfortunately, many social media heads use the terms believing that "new" means modernism. It does NOT! One may even call for a rethinking (dare I say, "a reform") of the nouvelle théologie since our current historical context has changed considerably since VII, but it should not be demonized as so often it is.
    I think of Pope Benedict's discourse on the 50th anniversary of VII when he recalled St John XXIII's famous discourse of the moon. He said how we still have the joy of VII, but with a certain degree of sobriety and humility. Clearly he was referencing the clerical abuse crisis, but I believe he was also addressing the reality of what StJPII called "the great apostasy". I think Pope Benedict has this right on all fronts.

  5. I love who you are Bishop Barron. Thank you for accepting your call. I swear I don’t want you to be so criticized. But there are times I just do not know who to believe. Such church problems but I believe in the Catholic teachings.

  6. This video and commentary confirms what we already know about Bishop Barron. During my rosary reflection I had an image of a tearing fabric and him being those threads that are in the middle keeping that fabric together. One interpretation could be that it's good to be what holds the fabric of the church together. The other interpretation is that those threads are attached in some form to (heretical apostate views) those liberal ones he not so firmly rejects. That's a problem. This ecumenism and dialogue are that crack that's letting in the confusion into the church.

  7. It seems reasonable to respect de Lubac. Do traditionalists, at least in the broad sense (not necessarily attendees of the EF mass) oppose reading the Church Fathers or the bible in favour of theological manuals, or do they recommend doing both? Most of the more "conservative" Catholics I know are interested in the Church Fathers and in personal bible study, at least in the form of Lectio Divina. I think what is probably going on is a synthesis of the likes of de Lubac into the broader stream of Catholic theology, with an uptake in the popularity of the old theological manuals. (As a layman, I particularly like the clarity of the old Moral Theology manuals, which have the excellent virtue of logical consistency and intelligibility.)

  8. I really appreciate you Bishop Barron, and I am dearly grateful to you for all you’ve done, but Thomism was clearly better. Look at the mess this has brought us. I will never go SSPX, I won’t say Vatican II was the smoke of Satan, that Pope Francis is an invalid Pope, but it and the Pope were definitely a door through which error, confusion, heresy, and the Amazon Synod came through. I feel like we tried the middle path. We’re tired. I’m sick of all of it. I’m a 26 year old Catholic, I’ve lived through three popes and in the course of those papacies I’ve seen the church go from one extreme to the other. I mean, my poor heart has been consoled by John Paul, taught by Benedict, and straight up beaten by Francis, out of nowhere, with a crow bar. I don’t agree with the SSPX, but I am tired of the modernism in the church. I am desperately sick of it, and I hunger deeply for clarity, sound doctrine, and truth even if it translates as rigidity or as closed mindedness. I just want my Lord back. I honestly never understood Mary Magdalene more. They took my Lord and I don’t know where they laid Him.” I can’t explain this in any other way other than that I am done with these modern ideas. I feel that the only was to fix this is to return to tradition. We need another Pope St. Pius X to come in with strength, resolve, and a deep love for God and His church. The church needs a purge, a hardcore one. I mean, I will never leave the church, like you say, it’s not the time to leave her but to fight for her, but the other day I stumbled upon a video of the Orthodox liturgy and my heart ached over the beauty and orthodoxy of it. How I longed for that to be in my beloved mother church again. Then, in my suggestions, I get a video about Pope Francis holding a pagan ceremony in the Vatican gardens! What the heck! Needless to say I felt more alone than ever.

  9. 6:23 why did we even get into a mess about “reading” the documents of Vatican II? Shouldn’t the documents have been clear and unambiguous? And if a “reading” of these documents conflicted with EARLIER councils/doctors/sacred tradition, shouldn’t they have been scrapped, instead of pretending nothing at all existed before Vatican II?
    I’m no theologian, but speaking from the trenches of parish life in the U.S.A. I see the smoking ruins of a Church, massive scandal, mass apostocy, horrible ugly churches, flat and deadening liturgy, terrible music, “Catholic” colleges identical to their secular counterpart…. and all this with the people in charge justifying everything they do in the name of the Vatican II documents and the men behind them.
    So I’m sorry, but I have very little to trust these documents, or the men behind them. I’m tired of them. They seem to have caused nothing but trouble.
    That’s my emotions, from the bottom of the Church.

  10. Bishop Barron, this is so helpful. It reminds me of not being able to agree with either the conservative or liberal positions politically here in the US. I am finding myself there as a Catholic as well, and I am beginning to see that the two extremes tried to "catch" me early on. Many have little use for those on the "communio" path (just as in politics). It might be that what makes this path narrow is that you are being squeezed between two sides. Peace, and thanks again.

  11. The attack on Pre-Conciliar Scholasticism is in large part responsible for the enormous misunderstanding of the Natural Law by faithful Catholics today. Many manualists provided clarity and doctrinally sound defenses of Catholic philosophy and theology in an increasingly schizophrenic and secular world darkened by the wiles of modernism. When the score is finally settled, "conservative" manualists such as Garrigou-Lagrange will emerge as some of the most heroic Catholics and the greatest Thomists of the 20th Century. I pray for the day that the mainstream culture recovers their argumentative genius for the sake of the salvation of souls.

  12. Your excellency, thank you for sharing your experience with the New theology or Communio. My experience has been very different. I experienced instead that with it, we lost the zeal for the Eternal Truth. I read many books of this "New theology", and in my opinion they miss represent the opinion of the fathers, many times turning the words of the fathers in an attempt to promote their errors. Other times they use historical criticism as a tool to try to shake the foundation of our Faith. Your excellency, you said that Benedict XVI forms part of these group of theologians, but it seems that you are forgetting that he had an intellectual trajectory. He started as one of these theologians but his zeal for The Truth and his openness for Truth brought him to a different category. And sincerely I think that Saint John Paul II had a similar trajectory. For they saw the confusion that was caused by 60s-70s revolution. God bless!

  13. Outstanding thank you for the explanation. I've often been buffeted by both extremes and didn't know how to navigate the storm. Now with your beacon on this I have a direction to steer towards safe-passage. Thank you.