Robert Barron | – Words Should Not Be Weapons — Bishop Barron’s Sunday Sermon

Friends, fraternal correction is the act and art of constructive criticism. It’s easier than ever today to engage in uncharitable discussions and unjust gossip about one another, especially online. But instead of publicly participating in hypercriticism, we should rather—with compassion and care, and following a series of steps—seek the good of our brothers and sisters directly.

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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 (45)

  1. It’s wrong to be in relationship with abusers. A few may repent but many are running a con and need to be excluded from our lives. It’s telling how Christians tend to identify with abusers rather than victims.

  2. If there is one thing that Bishop Barron attests to, about himself, is the utter sanity of his discourses. So rare, if I may say so. And thank you very much, Bishop B. I always come away 'feeling' (within)"ah, how right". And I have a request — how do I send you Q/Qs. Thus far I have received no reply!

  3. This is the best argument I've heard for the Church to deal with so-called Catholic politicians who continue to act in opposition to the doctrines of the Catholic faith. Are you listening Church? Are you listening Body of Christ? Seems to me this level of intervention is needed now.

  4. Thank you so much Bishop – this very topic has been on my mind lately and as usual your back to basics approach and always using Jesus as your guide is the perfect and only answer. We're all guilty of this, but to have it up front and on our minds means that we get the chance to examine ourselves and hopefully change our ways. Our Pope Francis must have been pondering the same thing too as he taught us just lately that 'Gossip is a worse plague than Covid19' – I tend to agree with him. Most of us will recover from Covid19, but when we've been hurt by the words of others it can be really detrimental to our health and well being. May we all chose our words more carefully and remember that it's not compulsory to always 'speak' or 'type' but optional, and something that should be done from a place of love. Thank you for your ministry online – it's my 'go to' place for genuine spiritual guidance and peace.

  5. The Moses recieved commandments "thou shalt not kill: is refined by Jesus on The sermon on the mount, to describe and refine character building based on the messianic model.
    Contempt gossip vitrioloc attack reputation ruining maliciousness ridicule mockery ostracisation condemnation are sub sins of the 6 th commandment.
    That's where the social media catholic critics make their grave unchristionian error.
    They speak and act without compassion toward V2 and the Pope.

  6. People often resist being told they are being immoral. No one will listen to me when I tell them that sex outside of marriage is wrong and that cohabitation is not acceptable and that there is no substitute for marriage and that abortion is wrong.

  7. I am blessed not having to need social media to make my life whole. Although I have few friends I do whine and complain a lot and later I feel a rush of guilt over shadow me until I turn to God and ask for mercy. Sometimes I would love to live in a cave or be completely separated from this miserable world.

  8. Thank you so much Bishop Barron— I was just corrected on social media by the people I was trying to "correct" because I did not follow this principal. Lesson learned and the scriptures Sunday seemed to mirror my deep desires, but without the "principle" and the way of love my words and definitely the video I posted did not show forth the Christian faith for my weaker friends. It confirmed our breach and brought forth the worst in those that agree with me. Right is right and needs correction but the way we do this must be with Holy Love!!! You are a blessing to the Church and a bridge to those who are on the outside. We do have to consider the "gentile and tax collector" when we speak at large. Otherwise we cut them off from possible reception of the Truth through lack of charity.

  9. Judge not lest you be judged… etc. The second clause is often forgotten, it's not saying judge not, but lest you be judged. You may judge but with compassion and an understanding of your own shortcomings. On a personal level, this works. On an institutional level, it is more problematic. At a time when public life has been democratised, an unforgiving light has been shone on institutions, not least the Catholic Church, and there is no going back from that. My experience of Catholicism is, sadly, the higher up you go, the less compassionate the institution becomes. The fault of Catholicism is not the bad priests – there are bad people everywhere – but the institution that so long shielded them and was responsible for so many other abuses of power. The priests that don't get promoted tend to be the 'most' Christian, and probably the single reason the Church maintains what declining congregations it has. The Church is its own worst enemy because while the parish priests attend their congregations with necessary compassion and flexibility, the senior clergy who set the rules apparently judge with little regard for the sins of the institution they represent and thus are judged and found to lack authority. They don't seem to understand that while they may say, 'oh, my authority springs from Peter, etc' these are hollow words when the institution they claim authority from has been tarnished by their predecessors and colleagues. Authority springs not from words but actions, which I am sure Jesus put far better than me!

  10. Bishop Barron, different faithful Catholics have wanted to speak with you regarding positions that you have taken. You won't give them the time of day. What are they to do but go public when your statements have so puzzled the Faithful.

  11. Dear Bishop Barron I pushed my faith aside for far to long. Eventhough God was there before every meal, I never looked any further. After getting very good news again this week, I realized that all my blessings over the years couldn’t just be off the sweat of my brow. I also realized today that there are no coincidences. This channel is the link that was missing. Thank you,

  12. This is wonderful, Bishop! I am wondering if you might do a follow up video on how to approach this a) outside the church setting or b) in a case where you know the person is abusive or narcissistic. While this is the ideal, the same structure may not be available in a workplace or speaking one on one to someone can lead to great anxiety or further hurt, in extreme cases, danger. For example, I would not suggest a victim of violence or abuse try to reason with their abuser. That should be taken straight to the police as well as the wider community, no?

  13. Archbishop Sheen, Pope John Paul II, plus at least seven other recent Popes all condemned socialism and communism. With so many young people today leaning toward socialism, I would hope to hear your take on what communism ultimately leads us to.

  14. If people don’t want to listen at the level of gentile and tax collector, it has the same weight as someone who is excommunicated. We aren’t completely banishing them, but they don’t want to communicate with us in a way that makes our union stronger. It is one reason why some Catholics don’t want people to go both ways on an issue. They see a land of confusion outside of the church, for lack of a better description.

  15. I too have struggled with this – but in the end decide to stick with Jesus' word: don't judge, or you will be judged. I do not really know why that person hurt me or hates me. I always suspect it is merely because they see an incident from a different perspective – as we all do. So I do not confront them (again, Jesus: turn the other cheek and at his Passion). I see no reason to tell them they did me wrong – since he/she did not think it was wrong when they did it, I am sure. Who am I to say their interpretation of me is flawed. I just let them stew. If God (who knows both sides) decides I am at fault, he usually 'tells' me (and if I can, I apologize to that person) – or will on my Judgement Day. 🙂 If they are at fault, I can only pray for them that God will also 'tell them' – and then I pray they are granted more wisdom.

  16. I sometimes am not clear on the distinctions Bishop Barron makes. In this video he rails against moral relativism, but in his defense of St. Junipero Serra ( he seems to give Serra a pass in some respects, saying "…Serra probably engaged in disciplinary practices that we would rightfully regard as morally questionable or that he was in certain unhappy ways a child of his time and culture."

    Enjoyed the discussion on subsidiarity. I wish more bishops and priests would remind parishioners of this principle and discuss its application on political levels.

  17. Bishop Barron, this is a good mini-sermon. I can see that doing the fraternal correction in private, and following the principle of subsidiarity, in a local parish is truly possible. It's the method that best preserves the unity of the Church. But how does one effect fraternal correction when the offense is public and you have no personal relationship to the person? Let's think of, as an example, a faithful member of a diocese who is harmed by the cancellation of public masses or last rites for months at a time. Another example might be a bishop or a priest under his supervision that gives public teachings on the internet that are demonstratively not Catholic. Still another example would be the fraternal correction of a bishop regarding sexual abuse. In most large diocese's the bishop will not even agree to meet the person on a one-to-one basis. As a practical matter, the suggested method of correction will not work in this case. The faithful is likely to run into an attitude of clericalism even if the bishop would be gracious enough to meet the person. The track record of the Church as been abysmal in the care of the faithful in the area of sexual abuse by priests/bishops/cardinals and the subsequent cover-ups.

    You have given a nice, neat and very good explanation of fraternal correction that could work in the real world for transgressions let's say between a lay person and another lay person. The chance of this method working with the faithful correcting bishops in this day and age is nil. Hence, many lay people resort to public denunciation on the internet.

    I don't agree with some of the vicious calumny that I sometimes see on social media. Especially, the outright name-calling which adds nothing to the discussion. That part I agree with you 100%. We all need to tone down our criticisms. I try to remember to pray for all clerics especially ones that I disagree with. It seems Our Lord has been asking me to do this.

  18. Thank you so much for this simple and wonderful explanation Your Excellency. You explain with such a tender heart. I have been watching your videos for sometime now and I have learnt and progressed in my life from your teachings. I love the way you explain The Acts of the Apostles. Every time I learn something new. God bless you abundantly.

  19. A great passage about going to him alone. By doing this rumors and gossip are prevented. As is slander and defamation. "keep reaching keep trying" beautifully said. I'm inspired.