Robert Barron | – Bishop Barron Presents Jessica Hooten Wilson: Conversations at the Crossroads

Friends, it is my pleasure to share the latest “Bishop Barron Presents” discussion, featuring literary and theological scholar Jessica Hooten Wilson. In our conversation, we discuss caring for the soul through human formation, focusing on topics such as:

– The humanities within education
– Flannery O’Connor
– Dostoevsky
– Walker Percy
– And numerous other aspects of personal and societal development and integration

Stay tuned for future “Bishop Barron Presents” conversations. These intellectually invigorating discussions feature varying religious and political perspectives to encourage greater understanding and civility.


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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 (48)

  1. Jessica was so bright, engaging, and insightful! Love to take a class from her. Fun to see Bishop Barron and Jessica get so excited and animated over such challenging authors. Time for me to discover the writings of Flannery O’Connor.

  2. It’s a conversation. But why is it so hard today? Why do we even need to discuss this? I have a degree in engineering. Minor social science and math. The humanities were engrained in me via Catholic school K-12. Why do people need to be told this today?

  3. Really excellent discussion. It helped me articulate the unease I have with the idea of "safety" above all else, which has been with us since the idea of the helicopter parent, and was given a boost during the pandemic. It's that sense of being above the suffering and wanting to "solve" it by any means necessary, which of course leads, as O'Connor says, to the death camps. Humans disconnected from God will do anything and everything to pretend to be God in order to create a heaven on earth. It's the doom of utopian thinking. We'll find scapegoats to blame (when we already have the ultimate and final scapegoat in Jesus) and unleash evil upon them all in the name of good.

    At any rate, thanks for this discussion!

  4. We are all human, linked by the fact we are created by God for God. This conversation should have been filmed in the Capital building in Washington DC in front of all Congress. Our politicians have become brutish and many of their constituents have forgotten most if not all of the points discussed.

  5. I was a student of Humanities and Science in preparation for Medicine. And I studied Psychiatry specializing in Child Psychiatry during which I studied with Psychologists as well. I am sure my thoughts here count.

  6. Having been raised in a Catholic home and studied in Catholic Schools from Elementary School through High School and also at a Catholic University I find that my departure from that to the North American post graduate training has led me to neglect getting richer in Faith. I think it is a great mistake. Not all people are equipped to identify when they are following the wrong path.

  7. In what capacity of religion will I continue to serve God? What saint will I imitate? God knows the length of time I have left on this earth. May my focus stay on God for guidance and strength. I pray, ABBA-Father “may your will be done”. AMEN Thank you

  8. Love the unlovable and forgive the unforgivable, Mother Teresa, I think. My father was confirmed by Reinhold Niebuhr who served as pastor of Bethel Evangelical Church in Detroit from 1915 to 1928. After Dad was confirmed, he never again went to church because of too many questions his pastor raised..

  9. I always look back at the big picture not the small picture because the big picture is what really is what taking place we're here for a short period of time that is the number one absolute absolute number one short period of time during that short period of time if you try to figure out what God has planned you're wasting your time number two if you truly believe in God and what he has in store everything that takes place here the meaning is for his understanding only we certainly don't have a clue and I truly believe it may be centuries before we do understanding the moral aspects of what we should be doing once we evaluate what's going on and taking consideration the number one thing life is important not say that everything else is irrelevant but for the short period of time we're here believing in the Catholic faith to the best of our abilities allows us to have the free will to make choices once we understand what is truly bad if you don't understand what is truly not right or bad having a free will means absolutely nothing I asked myself that question constantly based on just a few things the youngster that is born for the most part unfortunately with a brain that doesn't function where will that child's free will be in life well that's got part of God's plan not for us to understand so I truly believe those of us that do understand and have the means of having free will are the ones challenged to do the right thing based upon that free will this is looking at the big picture in the long run I also asked that question when Jesus said to Peter about the rooster and him denying where was Peter's free will also in the event of Judas giving him up where was judas's free will so understanding the big picture it's very tricky I'm not saying that I truly do but I have stepped back many of times and looked at it from different angles and it would take way too long for me to describe what I see on this side over here right now but I threw at you was just a gist I also believe that what I'm saying here a lot of people also feel the exact same thing and they can't put it into words we are the fortunate ones but yet not so fortunate being able to understand compromise determine what is right and wrong and go from there for now God bless and made things get better in the world

  10. Wow, this woman is sharp. I’ve been continually winding back at different points to re-hear what His Excellency and his guest are saying. The whole topic of grace, love, and the interpretations of (and by) Flannery O’Conner and Dostoevsky (the latter of which, The Bros. Karamazov, I really need to read) is really captivating.

  11. Thanks to Jessica Hooten Wilson for bringing this literary perspective to life, virtue and theology. I appreciate that Bishop Barron further connected the bible and literature. Bishop Barron has encouraged women to participate in his forums which is so important to confirm that we are part of the church!

  12. Part of the issue is that the humanities are, in certain fields, absolutely insane these days. Proper philosophical thought is wonderful – polemic things like gender studies and other like courses necessarily subtract from the legitimacy of humanities as a whole.

  13. Yes, Jessica is quite charming! Thanks for the insightful video! However, this video does seem a little dualistic, black and white thinking, and seems to ignore the fact people can become self actualized. When self actualized, dualistic opposites combine into a higher state of being when united. Thus, suffering can be brought into accord with love, and true happiness will be achieved. I believe that the blood of Christ is actually God's love combined with suffering to create an even greater good. In our dualistic universe it takes suffering to cause creativity and change. We know that we live in a controlled and very authoritarian society because our freedom is very reduced. When we stop having children and marriage, and in fact destroy life through abortion, then we know that our creativity is lost.

  14. Politicians who openly and publicly defy church teaching on Abortion should not be allowed to receive communion. There’s plenty of historical precedent for this. Someone whose has mass appeal to the public and openly not only defies church teaching but actively works to subvert it is in serious error and it’s a failure of the Bishops to do what is Pastoral in this case which is to deny communion them. How about that Democratic politician Ted Lieu who listed all of his positions which are clearly against Church teaching and then daring the Bishops to deny communion?? Seriously. His sense of entitlement is extraordinary and these guys aren’t going to even remotely listen up unless you all take a stance instead of being pushovers. Like why have Church teaching if anyone can defy it not only privately but publicly. To have the positions they do and receive communion is to eat and drink judgment upon themselves. By NOT banning them from communion you further jeopardize there souls and show the world you all don’t really mean what you preach. It’s all talk, nothing else. Do the right thing and take a public stance with consequences against these politicians.

  15. Jessica, your description (time~43 min) of an author such as Flannery O'Connor taking the reader down to hell and then to purgatory and then ultimately to Heaven, likens to the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius

  16. Believing that only a true Christian can have happiness is a dualism belief, and reminiscent of the Puritans, and the christian right, who believe that the poor must be out of God's favour, and have done something wrong. This belief system allows them to ignore the plight of the poor because suffering will cause them to change.

  17. Peace be with you,
    In the day of judgement, the Christian and Muslim will standup for trial. This is a snapshot of the trial.

    And [beware the Day] when Allah will say, "O Jesus, Son of Mary, did you say to the people, 'Take me and my mother as deities besides Allah?'" He will say, "Exalted are You! It was not for me to say that to which I have no right. If I had said it, You would have known it. You know what is within myself, and I do not know what is within Yourself. It is You who has absolute knowledge of the unseen.
    (The Quran 05:116)

    Christian friend's core belief is that Jesus is God yet they dont have one verse where Jesus says I am God worship me. God had all the time to write stories after stories but didnt have the time to say I am God worship me.

  18. Excellent Dialogue with Christian Themes only….
    How will you celebrate the Diversity in the world???

    Need to engage in Dialogue with People who don't follow Christian ideology per se…..

    You talk abstraction….

    U. S. A. Is through and through Spiritual…

    But how will you repay the Slavery that existed before and is extremely inherent in the Racist approach you show in the contemporary days???

  19. Burning churches down Bishop – You Bishops better figure this out!!! Is that a sign for you? I’ll keep the pressure up, sad – you all keep focusing on Biden’s communion, but whatever… We all are judged!!!

  20. Turning off comments on your other video regarding “Dialogue” on abortion is ironic and insulting. Honest opinion, you may be willing to compromise on abortion but ask yourself this. If Jesus Christ came back today, would He be willing to compromise? Would He be happy with your willingness to compromise? Would He be happy with constant dialogue and philosophizing? Or perhaps, would He be happy if those who are the enemies of the weakest and most innocent were excommunicated from His Church until they repent of their sins, make restitution for their public scandal, and go to Confession before being welcomed back in. It would not even bother me if we held a parade for every repentant politician. But the response of the Episcopacy is really hard on my faith and I already sometimes struggle on my own.