Robert Barron | – Evangelization 101: A Conversation with Leah Libresco Sargeant

Friends, I was grateful to answer questions with students at Princeton University about evangelization, faith, and reason. The event was led by Leah Libresco Sargeant, a fellow of the Word on Fire Institute, and graciously hosted by The Aquinas Institute at Princeton’s Catholic Campus Ministry.


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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 (47)

  1. John 7:28 Then as he was teaching in the temple, Jesus called out: “You know me and you know where I am from. And I have not come of my own initiative, but the One who sent me is real, and you do not know him. 29 I know him, because I came from him, and that One sent me.”

  2. I think BB is very good …..but like most Catholic Evangelizers he seems to more into demands than benefits. Pope Benedict told the Irish Bishops that Christianity was not a list of prohibitions…..I wonder why?

  3. Dear Friends. Think about this for a while. A guy called Moses claims that he met with the Creator and they discussed unclean food, circumcision in the flesh and some other instructions for humans to follow. Another guy called Peter claims that he met with the Creator and they discussed unclean food, circumcision in the flesh and some other instructions for humans to follow. Yet another guy called Muhammad claims that he discussed similar issues with the Archangel Gabriel who relayed to him instructions from the Creator for humans to follow. They meet up together one day and find out to their horror that the instructions they have received directly from the Creator are contradictory. How can they evangelise each other. Is this even possible? How would they even go about it? Is this even moral?

  4. Bishop Barron, I speak as someone who's normally devout, quite easily so, but also as someone who's life currently is a moral disaster zone- due precisely to humility ensuring hatred for all even supposed superiors at all. What I can fairly and justly say is that a savior is meaningless, but a moral teacher, one who is correctly aligned to reality at that; not just any, but one who knows all there is to know about morals and will provide the teachings I need to get my life in order is exactly what I need. The essence of the message is who among us is to say what mechanism Christ would use in approaching each of us: His death is meaningless unless His teachings are correctly transmitted to us, accurately, else we will remain occupied by our sins and never attain Heaven no matter what He or us does to aid us. A man who is not sorry for his sins cannot ever be forgiven so long as his refusal to repent remains- and that is the fruit of His status as a savior, but a teacher is the means to remove that impenetance in us and get us to be willing to amend our ways.
    I have been accused of arrogance in the past, I tell you this not to lay on you my situation, but rather to clarify some things, but typically that comes out of a willingness to work hard to attain salvation; no matter how hard it is I will work through it till I have attained true morality- for only in that character status is there the potential of true independence.

  5. Speaking of half-truths, we are enslaved by this idea that male homosexuality is a life sentence with no hope of change. This is because psychiatry has rightfully thrown its hands in the air and said, "We can't do anything about it." I agree. They can't. Why? For the last several decades, we've been calling an electrician when we really need a plumber.

    I want everyone to know that I conquered that aspect of my personality years ago by employing what I call the "ancient cure" proscribed by Christ for those men who desperately need it…no one else! It was frequently though not universally practiced in American and Europe. Many countries in Europe still practice it, including Germany. What am I talking about? I'll give only one sure clue: the first canon of Nicaea was directed at priests, not laity. That can change. So don't use this canon as a prohibition as the Orthodox do.

  6. Dear Friends. I think this deserves our attention. Firstly, our Bishop is guilty of fals analogy at 15:30 when he compares Jesus evangelizing two of his dicsiples on the road to Emmaus with a christian evangelizing another human being. The guys from the Gospels received the message from the "horse's mouth" so to speak. They accepted the teachings as soon as they recognised that it was God who was talking to them. With preachers the situation is completely of a different quality, there are many preachers out there, they are humans no God, and our Bishop is just one of millions of such preachers. Secondly, at 16:50 our Bishop is encouraging to evangelize unaffiliated by recomending Churche's justice tradition. I thought it was a sick joke, considering Churche's injusticies in Her 2000 year history; antisemitism, compelle intrare, Inquisition, Index, genoside, burnings at stake etc.Some justis tradition. Guys familiarise yourselves with 10 volume book by Karlheinz Deschner "The criminal history of Christianity." The list of unspeakable atrocities commited by the "Holy" Roman Church, do some research yourselves, please. Kind regards.

  7. "Finding the center" that is, orienting life around God, is good I say, but with the caveat that our attempts to do so may be tainted with the totalizing, artificial "demand" for truth that is symptomatic of humans. This totalizing enterprise may be just another system in which we try to "make all things fit", and lack the naturalness and spontaneity of true religiosity. So we have to be careful, I say.

  8. If there's a wise person amongst you , I'd appreciate your opinion on a subject of stumbling for me ! Doulos irrefutably means slave in Greek , but English bibles deceptively translate this word to servant because they don't want you to know you're in slavery . Slave is the word most commonly used to describe believers , and it's mentioned 130 times in the new testament . Ants practice slavery , and coincidentally they're touted for their exceeding wisdom twice within the bible ? However , enslaved ants kill their masters to stop them from enslaving anybody else .Consequently, The lesson we can learn from wise ants is the appropriate reaction to oppression and slavery is rebellion not corporation .Additionally , the goal of any slave should be stopping others from becoming victims not serving up more people into the jaws of a wolf . Revelation clearly says God's slaves will serve him forever in heaven , and Jesus referred to his disciples as slaves .Why would somebody want to work on someone's plantation for eternity ? The scriptures say God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth. Thus , review the evidence and truth for yourselves through these YouTube links .Furthermore , if you can give a defence for your God , I'm open to hearing it .

    1 Corinthians 7:22For the one who was a slave when called to faith in the Lord is the Lord's freed person; similarly, the one who was free when called is Christ's slave.

    Proverbs 30:24 Four things on earth are small, yet they are exceedingly wise: The ants are not a strong species, yet they store up their food in the summer

    Proverbs 6:6

    Walk in the manner of the ant, O sluggard; observe its ways and be wise:

  9. As a young person (25 years old) let me just say this: I really don’t think young people really do have a “passion for social justice”, or at least not in the way the church thinks of social justice. I think “social justice” in some ways has become a substitute for religion in our hyper-secularized society. And really I think it’s only skin-deep at best, and largely done to impress their fellow peers (peer pressure social justice). If you really presented young people with the true demands of authentic social justice, many of them would almost certainly fall away.

    If you want young people to be good Christians, set a good example for them and be good teachers (including moral teachers). And don’t shy away from the sexual teaching either, but express why the church teaches what it does regarding sexuality: that even from the natural law we can see sexuality has an innate purpose and that follow it leads to happiness, while perversion in sexuality leads to emptiness and sadness. I know many people my age who are sexually promiscuous and who are deeply unhappy as a result. I’m not naive, I’m sure these things are always going to happen and we can’t simply overcome with the flick of a switch, but we can’t shy away from presenting the full truth of the Gospel. There’s been far too much confusion peddled with regard to sexuality and the family (both by society which is a massive influence on the way people think about this, and sadly within the church itself).

    You want a vigorous Christian movement start with yourself (including myself): stop being lukewarm and make every aspect of yourself Christian. Christians, and especially the bishops, need to stop worrying about how society will perceive (the world will always hate you anyway) and just start living an authentic Christian life.

  10. I also read Thomas Merton when i was in my 20's. it made a profound impact in me to the point i went to live at a monastery for a whole week. It was really hard for me to stay there. But i managed. Then i joined the archidiocesan seminary for four years. Also hard for me to stay there. So I decided to left the seminary, and three years later met my wife Daniela. Now we have two ChIldren: Joaquim and Andrew. (But their real names in spanish are Joaquín & Andrés). I really love hearing Bishop Barron and all of you. Thanks for all your help in matters of the faith. What you do is really important. Greetings from Monterrey, Mexico.

  11. I read Merton's books long ago. I recently discovered "new" Merton in the form of audio recordings of his classes given to Cistercian novices in the early 60's. IMO some of the best Merton ever. Available from digitally remastered and super understandable. Ways of Prayer on the Conferences of John Cassian and 12 Degrees of Humility are really brilliant elucidations of the Christian life.

  12. Not too many videos o I listen to a second time all the way through Obviously I appreciated this one as very special words of wisdom and indeed encouragement Than you again Bishop Barron; and Leah you have such a gift of linking things together It all sounds so effortless and with as I said before such a pleasant demeanor Thank you too Leah

  13. 7:00 BB comments on addiction & the 12 Step program: I'm a 12 step member who is attempting to re-engage with Catholicism. BB explained the essence of addiction and the 12 Steps really well here, great to hear. I would love to see a brief video saying more about this. It often strikes me that one of the issues we have in the 12 Step fellowships (possibly due to the movements emergence from Protestant Christianity) is that members are often encouraged to create their own God, a God of their own understanding. However, the original 12 Step book, the AA Big Book, states that we need to believe in "God as we understand him". I interpret this as there is one God, and we are all at different stages of our journey to understanding. Anyway, I would love to hear a talk placing 12 Step thought in a broader Christian context.

  14. This is what was missing at my Catholic school religion classes when I was a child. Our religion teachers in those days didn`t make our lessons interesting enough because everything was "recited" rather than explained and brought alive as Bishop Barron does. I got to really appreciate and understand the Catholic faith years later by just listening to Bishop Barron`s Youtube channels on a regular basis. Thank you Bishop Barron.

  15. I think, too, you should mention in this issue of evangelization that it takes time. My mission is evangelization and it has taken me 3 years to evangelize my cousin – one person – 3 years – and she is going to mass now after being away from the church since her first communion – 58 years. Amen. So, keep the conversations going, share things from your life that have shown you how you are a sinner, but that God's mercy is greater than any sin. One thing that I always say is get back into church, just go and sit there and look at Jesus on the cross – He is calling your name and waiting to look upon your face. I have other people in my life that I am helping – the same way that someone took time help me back to walk the golden path to heaven. Jesus, I trust in you! Amen!

    Thank you Bishop for your teachings – they always make me delve deeper into The Word and my prayer life has blossomed into true love with our Lord and Holy Spirit love. Thank you again!

  16. I have read quite a few of these comments and I as a new Catholic coming from the a background of Queer, SJW, new age self determinism, the church and its depth and complexity has been rescuing me in her mercy. My gratitude shields me a bit from thinking I know anything. I will say that although I do agree with Pope Francis and others on the utility of civil unions for people committed to sharing life, many other things have turned me off. The Patchumamma installation at the Vatican and the bazaar nativity to name a few. Being called to worship the creator in person of our savior Jesus with all my heart rather than the creation is key. I bristle when I hear church representatives say anything that would give into idol worship. My life and my children’s life depends on my resisting the seduction of this lie. The world hardly knows about the saints and martyrs we have study and celebrate, why are we pointed to creation worship? Pray for me.

  17. The best way to share the Gospel is to join the Legion of Mary (Legio Mariae). The Legion of Mary is a Catholic Christian lay apostolate founded in 1921 in Ireland and dedicated purely to evangelization. It has tried and true methods of evangelization and has been lauded by Bishops and Popes since its foundation. It's presently in 170 countries worldwide, so there is almost certainly a group in a parish near you!

  18. 17:00
    I agree. Children and adults I know don't want to feel preached to especially while we're just starting to teach everyone to love each other. I rejected a private Christian school once they told me for my child, the first thing they teach is against homosexuality. They said that in pride. I told them, too bad, BBC he would've helped raise all your test scores. 5 years old, at the time, reading on a 4th grade reading level and already starting to add and subtract. He ended up just in the public schools here, but has a whole semester out of college in high school.

    I'd prefer we be taught to love and the actual miracles in the Bible.