Robert Barron | – Catholicism and Politics

Friends, with the presidential election around the corner, Brandon Vogt and I consider principles that should inform our voting decisions. We also discuss a recent Pew Research Center report titled “8 facts about Catholics and politics in the U.S” and explore the voting guidance provided by the U.S. bishops through their document, “Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship.”

A listener asks, what can a person of faith do that an atheist can’t do?


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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. Biden and Harris are two of the most anti-Catholic politicians in history. For Bishop Barron to say that the church hierarchy should not take a clear stand on the issue of abortion proves they are false shepherds. They are more concerned with political correctness and social justice than the truth of our faith. Their "seamless garment" heresy will send themselves and millions of Catholics to hell for eternity without true repentance.

  2. Bishop Barron, you're saying it's never appropriate for bishops to get up and say Catholics must vote for this candidate. But God tells us we must learn the lessons of His love. So if there were ever an election where a Hitler-type is running, or the anti-Christ, I believe the bishops must get up and preach the truth about what people should do. We must ALWAYS follow what God wants, and so church leaders must lead in whatever way God shows them, leading in truth and by example. We must be strong and not confused by the devil to ever become lukewarm.

  3. It's so very easy to point the finger at someones else's "sins"…. than to look at our own. Show me anywhere in Christ's teaching in the Bible where He FORCED His teaching on anyone? How do you force a woman to continue her pregnancy ? Rather than condemn a woman find ways to help her. Only a change of heart will solve the problem of abortion.
    Let us continue to pray without judgement.

  4. The Presidential Candidate that is perfectly aligned to Catholic social teaching is

    Brian T. Carrol. He belongs to the American Solidarity Party.
    I personally could not vote for Trump or Biden, since I didn't want to vote for the lesser of two evils, so I did a search on independent candidates running for president and I found Brian T. Carrol.
    Below is a link to his views and his broad definition of prolife, which is perfectly aligned with Catholic social teaching.

  5. @BishopRoberBarron You seem to have a problem stating that Catholics cannot vote for a pro-abortion politician because in the hierarchy of evils, there are no other wrongs, which can be worse than abortion. I'm sorry to write directly to you and tell you that you even seem to add words and arguments in order not to say it, or worse, to leave the matter unclear enough so that catholics might think that they can discern that it's OK for them to vote for a pro-abortion politician, when that will make them, objectively speaking, accomplices of genocide. When you say that you can't state your position regarding catholics voting because as a catholic you subscribe to the social teachings of the Church, your saying that a catholic in the times of Adolf Hitler could have in good conscience supported him because of his plans to help laborers and that idea is simply absurd. Since Roe vs. Wade 60+ million babies have been killed through abortion. How can you say that catholics can justify the furthering of this genocide for the sake of other things? No Bishop. No other goal is more important than to stop the murdering of babies at this horrendous rate.

  6. Bishop Barren is speaking evil. He is siding with the devil. l know who he is voting for in November. Maybe, he should talk to Fr. Corapi or Fr. James Altman about his social justice issues since Prolife is not a number one concern of his or the Pope. Wow, there needs to be a cleaning out of the church, starting with the Pope.

  7. Your Excellency, You came into my life, by way of Word on Fire, just as I was coming home to the Church after 30 plus years of living a totally secular lifestyle. I am so grateful for your videos, especially the one titled 'Catholicism'. You played such an important role in my return to the Church, which is why it now pains me to respond to this video. I am happy to be corrected if I misunderstand what you are saying.  

    You seem to present catholic social teaching as if all the issues bare the same weight. My understanding tells me that they clearly do not. Why else have a list of non-negotiables? You have something for everyone in your responses. In other words, like the Holy Father, when you speak you leave me more confused. 

    I pray you receive this in the manner it was intended, as a plea for clarity. I pray for the Church, The Holy Father, you and all the clergy and our country.

    God Bless you ,

  8. Let’s pose the questions avoided in this interview like this: the bishops and other prelates say to us, “by what authority or what sign do the bishops and the Church have to condemn Catholics who do not uphold the Truth?” Yet we ask this the bishops and other prelates, “was the plea to defund abortion from man or from God?” then we can say by what authority we condemn Catholics who do not uphold the Truth. This bishop and others think to themselves: because they fear the people who hold abortion to be evil and fear being asked, “if it was from God why don’t you outright condemn,” they then proceed to say, “we cannot say.”

  9. Not "can't" I'd say to be precise, Bishop Barron, but much more *won't*; an atheist wouldn't even think to engage in religious activities- to them it reads as something intrinsically ridiculous at best, and downright delusional at worst for the safety of the individual. "Can't" means that they are physically incapable of doing so, and since prayer at its core is an act of the will, then it simply becomes a nonsense statement; but "won't" or "refuses to" actually makes a lot more sense, considering what is being said.

  10. President elect Biden has often stated that he is pro abortion even up to the moment of birth yet claims he is a practicing Catholic. This is a scandal of immense proportions! Yet he is heartily congratulated by the USCCB and Pope Francis! How can any Catholic think this is ok??! I am extremely disappointed by our clerical leaders that just cannot stand up for what is horribly wrong. It just continues to add to the great failure of current Catholic leadership. Very disheartening! This is why so many Catholics continue in error and feel exonerated in doing so and leave our Churches by the droves!!

  11. A in depth perspective in catholic teaching. As a long term registered republican, and 1000 percent pro life catholic. This commentary speaks to me to my heart. One key word for me, it’s Prudence. Our Lord has given us the Grace of discernment and Wisdom. So focusing in Prudence, I have to say it’s key for these elections. A manipulating person can temporarily for personal gain do what it appears to be The Right Thing. What else in that person fits the pattern one way of the other, should be an important factor in figuring out what future actions and behaviors to be expected. In using the Grace and Wisdom powered by an intense prayer, a person can put aside the mask, and perceive the truth. Our Lord and everything that truly derives from Him, will be attired in Truth and Love. Satan is the champion of disguise . Prudence asks me to in prayer sift through the words and actions of the person. Wisdom leads me to see beyond the curtains and in prayer and in union with by the Holy Spirit discern who comes from God and what doesn’t. My mother’s words of wisdom , never make deals w the devil, only with God. I strongly believe in placing my heart , actions and decisions at the foot of the Cross, asking a Jesus who should I vote for. This election season, brought to the radical decision to change my party affiliation to now be an independent. My vote is Love and Truth, all the way through. May God Bless the whole world and bless this country as we go through this election season and end division and hate

  12. Catholics are split down the middle because they are still people. Some Catholic churches are in the country and some are in the city. This is the way it is in the general population. The main Church Synod is in big liberal cities so they expect their churches to follow the liberal ways.

  13. Bishop Barron, I agree with you 100% on the balance of left and right but I can disagree with you if I follow the level of sin, for example, abortion is worst than an open border right? I think the reason why we are divided as Catholics is that we don't call it as it is it's a kinda marriage for convenience. Maybe we are affraid to lose some of the members. God Bless!

  14. I'm sorry, but you can't be a CONSISTENT Christian and be on the left. Christianity REQUIRES free will. The left is authoritarian and denies individual free will.

    More government isn't the answer. Read 1 Samuel chapter 8. God WARNS against government.

  15. Because of my fondness for Bishop Barron, I looked to see what he had to say on Catholics and political choices. Sadly, his response walked a tightrope and was short on convictions. He sounded like someone running for office.
    Abortion is pure EVIL. Period. Anyone who supports policies that facilitate abortion should be excommunicated and NEVER considered worthy of public office by a sincere Catholic/Christian.
    Communism is also pure evil. Our pope is a colossal disappointment. He appears to have more faith in government than in Our Creator. His lack of moral leadership is why our world is ready to descend into darkness. His policies in China and his failure to defend Catholics there is shocking. I could never have imagined he would cede control of the selection of Bishops to the CCP. Why is he relinquishing Church authority in China? I don't want to speculate, but none of the options that come to mind are good.
    Bishop Barron, you are one of the few decent men remaining in a leadership position in our American Church. People look to you for answers. Please get off of the fence and stop with the Social Justice indoctrination. You have to vocalize priorities. There is no Social Justice for a person who is dismembered prior to birth. There is no Church if a tyrannical government does not allow free worship.
    I know you have a very difficult job. I am praying for you.

  16. Can you elaborate on group sin, please? Where is it in scripture & early Catholic teaching? I was a well cathecized 12-year parochial school attentive student of the Baltimore catechism 50s/60s I do not recall a single mention of group sin. Real presence ? yes. Individual choice? yes. Group condemnation? Not in the New Covenant.

    This " popularity contest" sin seems like the typical clumsy post-soviet leftist communication control construct (ala Foucault) to rework the definition of guilt to manipulate individual behavior through guilt rationing and granting/withholding virtue approval that they cannot win through normal reason/rationing arguments. These are the same church leftists who conveniently ignore the intrusion and tolerance of open apostasy on sexual and life matters among their clerical and lay partisans.

    I guess it takes all kinds. A tent big enough that believers can stand far apart.

  17. As an liberal atheist within a predominantly Catholic Texas family, I wish that more of the conversations in my world were as measured and professional as this. Kudos to Barron for his wholistic and inclusive philosophy.

  18. I agree with Father Barron’s explanation of political choices, as I result I am neither one or the other. It was difficult for me to again vote a “split” ticket. I did not want to be placed in a category that I did Not agree with. Thank you for explaining the left and right issues. One of my neighbors just recently was rudely put down because of the way she voted. In the first place it was none of the other persons business. I explained to my neighbor that the person who was so rude did Not have a right to judge her. I would have just answered “how I vote is None of your business”. Judge not lest ye be judged. To me politics has turned into a political arena that goes over board and turned into nothing but fighting. What purpose does that solve? I see this as secular garbage and I quit watching TV news because of it. I have family members that are having to calm down their elderly family members because the media has stirred up so much fear and anger. This may sound stupid to some people, and the first thing I say is tell them to pray. Quit watching those programs and pray. Have a blessed day Father Barron.

  19. A lot of catholic sites in YouTube seems to put too much emphasis on politics these days bringing the worse in them, demonizing the other side instead of focusing on the internal battle of sin, living holy life, and saving souls including their own.

    I cannot tell the difference between church and government these days. Church is being the world instead of the other way around.

    Politics found its way in evangelical churches for awhile now and now its deeply embedded in the catholic church. Sad. Too worldly.

    So now politicians will run the church?

  20. Your worst video. "You cannot vote for pro abortion politicians and be a Catholic in good standing." ~Pope Benedict XVI. The Dems are foundationally unacceptable. Sorry that's the truth in love. Love the babies!