Robert Barron | – Signs of Hope with the “Nones”

I recently spoke to all the US bishops about the “nones” during our recent USCCB gathering. In this episode, we walk through my presentation and discuss some of the criticism I’ve received about it, particularly my reference to the Jordan Peterson phenomenon.

A listener asks how we can stay optimistic as Catholics in light of all the challenges the Church faces.

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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 WordOnFire.org.

Comment (45)

  1. As the cardinals and bishops invite the perverse and evil of mortal sin among themselves, you actually cause the confusion in our youth. We ended the pagan confusion about sexual perversion centuries ago. As you refuse to profess the doctrine, you are to blame for worldly influences now tearing at the Church

  2. Once you see video from 1963 of doctors stating that the wound to the forehead was an entry wound, which makes sense since Jackie climbed on the trunk to recover his brains which were sliding onto the street, the idea of Oswald being the sole assasin forever passes into fiction.

  3. I love listening to your broadcasts and I am enjoying Bishop Barron's book, Catholicism: A Journey to the Heart of Faith (reading it out loud to my lovely wife). I want to say here that our universities, social media, television and Hollywood itself is fully prejudiced in a liberal leftist prejudice toward a post-modernist, feminist, and secular or "all inclusive" (except for white, male, Christian, Jewish, conservative viewpoints. In movies and in colleges there is cultivated an actual disdain and animosity to traditional religion, western civilization (including literature and music) and the fostering of incivility, arrogance as an ideal, and censorship ideas, especially ideas that are not disparaging but supportive of traditional morality and just discounting of simple truth and facts. I find this a break down in all the social norms pushed by a leftist orientation that dismisses and fights against all established norms and institutions and authority. This is why I love reading and listening to those like Bishop Barron and reading the prophetic works of C.S. Lewis, Malcolm Muggeridge and G.K. Chesterton who foresaw so much of the then progressing and forthcoming social malaise. They really saw the arising of the progressive justice insanity and what it would lead to; including Lewis' "men without chests." Jordan Peterson was a great aid to my seeing through my own "social justice" blinders (social justice most often being more akin to injustice and diversity more akin to shutting down diversity of perspectives).

  4. I have heard that one of the issues surrounding the NONES is the loss of the "mystical" sense of the Catholic faith has expressed when visiting a Catholic church. I don't know, but so many churches no longer exhibit beautiful art, statues or even a beautiful literurgy that makes one's mind and heart soar up to God, Jesus, the Blessed virgin. Following that thought I have heard that the "old" Latin Masses, where they are said have strong attendance, especially young folks, families, etc. Can you substantiate or investigate if any of this is true?? Thanks for all you are doing. I follow you every day on line from my home in Ct. Thank you.

  5. No offense intended Bishop, but, although you have honed in on the essence of Jordan Peterson's success, I don't think many (probably few and perhaps none) of your brother Bishops are up to a similar task. Nor are they capable of promoting or stimulating a diocesan clergy up to the challenge either. What is it that most "Catholics" hear from their pastors at Mass each Sunday? These well meaning men are, for the most part, out of focus with Scripture and the spiritual dimension young and old seek. A river of imagined subjects, from social justice to neighborhood chatter are no substitute for effectively delving into the Living Word. And, if you couple this nonsensical pablum with a whatever-feels-good-liturgy-du-jour, the bleeding will get worse. It is the crisis of faith, from the top, that trickles down into the pews, and which IMO truly drives the other issues affecting the Church. Many of the old just hang out in the pews, having nowhere else to go. But the young….. well, they have the Jordan Peterson's and many others, who challenge them and feed them the right spiritual medicine. Good luck.

  6. Oswald alone? Is the Barron telling a fib to avoid controversy? Most people in prison are there with far less evidence of their crime compared to the massive, massive evidence pointing to a conspiracy against JFK.

    According to doctors and multiple witness at Parkland hospital, Kennedy died from a massive head wound at the back of his head. This could only be caused by a bullet entering his forehead–not from behind where Oswald was said to be. (BTW, what motivated Oswald to take such a risk?) Most eyewitnesses heard shots from the front of Kennedy, the direction of the grassy knoll to which they ran to apprehend the shooter.

    JFK's autopsy was incredibly botched from beginning to end, something that shouldn't happen to a homeless migrant, much less a president. ( https://whowhatwhy.org/2018/04/25/jfk-assassination-the-tell-tale-brain/ ) The limousine was evidence of a crime and should have been impounded as such; instead it was immediately renovated. So much more was incredibly sloppy.

    Think of Kennedy's brain. It could provide indisputable evidence of the bullet's direction. The former president of the American Academy of Forensic Science, Cyril Wecht, discovered it missing. Think of Jack Ruby being able to gun down Oswald quite easily right in a police station in front of witnesses to "spare Jacqueline the grief of a trial." I could go on for a week. So much was sloppily done that it couldn't be a mere coincidence.

    Most international historians outside the USA say JFK'S murder was a conspiracy. The plot to overthrow Roosevelt and install Smedley Butler most certainly was a real and comparable conspiracy by similar types who hated populists like Kennedy. If you don't know what I'm talking about concerning Butler, Google it.

  7. I can't even make it through this. With all due respect, this perpetual analysis and cerebral wordplay is becoming infuriating. It's not rocket science, return to tradition, where the majesty of the mysteries is preeminent. It's not about figuring us out. It's about living in truth the beauty of authentic worship that will attract any soul that sincerely seeks truth. Sadly, I'm done watching this channel. I've done my best to give the benefit of the doubt, to listen and to be open to to a broader context that I might be missing. At this point I am convinced that there is no forum for an honest discussion about the mass of the ages. I'm absolutely done, in good conscience, with listening to this stuff. The "nones" will remain hopeless as long as the church remains worldly, and that's the point you guys just don't seem to grasp.

  8. Thank you Bishop Barron. One of the specifics which I feel may engage nones are some of the events which have showed that the Good Lord is in charge. Examples are what made the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe; what are the miracles of the Eucharist that have become apparent throughout the world? Our Lady's many visits which are well documented and even shown on some of the computer programs. What about the visitation to Heaven hell and purgatory by many of the Saints etc etc. People like Padre Pio, just to name a few. May the peace love and blessing of the Holy Spirit be with your mission, always.

  9. In matters of faith, the gospel and doctrine has to be communicated indirectly. if we do it directly, and especially with the millennials, it gives. Them the option to reject it immediately. Which is what most do. It has been said by many theologians that when it comes to appropriating deep, life changing truths, it is most often done in a state of suffering. So timing and method of communication are key in addressing the “nones” problem

  10. Thanks for your insights Bishop Barron. I ask if you could spend some time to explore a course in miracles? I was raised catholic, then adopted a secular viewpoint after training and working in the sciences. But, it is quantum physics that depletes reductionist logic and points to a vital source to explain the unknowable. Hence, I began seeking again in my early 40’s, studying new age spirituality, attending mass and reading the New Testament. But, I came to a full stop upon Revelations; so strange. However, I’ve found great comfort in my study of ACIM and i can’t find any inconsistencies per Christ’s messaging. Church tradition notwithstanding, ACIM seems in perfect alignment with a Christian life.

  11. Hi Bishop Baron. I’ve watched your videos with Ben Shapiro and Jordan Peterson and I’m blown away by your intellectual approach to faith and i was wondering if you have anything for someone who is interesting in making the transition into faith. I’m not completely sold and there are a lot of things I would like to learn. I just don’t know where to start and I know the priests in my area aren’t welcoming to intellectual criticism – but I know the modern critiques levelled at Christianity have been addressed. So how would you recommend I take my first step? I would love to rejoin the culture of my ancestors.

    Thank you.

  12. Bishop Barron, I think perhaps you are not giving enough credit to intelligent people regarding skepticism of the truth claims of the Catholic Church. I think part of the issue is not so much that honest seekers in the "nones" category desire to wantonly pursue the cult of individualism, boldly eschewing any objective claims of truth by the CC. (That may be true for some.) Rather, I think at least for genuine seekers who have done their homework, they find that the truth claims of the CC do not hold up to close scrutiny.

    Catholic apologists often make their case as a cumulative one based on an assortment of carefully chosen circumstantial evidence. That cumulative case works in reverse, as well. The all-too-human story behind the bible's creation, the old testament divinely-ordered genocides, the misogyny of the Church fathers, the hiddenness of god, the *anti-science history of the Church, it all adds up. In a world where people can openly and easily research claims on their own, is it a wonder that nones are leaving?

    I watched your video on old testament violence, such as divinely ordered Genocide, where you say we need to read it metaphorically through the lens of Jesus. You sidestep the issue by jumping to metaphor (putting the "ban" on the evil inside you or some such). You never actually grapple with the reality that God ordered genocide. If you want to get the "nones" back you'll have to give a much better answer.

    * I realize the CC has a better history of embracing science than almost any other denomination, but it is not enough. Don't believe me? Here is some astonishing evidence from a 1941 Bible that I have, the Douay Bible, with the Encyclical Letter in the preface by Pope Leo XIII, where he essentially urges Catholics to be science deniers. Here is a direct quote from Pope Leo, essentially urging Catholics to disbelieve any science that contradicts the Catholic Church's teaching. Shameful.

    Resolution of apparent contradiction – “If dissension should arise between them, here is the rule also laid down by St. Augustine, for the theologian: ‘Whatever they can really demonstrate to be true of physical nature, we must show to be capable of reconciliation with our Scriptures; and whatever they assert in their treatises which is contrary to these Scriptures of ours, that is to Catholic faith, we must either prove it as well as we can to be entirely false, or at all events we must, without the smallest hesitation, believe it to be so.’”[De Gen. ad litt., i., 21, 41]

    edit: grammar

  13. I think the Church will fail to attract new members as long as its views on sex and reproduction remain the same. I know for me, as much as I love the Church, this is the thing that I keep coming back to where I just can't feel comfortable being a full-blown part of it. Notice that Bishop Barron avoids speaking openly and frankly about these teachings, because they are an instant turn-off many who might otherwise be interested. I know a lot of Catholics just disagree with these teachings and continue to be active Catholics anyway, but for me, I can't just ignore the stuff I don't like and pretend I'm still a Catholic. And the Catholics who think that the Church can just change its views on gays or gay marriage, to take just one example, aren't realizing that if it does that, it will have to completely overhaul its views on the family and sexuality. I think there are ways to do that while preserving Catholic values, not merely capitulating to the secular view on these things, but this is something that I don't really see anyone talking about.

  14. @18:27 Brandon refers to the repeated references to the truth about the relationship between faith and science. I think that our world needs the repeated references: for one, a first-time listener might be in the audience and for another, lessons are learnt through repetition. I wouldn't balk at repeating. Good work!

  15. The truth is what the facts are. Can you show me a fact about God? A fact is an objectively verified piece of evidence that is positively indicative of or exclusively concordant with one claim and no others.

    Claim: We are governed by a magical anthropomorphic immortal that invisible immaterial and omnipotent.

    Fact and/or body of facts that prove this claim?

    The ball is in your court.

    Courtesy to Aron Ra.

  16. I'm an atheist who is fairly engaged with religious people, and very engaged online. I'm interested: How can we learn about objective truth without something approximating scientific processes? I am raising my small children, the way they learn about the objective world seems to closely resemble scientific processes. The exception is when learning about people, they learn about people also by mirroring them.

  17. By far, most kids in our parish attend public school, while most of the resources go to those who attend Catholic school. The mis-match is staggering. Maybe we should focus on good catechesis for ALL young people.

  18. What i like about Bishop Barron and many other evangelists today is they are succeeding in areas's where many failed. When people fled the Church in recent years we Catholics blamed a number of different things, lack of catechism, abuse crisis, incompetent clergy and lay people etc so essentially all we did was point the finger and become bitter at so many leaving without doing much to get them to stay or invite others in. I think the best way to evangelize is through recreating vibrant communities in parish's so people of ALL ages can attend, enjoy each other and learn about God and the faith.

    The Church only became something we did in sundays, how then could we have prevented people from being seduced by the world the other 6 days of the week. Young people want to enjoy life and have a sense of friendship with others. If they don't find this in their parish they will look for it in the world hostile to God's law. Charismatic groups are of no real help as most people are put off by such events as they are cringeworthy. So called speaking in tongues, cheesy music etc. There needs to be a number of different groups within parish's to help facilitate for all people's tastes within a Catholic environment. This is something that has happened in my local parish and has caused great relationships to develop between both God and neighbor

  19. Does not human have tendency and weakness to find or make idols in their life, always look for someone, anyone including themselves or something, anything other than God to rely their lives upon. We may cringe when we read the Israelites made a golden calf to worship but indeed it is still happening, not the golden calf but different forms that seem to be relevant to the time and era. Not to be surprised then if there have been even religious idols. If the evil could use and twist the verses from the Scripture to launch his attacks, nothing else he couldn't use as a trick. God has been wanting his people to know Him, not as an abstract idea or concept, but as God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the Father of Jesus Christ. Unless we have detachments we cannot truly worship God. As always the most powerful spiritual weapon is pray.

  20. I am waiting for a different hope like when Bishop notice that most of priest do not care about children catehesis ( I volunteered for several years) 0 interest from all 3 priests in my parish even though all of them seem to like me. I estimate at least 80% of students will fall off in college and they will be the NONES. I talked to other catehists same neglect only yearly whining by deacons that we need volunteer catehists. Priest seem to care about old ladies why ? I do not want sin by accusation.

  21. Bishop Barron opened my eyes to the intellectual aspect of the Faith and this is pure gold. Even the Bible talks of kings who were described as brilliant but were drawn to the preaching of apostles such as Paul, Phillip, etc. The Faith is not just a folktale, it is also logical and intellectual as well, which are attributes of the Holy Spirit.

    God bless you, Bishop.

  22. I was baptized in the catholic church, i went through the first communion and through confirmation, but never learned anything. Thats cause i was forced to go and to be rebellious i never payed attention. Now im 27 way more mature and interested in learning. I was going for the king james bible but heard it was of protestant teaching. What bible do the Catholics use?

  23. Theology of the Body is an incredible topic for evangelization. Romantic love, dating, sex. It’s on all young people’s minds and it offers a solution to problems that all young people are experiencing, especially women. Women are hurting and TOB is a solution, a totally different view of dating/love/marriage that our society has offered. We are more and more recognizing that the popular views are not working and we need a new way. I believe TOB at least plays a large role in that. It’s the greatest love story of all time.

  24. It's not just that people are opposed to the idea of there being these objective, god-given morals and truths, it's that the church, which consists of fallible human beings, are claiming to know them, and speak about them on God's behalf. When a priest or bishop tells you how to live your life, it just seems like they're trying to control you. Them, as humans. Not God. Even if you believe in objective, theistic morality, it's hard to trust that the Catholic church are the ones to deliver it. Especially these days with all the molesting priests and more importantly the organization's attempts to cover it up. You might disagree, but that's how most young people see it. If religion ever makes a resurgence, I think (and hope) it will be on a more individual, rather than organized, basis. What gives any human being more authority than another to decide what God thinks?

  25. I am one of these "nones".

    I do agree that there is such a thing as objective morality. I do think there is a proper way to live life in order to bring about the most good (minimize useless/unnecessary suffering). But I believe this because I have tested it against reality. I have tried living a self-indulgent, lazy, undisciplined, ungrateful life, and all it did was cause harm. When I started focusing on being virtuous, things just came together. I don't pursue virtue because some faith tells me to; I do it because it actually makes the world a better place, and makes me feel fulfilled. And I do not believe that I need to be part of a religious institution in order to live this way.

  26. Per Pew Study: A growing share of Americans are religiously unaffiliated. We recently asked a representative sample of more than 1,300 of these “nones” why they choose not to identify with a religion. Out of several options included in the survey, the most common reason they give is that they question a lot of religious teachings. https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2018/08/08/why-americas-nones-dont-identify-with-a-religion/

  27. One problem is that Catholics at all ages are reflecting on the origin of the dogma of Christianity and find it wanting, as expressed in this syllogism:

    1. There is an objective reality that can be understood.

    2. Science has demonstrated that it is the best method to understand objective reality.

    3. Science has falsified "Original Sin", thus, no need for a "Savior."

  28. I'm 45 I left the church 30 years ago, I am now getting back into the church. I am now just discovering C.S. Lewis, G.K. Cheasterson, etc. If I had been introduced to these intellectuals early on growing up I might have never left. I needed an intellectual description of beliefs that I didn't know existed and was told by the secular world that religion offered no intellectual basis for belief.

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