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Practice English Speaking&Listening with: Bishop Barron: Word on Fire

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Bishop Robert Emmet baron is a us-based prelate of the Roman Catholic Church

serving as an auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles

He was a professor of systematic theology at the University of Saint Mary of the lake from 1992 until


upgraded in 2008 to the inaugural Francis Cardinal George professor of faith and culture

He founded the Catholic ministry word on fire

Which employs traditional and digital media to describe the doctrines of Catholicism to the general public?

Word on fire published the 10 part series

Catholicism which was broadcast on PBS in 2011. And which Bishop Baron hosted?

He's published a number of books including

Catholicism a journey to the heart of the faith

vibrant paradoxes the both

/and of Catholicism and very recently

Your life is worth living with Fulton sheen published on March 5th


He has a substantive YouTube presence with a total viewership of 30 million and is well known on Facebook as well

with 1.5 million followers

Clearly Bishop Baron is among the rare religious figures managing a substantial public impact in the present world

It's very nice to see you I've been looking forward to our meeting for quite a long time. Yeah, me too

Thanks for having me on the show

Yeah, well people keep writing and saying you have to talk to Bishop Baron and then they come up to me and they say you

Have to talk to Bishop Baron

Well, I mean the same thing from the other side everyone telling me to talk to you. So it must be in God's providence

I suppose

Yeah, so why do people want us to talk as far as you're concerned

Yeah, you know

I'm not entirely sure but I would say I think you've opened a lot doors for people to religion

In an era when you know, the new atheists are very influential among young people and I think you've opened doors that

Legitimize at least RIA Pro Qing these great issues and questions and texts. And so I I'm doing it I suppose in a more

Explicit way but you're I think paving the way for an awful lot of people at least to reconsider religion

So maybe they find that intriguing probably the fact that we're both

coming out of an academic

Background, but then trying to reach out, you know more widely through the social media. So there's that in common, but

Nice to speak for myself. That's what I see in you that's been so powerful

because in the wake of the new atheist critique, I mean

I just find that so

such a desert opens up for young people and and I deal with young people all the time and I hear the echoes of

Hitchens and Dawkins and sam harris all the time, but it's such a finally bleak view

You know and religion speaks to these deepest longings of the heart and I think you for a lot of people made that again

Possible at least to think coherently and rationally about those things

so I found that very

uplifting and helpful

And I think a lot of people have to if maybe they see a point of contact there between the two of us

maybe you know, it's funny because

I've received

letters from

People of different faiths from all of the world think like, yeah

surprising number of people

Catholics and a lot of Orthodox Christians Lord of Orthodox choose a

Substantial number of Muslims far more than I would have ever suspected

Protestants and and and Longson and

Buddhists and Hindus who are

Following the

Lecture series are you know on Genesis back in?

2017. Yeah, also, you know a tremendous number of atheists. I would say

Yeah, they probably outnumber the religious people surprisingly enough and they've said that the tact that I've taken

which is I

would say kind of

Balancing line between the religious and the psychological. Yeah -

But I guess it's it's had the same effect on the people that I've been target - that it's had on on


Like these stories. Yeah

Well, you know I've talked about you actually to the American bishops because I'm on this

I'm the chair of the evangelization in catechesis Committee

So the bishops concerned about how we propagate the faith today, you know

and I've laid out for them a lot of the grim statistics and they are grim about

especially young people leaving the Catholic Church

For everyone the join six or leaving now, we have the highest rate of people leaving

anyway, I've gone through some of those stats, but then I have signaled signs of hope and

you're one of them said the fact that this gentleman who's speaking about I'd say spiritual things and certainly now about the

Bible in a way that is smart and compelling especially young people is


So many might be leaving you no official religion

But the religious questions have not left their minds and I think you're addressing that in a way. That's very

Provocative and compelling and it's given me a sort of renewed courage to say well, why can't we do the same thing? Why have we?

It s our book. I mean, let's face it

The Bible is the book the churches, you know produced as it's the heart of the church's life

But why isn't it someone who's at least in a formal sense outside the church?

Doing a better job than we are at explicating and so I take it to be a state of whole

Person mystery. Well, I feel to


my position


The church. Yeah is actually critical to the success of what I'm doing

You know people who have tried to pin me down

multiple times with regards to my

Belief in God. I actually did a two hour lecture in

This was a 70 minute lecture in Australia about that question because I thought about it law and a boat

I've always felt

Imposed upon I would say and boxed in when people ask me that question

But I finally figured out that I didn't really feel that

I had the

Moral right

hmm to make a claim about belief in


meaning that's not a trivial thing to

To let's say proclaim. Yeah, you know because it's not merely a matter of

stating in some verbal manner that I am willing to


Semantically with a set of doctrines it means that you have to


You have to commit to living a certain way

yeah, and the demand of that life is so

stringent and

So all-consuming


And you're so unlikely to live up to it

that to

make the claim that

You believe I think is uh,

To me. It's smacks of a kind of I

mean, I understand why people do it and this isn't a criticism of people's statement of faith, but

for me the

critical element of

belief is action and


Requirements of Christianity are so incredibly demanding

That I don't see how you can proclaim yourself a believer without

being terrified of

immediately being struck down by lightning or

Cosmic, you know, there's a lot to that

I mean there's a lot to it this story that I've always loved about

Origen the great church father whom young love by the way

I mean young saw the Church Fathers of some of the first great psychologists and origin sermons on Genesis Exodus

Are like yours in many ways Amana?

have you been reading him explicitly but the of

Psychodynamic and spiritual reading origins all over that

but the stories about this young guy in in Gregory who comes to origin to learn the doctrine of the Christians and

Origen said to him

First you must come and live our life and then you'll understand our doctrine and that young kid Gregory

Became Saint Gregory Sawa Turkish

He becomes the great saint of a church

But he had to get into the life first and there's a lot to that. I think the

Practices of Christianity they get into your body before they get in your mind

It's also true

I think that when you take away a lot of practices that surround certain doctrines the doctrine fades from people's minds

When I was a kid, there was still the practice around the Blessed Sacrament people

You know with genja flexions and before you entered the pew in church, you would genuflect in fact, they say that

catholics of my parents generation when they come into a movie theater

To see a movie in the rows of seats. They would genuflect before the guy

Ruffle, but see that means this thing was so in their bodies, you know

But that practice was communicating to the mind the importance of what's in front of them

Well, the same is true really of all the doctrines

You know God in some ways is a function of this manner of life

and so I've emphasized that actually a lot my own work the

Postmoderns who have influenced a christianity are very strong in that two practices

I mean might take Jordan is there's a there's a hundred ways in to the question of God

There's all kinds of paths, you know, one of them being just that ritual

the body

The moral life is a way in to look at the Saints and try to be a saint is a great way in

Jared manley hopkins the great Jesuit poet

Who was a convert under John Henry Newman?

So he himself went through this process of discovering the faith, but someone came to him and said, you know

I'm really wrestling with belief in God and he said give alms

Where's he didn't provide an argument reprove. He said do something

And of course if you play the whole thing out

I mean if God is love that's what God is

Then performing an act of love gets you closer to God than almost anything else

And so the giving of alms can it lead you into that sacred space?

Now the quest ding mind, I mean then wants to ask all kinds of questions about it and ground it

so, you know fitas cuarón's intellect him of an so might faith seeking understanding that's where theology philosophy will come in, but I think

Practically about

certain elements of

let's say

judeo-christian fundamental belief so from

you know, I

Spent I think two-and-a-half hours the first biblical lecture

I did on the first sentence of Genesis and then tried to take the opening chapters apart in great detail, but it's very interesting

Propositions from a psychological and philosophical

Perspective in Genesis. I mean I

Look at it sort of technically in

some sense as a statement about the nature of being mean what Genesis reveals to me is that

There has to be a structure to encounter


Or that there is a structure that encounters possibility that's part of that's built into reality itself

Mmm-hmm and that structure is God the Father and that

Structure uses a process and the process is the logos and the logos is something like courageous truthful

Communication it's the word but it's much more than that

and it uses that to encounter this potential and to generate order and

It seems to me that that's that

Psychologically akin to what human beings do with their own consciousness, you know

the the new atheist types and the materialist scientists

Tend to consider human beings deterministic organisms, but my understanding of neuropsychology

is that the only time that we are no deterministic organisms is when

Circuits for specific tasks have been built up through lengthy practice and can be run automatically

You know much of the time in our lives and I talked to my audiences about this

what we do is we wake up in the morning our consciousness reappears on the

plane of being let's say and what we face in front of us is an unstructured and

Potential filled chaos. Yes, and and our consciousness determines the manner in which that


transforms itself into the

Actuality of order into the present in the past and and I think everyone

understands that we treat each other that way like we treat each other we treat ourselves as if we

are responsible for

What we bring into existence

That's part of our moral responsibility

We treat each other as if that's part of what makes us worthwhile as creatures

that's part of our value we treat ourselves as if

the nature of what we bring into being

Is determined by our choices between good and evil?


we treat other people the same way like you can't have a

friendship with someone if you don't believe that they have

that power of choice and that

capacity for morality

You're you you don't have there's any respect for them and they won't interact with you

and so you can't found a friendship on that and you can't found a family and

you can't found a

society or without the fundamental presupposition that

Individuals, this is another element. Of course

The presuppositions in Genesis, then that the individual is somehow made in the image of God if God

Is that which confronts potential and generates order and and more you know?

Because God says to in Genesis that every time he constructs something that's new and orderly

using the locals he says and it was good and that's so fascinating to me because it's repeated so many times because

what it implies is that if you confront if the potential of

being is confronted with

What's good and truthful and courageous then what?

Emerges as a consequence is good. And I also believe that to be the case for individuals if you

confront the world

Matter that's

cane like

Bitter mm-hmm incapable of making the proper sacrifices enraged jealous

Outraged at the suffering of existence and it's essential unfairness

Then you become vengeful and bitter and murderous and genocide all and yeah

That seems like no

Positive way forward. That's no bargain. Yeah

They demolished the metaphysics

Without really thinking it through I think and they leave people with with nothing. Yeah

Nothing is so empty that it it just produces

It really produces pain for people like talked to many many many people including

atheists who have been

vastly relieved to find some deeper meaning in

Everyday I deal with that is people that they feel obligated intellectually to accept the new atheist, you know conclusions

But then their whole soul is rebelling against it and I would say for obvious reasons, you know

It's variously meet Jordan is I got a colleague Chris Kaiser who teaches at LMU?

He's written on your stuff

And he said what Peterson is doing is what the Church Fathers would have called the trope illogical reading of the scriptures, you know

The four senses you got the literal historical interpretation. You've got the allegorical so it has to do with Jesus

You have the anagogical having to do with the journey to heaven, but the trope illogical they would have seen is the moral sense

So what it has to do about our moral lives and I think in our categories say maybe the psychological life, etc

And so I think what you just proposed there is a cool, you know, throw a trope illogical

Reading in those texts. I mean I without denying it. I'd press send the more metaphysical stuff

Joseph Ratzinger who became pope benedict xvi did a wonderful meditation on

Genesis saying that to say I believe in god is to say I believe in the primacy of law goes over and against mere matter

Is over and against a merely materialist view that what's more meta physically primordial is Plagas and he would stress

Intelligibility that the fact that God speaks the world into being means it's marked in every nook and cranny by something like intelligibility

which in turn would ground anything like the sciences, I mean any

Scientist goes out to meet a world that at least he or she assumes is intelligible, you know

so the the

Intelligibility of things that the rational structure within being is coming from from the logos

but the other thing that I think is really intriguing about the genesis that opening move is

The dethroning of all the false claims to divinity

So all the things that come forth from God, you know from Sun and Moon and and the animals and so on so forth

We're all things that were worship in various cultures in the ancient world

So the author's saying no no, no. No, these things are not themselves ultimate

They're not the law goes from which all things come but then the cool twist to me. It's not just a no because I

See Catholics get this because the way that text is structured. It's liturgical II structured. It's like a liturgical procession

Everything coming forth in this ordered way at the end of the procession I come human beings, right?

so at the end of a liturgical procession is the one who will lead the praise and so the point there this goes back to

Augustine and people like that

The point is none of these things is God

But all these things belong in a chorus of praise of the true God led by us

So and there's the human role is to give proper praise to God

Sukie yeah believes that

One of the sins of the judeo-christian perspective is that it gave human beings dominion over the world


The philosopher the German philosopher

If the narrow that window, yes

Phenomenologist Luther all

Know his student Heidegger part eager, you know believed

The judeo-christian texts had given us the right to treat the world as if its

Produce, you know there. Yeah, but that's six getting exactly backwards, isn't it?

it's it's this deep respect for our fellow creatures as part of the chorus of praise and the Dominion is not

Domination I think it's that kind of right ordering

and the thing there is there's been a lot of interesting studies recently of the temple the ancient temple and

How it was covered inside now by symbols of the cosmos

You know animals and plants and planets and stars and so on the idea being when Israel gathered for right praise

It was the whole universe being gathered for right praise now

Look at that in the Gothic churches, you go to no tree Domino that it's not an anthropocentric thing

you've got the planets and stars and

Astrological signs and animals galore because the cathedral was a successor of the temple the place of right praise and it's drawing

creation in


I think it's much more

Modernity that is rough on nature and rough on the animal kingdom Thomas Aquinas is not and we go back to the the pre-modern

Christian thinkers

They're not anti-nature on the contrary because the biblical vision is salvation is a cosmic reality

God's trying to save all of his creation. That's the Noah story is God

The Ark is like a floating temple, right? So it's a little microcosm of the right order of things led by

And what are they concerned about the animals they're concerned about life that God created that's why the ark becomes a symbol of the church

So all the churches are meant to look like chips

You have a nave right the ship the central aisle of a church

But they're meant to be a little floating temple where creation is honored and preserved. So no I I would blame

There's a tremendous emphasis on the idea that like Noah who's someone who

Like Adam before the fall walked with God he was capable because he could act

Nobly and courageously and truthfully and also put his family together. He's actually capable of shepherding

The complex creation of being in its totality

Right a period of absolute chaos and Brendon I look at



Challenges let's say that we face today

because of the complexity of

The nine billion of us or the nine billion that there will be in the necessity of making sure that everyone has adequate

Security and shelter and food and freedom. Yeah. I see that the proper

pathway forward to dealing without is for people to

put themselves together and to put their families together and the communities together and that the

consequence of that the natural consequence of that

Adoption of ultimate responsibility would be the extension of care


The immediate need of a social even and so that everything does depend. I

Would say and this is something I learned from

Young from you was that

far more than we think depends on the


Progression and

care of the soul, all of it depends on it and you know when I talk to my audiences

It's so interesting and I think it might be something that the church is missing if I could be so negative


You know, I've talked to about a hundred and fifty live audiences now about this sort of thing

independent of all my classroom lectures and I'll tell you I

Tell people I suggest to people that

The really the ancient idea that life is

Suffering and and that it's tainted by malevolence that there's no more true ideas than that in some

base sense and

that that's something that everyone has to contend with and

If you don't contend with it properly

Then you become embittered and and you work to make things worse and everyone understands that everyone knows that's true

and then I suggest to them that

The proper way out of that isn't the pursuit of material

satisfaction or impulse of happiness or rights from the individual perspective the adoption of responsibility and

I'll tell you every single time I talk about that. You can hear a pin drop and yeah

yeah, I believe and I think one of the things the church has failed to

Munich a properly is that

You need a noble goal in life to

buttress yourself against its

Catastrophe and I mean evil is a good example of that in the Abel and Cain

Story because he devotes himself properly to God and things work out for him


more or less it doesn't end for

Good is sometimes defeated by evil. I mean, obviously he lives a proper an admirable life and

It it needs to be communicated to young people, right

what's the signal the biblical key is always right praise and that's I go right back to Genesis 1 is is

When we give praise to God drawing all creation together

Then our soul becomes ordered properly and then around us a kingdom of right order is built up

In the Catholic Mass. We have that wonderful prayer to Gloria who is a glory to God in the highest and on earth

peace to people of goodwill and it's it's like a formula that if I get done the highest

Then there will be peace around me. That's the condensation of the Sermon on the Mount. Yeah

That sermon seems to see that sermon seems to me and I also believe it to be


true is that

it's necessary for you to

Aim at the highest

Value that you can conceive of, you know, and that has to have something to do

with the

amelioration of suffering and the

Constraint of malevolence, it'll expresses nothing away. Naturally. Yeah

there's a negative and then once you concentrate on that and

Focus on that and decide that that's there your primary aim

Then things do start to order themselves around you because well everything that you see and do

Directs itself towards that aim, but that's this

Yes, this you I'd say strangely uniquely Christian thing is that we say, okay

The the God that we're worshiping the God revealed in the Old Testament

But then finally revealed in Jesus Christ as I'm looking over my computer screen right now. I'm looking at the crucifix of Jesus, right?

So my praise is directed to a God who's entered radically into suffering

not just the physical suffering but the whole brokenness of the world of

Stupidity and in cruelty and injustice and hatred that's where God is gone. So the God that I worship is the God who himself is

Dedicated to the amelioration of suffering or of healing the suffering of the world

But that's the way it's going to express itself in a fallen conflictual world

Right praise will end up looking like love looking like love for those who suffer

But see I think that's the mess to me the master theme of the whole Bible

Israel always goes wrong without exception when it's praise goes wrong. It starts praising the wrong things. So the money

They're in the same position we're in in the modern world were where we've escaped a

Tyranny of sorts. Let's say or we believe we have and entered into this domain of

untraveled freedom and there's nothing but

false idols calling to us from every direction and that's that that's the diversity idea as far as I'm concerned because

Unity is certainly as profound a moral necessity

As diversity there should be diversity within unity and I fight it all the time

You know in the church too because we bought into that ideology and I actually looked it's illness problem in philosophy

The one of the many but all we do today is we completely valorize the many we never see its shadow side

We denigrate the one and ever see its positive side

The one is extraordinarily important


Yeah, I think so. Yeah, it's the death of that over our community. It's the same thing that drives

constant thoughtless criticisms of hierarchy even though all

biological evidence suggests

you can't even organize your

Perception without using an ethical hierarchy because you have to select from all the things that you can choose to look at

those things that you value high enough to attend to


And that's our point about worship, isn't it? What's the highest value to you? Everything else will follow from that?

Yes, if you read the Paul Tillich the great Protestant theologian

But he said all you need to know about a person you can find out by asking one question

what does he will worship and

Everyone, of course at me Sam Harris worship something that worth-ship what's of highest worth to you? Oh

Then your life will be organized accordingly

The biblical idea seems to me is if it's other than God you will disintegrate

On the inside and the society around you will disintegrate

As a consequence reading you like if the logos is that element of

Being let's say that's allied in some sense with consciousness. That doesn't confront

Potential and that does cast it into reality as a consequence of ethical choices

Then I can't see how it can be. Otherwise, then that has to be

regarded as

The ultimate value because it's the thing that creates

Continually creates the world anew and you know, we know it perfectly well that you know

You can take the opposite tack. Let's let's say I don't worship

courage and truth in the face of the potential of being and that I worship instead cowardice and deceit

And vengefulness and well, then we know where that goes

you know, we had the entire 20th century as a as a

It's the template for the whole thing we went in the template from from every perspective

We know every it's obvious. It's obvious

beyond a shadow of arguable doubt

that human beings as individuals are

Capable of generating something around them that is so akin to hell even

Metaphysically speaking. Then the differences is is is you have to be

PK you let's say to quibble about the difference and I do think there's something metaphysical about it

I mean these things that we see on earth

let's say

Seem to me to be reflected continually at deeper and deeper levels of reality. You know, I mean, I don't tend to talk about

specifically religious issues because I think that would in some sense compromise

that the approach that I'm attempting to take you know, which is a

conciliatory approach in some sense those who are

possessed by the scientific viewpoint, but curious about the religious point but

If you abandon those initial

presuppositions that the sovereignty of the individual the necessity for courage in the face of being that the

Moral imperative to struggle uphill with your cross towards the City of God

I mean people understand these things if they're explained carefully and they know in their souls that they're

True and yeah

And they're all over the culture that's been a presupposition of mine doing

This work is I tend not to begin with, you know direct instruction or moral finger-wagging

But I tend to begin with something going on in the culture and and you've talked about this

You know that the hero myth is in practically every movie you watch but I the Christian themes are every place

One of the most remarkable to me being uh, I just saw that TV

The other night was the Clint Eastwood's Gran Torino

If you want to see the best exemplification

I think in fiction of what the church fathers meant by the meaning of Jesus cross

In other words a move of self-sacrificing love that exposes evil and liberates those who are under the tyranny of evil

That's how they read the cross in a very clever way expressed in more mythic language, you know

but the ideas are very powerful and they're

Beautifully exemplified in that movie the move that Eastwood's character makes at the end and of course the as he dies

He's in the figure of the crucified Jesus lest we miss the point

Because I actually made a video

where I used a picture of of Christ delivery

the Sermon on the Mount I think and I put on 50 splits face superimposed it on top of his and

It was for exactly that reason it was that

The reason that that's exemplified in Gran Torino

Yeah, because I mean Eastwood in that movie is he's a very harsh character very, right

He's like he's like the Christ that comes back in Revelations, right? He's very very very

Judgemental, right and he cuts no one a break

except that he actually does like he does separate the wheat from the chaff and he's even

Interestingly in that movie, you know


he ends up being more akin to the

foreigners who he hypothetical hates, maybe

Who's the Good Samaritan it's the same idea is the good

right becomes more family to these people that he hypothetically hates them to his own children because he doesn't Sam is

Ungrateful and unworthy and these new immigrants are striving to be good people. Yeah. That's a very interesting movie

Oh, yeah

It is and it was a good example of a principal one of my professors years ago said the once integrated Christian vision

let's say a

Reformation enlightenment sort of blew up and the pieces flew everyplace and they're kind of twisted and they're they're charred and everything and they've landed

Here and there and so as you go through the cultural landscape you see them all over the place

So there's a there's a bit of you know

Eschatology or there's Christology or there's the Trinity and so on but they're usually in distorted form

So that's a good example of there's the Christus Victor theory to give his proper name that christ is the victor over

Sin, and death. He's conquered the dark powers and liberated us in the process

there it is, but it's in somewhat distorted form, of course, but

That's been the game. I played a lot is to try to find these these

Merely common, it's Universal because yeah you

and this is of course one of the reasons that I became so deeply interested in archetypes is that

If the story doesn't have an archetypal foundation, then it's not a story means something made something a story

it's just a random collection of

statements or images and

so it has an archetypal structure and

You know

I think what's happened in the modern world at least partly is this fractionation that you've described but also something that a

student once made me think deeply through

She came up and asked me after a class. Well if these

Archetypal stories are the fundamental

The fundamental element. Let's say psycho biological reality then why not?

Just tell the archetypal story over and over again

And I thought well

First of all to some degree that is what cultures did for a long time

They repeated the archetypal story but in our modern culture

What literature seems to do is to take the archetypal?

Story and to bring it closer to the individual. It's like it's it's brought closer to earth

Almost like the Renaissance paintings brought

the divine figures closer to Earth closer to the actual individuals say that and the baroque paintings did

And so you have this meeting place of the divine the archetype and the personal that?

constitutes something like popular culture and

There's some utility in that because it's it it

reopens a doorway to the presence of

What's missing that's being closed by whatever has happened to the church over the last?

Well what?

150 years to


degeneration of the church over the last 200

150 to 200 years, so I see it as a good thing

Although it isn't obvious that people

Understand that it's happening

You know, I explain movies like The Lion King and Sleeping Beauty and so on to my audiences and they don't know that

They don't

consciously see the Christian symbolism or the Christian symbolism and works like Harry Potter, which is

Unbelievably deep symbolic structure. I mean she did that so beautifully

Goodness, three Bacon's of True Grit

So when the Coen brothers did it and they brought a beautifully brought out these religious themes that were not in a John Wayne version

I saw as a kid or even like there was a remake

Kenneth Branagh did Cinderella and you say it charming sentimental story?

But it's a deeply Christological telling and he got all that and brought that out

I mean so those are there for sure. I mean within the Western framework

It seems it doesn't seem

like I've been accused let's say

Although I've stopped apologizing for it. I should have stopped long ago

fundamentally speaking to young men

You know, I mean most people on YouTube or men. So there's a baseline problem


You know, it seems to me that partly what?


suggesting to

young men

is that there really is a


Ennobling heroism about the fundamental Christian vision, which is to

Accept with gratitude your privileges and your limitations

The privileges those are talents you have a responsibility to make the most of them

that's the price you pay for the talents the


You're limited being and you pay a price for being in the price is that limitation? And so you have to be?

Grateful in it in some strange sense for your limitations

maybe the same way that you're grateful for the

Idiosyncrasies and bikinis of the people that you love and then that your that your that your tasks

Extraordinarily difficult tasks. There's there's no more challenging task than to accept all that

you know with with gratitude and

with with with goodwill toward being and to

attempt to

Work towards making things better than they are or at least not worse

Understand that oh, yeah know for sure

But yeah

Let me press something here because I think all that's true from the sort of

Psychological and human side the hero's journey and our call to you know

Move toward a transcendent moral good etc to give ourselves for the sake of the other

We see and that's all there within the Christian and the biblical framework

But see what I think is really interesting where the fireworks really start is

That God has gone on a hero's journey, you know

so it's not just the story this this human being Jesus going heroically to his cross etcetera, but that

Strangely, it's God


Heroically to that place it's it's God going into dysfunction and whatever heroism we can summon is

predicated upon this primordial

Grace that was given to us, you know because the danger you know

Look, I'm a Catholic Catholics like faith and reason so we'd like to operate in both sides of that divine

So Thomas Aquinas constructing cosmological arguments. Well good. Those are I think they work fine, but that's from our side of the equation

We're kind of moving our way toward God

But the fireworks start with the God moves toward us God God acts

And grace is operative is saying I can't manipulate I can't control it comes as a gift, you know

And so at the cross of Jesus, it is Clint Eastwood. So there's there's a human being imitating

Great move, and that's indeed what we call to to become other Christ, but he's also if you want to press it

He's that's God. That's what God does God enters into our weird dysfunctional off-kilter world and

suppresses evil awakens our freedom and

That's when it really gets interesting. You know, it seems to me that

this has to do with this theme also popularized about

Rescuing your your dead father

Yeah from the underworld. Yeah. Well, you know if you take on a heavy burden

Of responsibility

Then that changes you it calls forth from you things that would never be otherwise called forth

it hardly because you encounter new things and learn but also because that

demands that

the psychophysiological

demands of the confrontation and we know this

Biologically turn on new parts of you that are dead genetically and it isn't you know?

there's there's an immense potential that lurks inside of human beings and it's it's a potential of

Unlimited scope in some sense and I think that that's

Alluded to in the idea that there's a relationship between

logos Christ and and

God and man hmm and that

the way that you

Become closer to God

in the literal sense is by adopting that burden because that

Transforms you into what it is that you could be and I think that's you know

You look the other thing you said that was really interesting. You talked about the

Fragmentation of Christianity and you don't you in the old Egyptian story?

when Osiris is

overthrown by Seth who's the precursor of Satan etymologically and conception Oh

Cirrus is willfully blind. And Seth is his evil brother and Seth waits for the opportune moment

And he chops Osiris up into pieces and he distributes him all over the kingdom

and so Osiris can't pull himself back together like he's still there in nascent form because there's no

Destroying something that's divine. Not permanently

But you can make it very difficult for it to get its act together for some period of time. Let's say

that fragmentation I think is

Has occurred in our cultures

the death of God I

Think Nietzsche's wrong about that. I think it's the dismemberment of God

not the death and

something that's dismembered can be


huh, what we need to do is to remember and

We do remember in our literature and our art and our popular culture

that's all a form of remembering but we also remember when we

when we act in a way that works in accordance with our conscience and that

sets our soul in

in into a

Configuration of peace, you know, it's been fascinating

I've had

hundreds and

Mostly young men I would say come and talk to me after my lectures and many of them had been in very very dark places

You know

Addicted yeah Olek


Chronic pornography users capable of settling into a committed relationship


nihilistic cynical

And and and also possessed by a kind of inertia that made them immobile

enduring the most vital part of their youth and you know, they told me look I

Decided I was going to develop a vision for my life. I

was gonna imagine what things could be and then I was going to

Try to tell the truth and I was going to try to act

responsibility responsibly and not in a praying in public manner, but in the manner that

Began with cleaning up. My room. Say are fairly humble act and

And then then comes the kicker and this is one of the things that's kept me going through this entire hundred and fifty city tour

they all say

And my life is way better. It's like I'm healthy I my job is going well

I'd had three promotions. I'm making twice as much money my I I've

Spoken to my father. I haven't talked and talked to him for ten years. I'm putting my family together

It's like things good things are just happening

left right and center

Amazing stories you're in touch with the deepest rhythms of reality

It's an ethical movements a metaphysical move that as you mention the Sermon on the Mount of the Lord

I mean, that's how I look at it is it's not just giving you know moving ethical

Recommendations it's trying to get us aligned to the fundamental

Non-violence of things. I mean that the fundamental move of God is he gives rise of the world?

And so of course your life comes together

again, right praise gets you online and knits you back together that theme to me is really strong in the spiritual tradition of the the

knitting back together and the splintered self

That's what I like

You know things do you I mean as a psychotherapist you deal all the time with this but like in the scriptures

So you mentioned Satan?

you know us autonomous system is the accuser and there's a lot to that but the other great word for that the dark power is

the Diabolus right the scatterer

That the one that divides and separates and so the demons always speaking the plural in the New Testament and Jesus

Bringing them back to themselves back to the center, but that's that's all of us sinners

I mean we were all over the place our mind and will and passions and sexuality and body

They're all going different directions and then it's like orienting for people

It's very young using an anxiety provoking to be going in all those directions. Yes

I'm right and that's what do you want of us Jesus of Nazareth?

Have you come to destroy us? You know and the answer is yes

I have come to destroy this this disparate reality and knit you back together. So she

Didn't eat you for a second because I I'm gonna ask you about that. My conviction is

Atheists both old and new so the Hitchens dawkins sam Harris today

But then go back to the fire box and neech's and company that they're they're rebelling quite properly

against a

False god what I would carry is a false God the God who is posing a threat

To our freedom the God who broods over us in this moralizing and dehumanizing way the God who I would say is a Supreme Being

Among other beings all of that. I I applaud them

I mean that the Atheist old the new are rebelling against that

But it's partially because I think he I think Jung saw this in his own father

Right who was a Calvinist Minister that we got so bad at proclaiming the true God

Who is not brooding over our freedom in this sort of moralizing an oppressive way? Who's not?

Competing with our flourishing but you know, the glory of God's a human being fully alive says Irenaeus

That's the biblical idea or the you know

The burning bush the Father's love that is the bush that's on fire, but not consumed

well, that's the way the true God relates to creation is he makes it

Beautiful and radiant, but doesn't burn it up

You know

we're like

it's so many the Greek and Roman myths with it when the gods break in things have to give way or they're they're

incinerated or they're destroyed but the Bible presents this very

unique and

humanizing view of God and then culminating in in the Incarnation with God becomes one of us without

That's why it's so beautiful to me in those seemingly abstract formulas about you know

The two natures that come together in Jesus without mixing mingling and confusion

You say well, it's a lot of these Greek abstractions

But notice it's very powerful that God and humanity can meet in such a way that humanity is not

Overwhelmed and destroyed see that's what the atheist quite rightly old and new are

objecting to is precisely that false understanding of God, but


It's a very

Disturbing analogy that I've always thought of me. She played the same role as maggots - cleaning out a wheel

yeah, you know, I mean I ma'am he's a very sophisticated thinker and

Nietzsche's simply as an atheist I think is a is a is a terrible mistake

I mean he certainly had plenty of good things to say about Catholicism about the fact that Catholicism was an


diabolical movement that united Europe United

under under the rubric of a single of a single mode of thought and

Discipline the European minded and he also had wonderful things to say about Christ as a figure

You know, he said what made you believe that the only true Christian was Christ and right

criticism was essentially saved

for the dogmatic structure of the church

No, you know I actually have more sympathy for Dostoyevsky who I think thought more deeply about this to meet you

Which is quite a frightening thing to say because Nietzsche is such a deep thinker but you know in in


the grand inquisitor

When when Christ comes back to earth and and is then?

Arrested by this Seville by the Grand Inquisitor of Sevilla of Seville in the Spanish Inquisition

You know the the Grand Inquisitor

Takes Christ into the cell and tells him why it's necessary for him to be put to death again

He says, you know, the church has worked diligently to

humanize the impossible load that you've placed on people and

To make it bearable for the common man. And the last thing we need is someone as

perfect as you and

Terrifying as a consequence as a judge because something that perfect is a judge

coming back to mess up all our work and you know, that's a sympathetic portrayal of

Catholicism I would say on or maybe Orthodox Christianity as well that that it had that merciful element that

the demand for perfection was was was was was

Antithetical to but then of course Dostoevsky has the brilliance too when the Grand Inquisitor leaves

hypothetically having

Having sentenced Christ to death he leaves the door open and I've often talked about so true of

Catholicism and Orthodox Christianity

Protestantism as well as that for all their faults and for all the faults that people like Nietzsche and Hitchens and Dawkins


lay at the feet of these traditions

They at least did preserve the tradition and leave the door open and that's not an easy thing to do over the course of centuries

I think the institutions deserve a certain amount of sympathy even though I'm very concerned that they're

Degenerating and disintegrating in a manner that doesn't look easily

forestall able

Can I let me ask you a quick question about the brothers karamazov because you know twice in my life

I tried to read it. And I think I just got bogged down with the Russian names stuff

So I failed both times. I got a little further the second time but then just about six months ago

I got an audio of it cuz I'm in the car all the time in California coming back and forth and

I just about finished with it. I love it. Love it

It finally just it's saying to me as this guy red thing. You know, it's

Amazing how powerful it is on audio. It's wonderful. Wonderful

How do you read first of all the Silence of Christ in the presence of the Inquisitor?

But then secondly his the kiss the kiss on the lips at the end, you know

So he sits in silence as this great accusation is is read

But then kisses him full on the lips at the end

Well, I think I think he accepts the accusation like one of the things you said about Christ in the Gospels

Which I thought was it was

indescribably brilliant was that

Christ not entirely, but it's presented as a figure of mercy

Hmm and you who was wise enough to know that and and he used religious sources for this idea that God


with two hands with mercy and with justice because if it's just mercy then

Well, all it is always forgiving and you have no responsibility and you're an eternal infant

but if it's all justice then look out because every single

transgression you you

You commit you'll be held to account for in some infinite manner and people are so fallible that

Well, you kind of see that happening and on Twitter now, you know if you if you make a mistake

Of any sort at any point in your life

You're you're yeah

roasted over the Earthmen coals for it and no one can stand that because

Everyone makes mistakes. And so there has to be this balance between mercy and justice

you regarded Christ's return in Revelation as

psychologically necessary because

any figure of perfection

Has this element of the judge because the only ideal is a judge? Yeah, and so

you can't bracket that in the name of

because the master category is love right and to be

Sentimental about it love leads to will the good of the other so that always has a judgmental dimensions

because if you have a child or

Yourself? It's like and I felt this when I was a psychotherapist practicing as a psychotherapist. I mean Roger said well you had to have

unconditional love

No, I have unconditional

positive regard for the part of my client again

Driving toward the light and I am a cold enemy with that part against the part

that's trying to drag that person down and then I tell you can I tell you that an entire generation of

Catholic priests was formed under the Rogerian assumption because that's what what my generation got no

I mean

I learned things from Rogers and that whole it

Works in a way when I was doing pastoral ministry and counseling early on as a young priest

You know

that whole idea of just kind of mirroring back to someone what they're saying and giving them the I mean I get it I get

It but I agree with you. There's a severe danger in that if that's all we're doing with people

We're not moving them in the manner of a spiritual teacher

I had a student years ago said to me what we're missing from the church is

Yoda on our shoulders. He meant Yoda on the shoulders of Luke Skywalker

Instructing him and pressing him and telling him what he's doing wrong and how to get going

You know that we were we were all Raji reans me just were unconditionally positive regarding everybody

But we were through it's a great compliment see the other thing that it's made me popular among young people

This is so perverse. I have a hard time believing any of it. Really

I mean the first thing that I have our time believing is that

You know I can

attract audiences of

5,000 people and tell them that the problem with their lives is that they're not bearing nearly enough

Responsibility and that's where they're gonna find the meaning that sustains them. It's a pretty rough message


the second thing is

especially with young people because the message has been v for 50 years and this is part of the humanists from the 1960s is

Well, you're okay the way you are

Yeah, and I think there isn't anything more damning that you're well a young person, right?

Well, you're okay. The way you are especially if they're suffering and nihilistic

Out of well, hi. I want to get out of this state

That's right. They want to crawl right out of their skin. And so you tell them instead no look man

You don't know anything

you're barely beginning your your your your

Suffering because in a sense because you are steeped in sin to an almost unimaginable

Degree, and I'm saying that compassionately right it's mentally and that if you want to put your life together

You have to start small and you have to be careful and awake

and if you do it carefully then you can eliminate these flaws in your

Character that no one's like really celebrating and Clint right light up when you tell them that disc right so strange

it was a real pastoral failure on the part of the church that as I was coming of age because we were we were

Reacting against maybe a hyper stress on sin. So my parents generation probably got that especially sexual sin

So I understand that there was a hyper reaction

But that is exactly the problems you ended up with a generation of Catholics that felt like okay God is love

I'm okay. Everything will be fine

So and there's no energy. There's no direction. There's no sense of purpose. There's no sense of spiritual struggle

No evil

Right. There's no real evil everything dealing with you know situations like Nazi, Germany

Right, right, but no that was a huge pastoral failure one was intellectual as coming-of-age

We became very deeply anti intellectual and this problem of a hyper kind of Rogerian

Raj Aryan ization of our pastoral practice

See, I like to I like Rodgers a lot because one of the things Rogers really taught me to do was to listen

Yeah, right. Yes advice about

listening and then

Restating to people what you heard. Yeah

so this with you that that's unbelievably powerful because it yes course you listen and but Rogers was a

Seminarian and he did dissonance with the idea of evil and the devil fundamentally and he fell into the trap of Rousseau

welcome, you know the idea was that people were basically good and that's just it's such a

devaluation of people to say that they're basically good because it's clearly the case that people have an

unbelievable capacity for

Malevolence that and to me that's that's heartening, you know


like again

I can talk to my audiences and I can say you look you guys just

Sit on the edge of your bed and you think about all the things that you're doing wrong that you know that you're doing wrong

Wait way that you're leading yourself and other people astray those things will come to your mind

momentarily and

imagine briefly where that would take you if you allowed your

imagination to take you to where it could in its depths and everyone norms their head because they bloody well know and they say and

imagine just for a moment that if you have that capacity for

Absolute mayhem and malevolence that the opposite is also true because if there is that darkness and that evil then obviously

The opposite also exists and you and then it's also possible to make a case for people

to people that they can believe

That good has the capability of triumphing over evil, but you don't do that by minimizing evil you do. No

Maximizing evil that's right

I mean

I would say part of spiritual direction is helping people see what they're really capable of and I mean that in the negative sense

Help people to see like I'm really capable of some really wicked business and if I'm hiding from that all the time

I'm suppressing it all the time. That's not the thing because from now a religious standpoint you want to say?

Christ goes all the way down

Now that's the dissent in the healthy, but that happens in us

he goes all the way down in me to the bottom of my

Dysfunction and people like to know if they have ski or he could it's showing that dimension of life

But if we don't do that

Spiritually then they were not understanding the cross right understanding Redemption

Salvation that were healed by this downward journey of the Son of God, but he goes with us there is Dante now

There's the journey downward through all the levels of our dysfunction till you find

I think he's dead right about that. You find some


Dysfunction so the Satan whose wings beat the air and create the you know atmosphere of Hell

There's something in me that it's generating all the different levels of dysfunction

Yeah, but until I find that I'm not going to solve it and I got to go all the way down

no, they don't Inferno is right is that

There's just like there's a hierarchy of good. There's a hierarchy

Right don't take places to be traitors at the bottom weights. Right? Right. Yeah, this is rude because

you know one of the

fundamental necessities of

positive interpersonal existence even with yourself

Much less or let alone other people is trust like essential trust

Yeah, and it's a form of courage. And another thing I talked to my audience is about is trust because

like we we tend in our society of worship naive trust by making the claim that people are basically good and

The problem with that and this is what entices so many young people into that nihilistic. Atheism. Is that

they're taught this idea and

Then they're betrayed very badly by themselves or by some other person and that's the death of innocence. And so then they go from

naivety to cynicism and

Cynicism is actually an improvement over naivety

but but it's not the end and then they don't know that because the next step is to


As a consequence of courage and to say look

I'm going to extend my hand once again to myself or to my friend or to my family member

Despite the fact that I've already been

betrayed and hurt because by extending that hand again I

allowed the person the possibility of redemption and and I open up a space for us to

Rekindle a productive relationship, but that's predicated on courage and not naivety. I know that

it's like it's like

Stretching out a hand to it to a dog that's frightened and barking and looks like looking like it's going to bite. You know, it's

It's still the best way if you're careful to

To establish

peace, let's say with that animal and and

the problem with the betrayers is that they take trust which is

the most fundamental

necessity for interpersonal relationships and then they violate the very

Principle of trust and it undermines everything incident. That's why they're at the bottom of Hell, that's what catches and Brutus Judas are there

Yeah, it reminds me the story of Francis and the wolf of Gubbio Francis, you know

It's like a dream that story Francis reaching out to the animal. That's been that's been

threatening the town

you know and and frightening everybody but Francis has to trust to reach out to the animal maintains it and

then it makes a deal if you feed the animal then he will, you know harm you and so on but it's

Doesn't young save a lot of dreams aren't animals function that way of dimensions of ourselves that were kind of it

Well, that's that's a dream for sure because what again is that? You know, there's a part of you that's ravenous and

Malevolent and not being fed properly right and that's often because you're not attending to it

You're you're putting it in a blind corner

And it's it's acting out because it demands recognition and like people do this with their own

It's the power that gives them integrity. You know, I've had clients and I would say they were more often female than than male

Who had this particular problem, but who had a very acute and judgmental intelligence

Very very bright people, but they were also unbelievably

Agreeable and so their intelligence would report to them something that was not

positive about someone, you know, it would see around the corner it would simply hidden motivation and

reveal a

negative truth and the person temperamental II was so shocked by the revelation that

Instead of regarding it as a genuine insight

They felt that there was something wrong with them for thinking that way and then that's the same thing as keeping that ravenous wolf


unsaid it's like

the the particular client I'm thinking about I spent hours talking to her about what she thought about people because

She was a very pleasant person and it caused her a lot of trouble

She was far too much mercy, and not nearly enough justice and her insights into the malevolent

motivations of people were

Unbelievably accurate and deep. Yeah, almost completely incapable of

allowing that to be real

You ever reminds me of we eventually Coen brothers earlier. They're a remake of True Grit

Remember that the young girl in that who's just she's seized by justice

she wants to get revenge because her father was killed and she just and

People people are dying around her corpses are piling up because she's just going to get what she wants

Where she's bit by the snake, which has a certain archetypal overtone and she loses her arm, you know

But she's carried after the snake bite. She's carried in the two arms of

Rooster Cogburn, you know who's a lawman?

He's a man of justice, but you find out that he's he's also a man of mercy. He's a man of

deep human connection and

The the story is prefaced by the line. There's only one thing in the world that's truly free and that's the grace of God

I just thought it's that wonderful said the grace of God is not just mercy and not just justice

It's the two arms of it. She ends up. She's all justice

So the what harms missing brewster's got the two arms able to carry her, you know

But I think that's what we've been missing a lot in the church is the two arms

We become just too much for Mercy Church in a way

No, you're not you're not giving them hell

Yeah. No, I think there's something right about that and that's the Yoda on your shoulder

so he's there someone who's kind of pushing me and telling me in teaching me and bringing me on that downward journey like

The Virgil move that you're gonna accompany this person all the way down. Now the importance here's like Pope Francis is really good because

Accompaniment and the church is a field hospital. He says for people deeply wounded

That's really right. And we got to accompany people though all the way down

My generation got I think a very superficial sort of you know, everything's okay. God is love and you'll be fine

But that led to a lot of drift and see when my generation came of age and we got hit by life

I can testify there's a lot of my class but they left religion in a heartbeat because we got a very superficial

Childish one-sided approach but then life hits all of us inevitably and the religion had nothing for them


Love is a terrible thing right incursion dreadful thing. No if you love your children

You you don't let them get away with anything right you come on their

transgressions and that's very

I remember

you know this situation with my son when he was about four or five and uh, I

Had a really good have a really good relationship

with my son

You know, I've always

Assumed that he had the capability to make intelligent judgments and expected him to do so from a very early age

Yeah, and you know when he was four

he was talking to me, and I thought he was lying to me and

I didn't know because I couldn't tell but you know

That internal daemon was saying no

There's something that's not right here and I wasn't going to let him get away with it because I couldn't let him

Learn that it was acceptable to do that or that I would put up with it

And so I told him in this weird thing

It's kind of like feral or it's kind of like god hardening Pharaoh's heart. I said look kid

Here's the deal. I

think you're lying to me and

We can't have that

but if you're not I want you to put up like

tremendous fight here to defend yourself

Because if you're being honest well

Then I won't know that but I'm not gonna back off because I don't believe that

what you're saying is true and

so I

went after him, you know for a long while and it did turn out that he was telling me something that wasn't true which

hardly came as a relief, you know, I

mean children do that and it wasn't a surprise to me, but

that love is if you really love someone you

You can't tolerate

when they're less

Than they could be right it hurts. And so when someone comes into the church


It's all forgiveness. Yeah, there's no care there. It's like them. What the hell are you doing?

Look at you. You're addicted. You're yeah, you're you're you're you're you're

Hooked on pornography you cheat on your wife. You're done terrible job at work

It's like you're you don't take care of yourself as like what the hell is wrong with you? It's like where's the real you?

Yeah the person


Who is subject to that as long as it's done with care, you know and not I'm better than you. It's the right thing

It's like god, man


you're nothing like

You should be yeah and if you don't do that you're not willing the good of the other

In fact, you're trying to move into an easy space

if I'm nice this person who'll be nice to me, and we'll all be happy, but that's not

At the beginning of the inferno when Dante you know, he sees the hill with light on it

Oh there that's that's where I need to go. I know I'm lost

I'm in the wood, but that's where I need to go it off. He goes with then he's blocked by the three animals, right?

That's a wolf and the leopard and the line I think

So there's no easy route as the point

There's no easy route to that hill you've got to go down and all the way down

I think we we probably did tell our people that there's two easier route, you know, everything's okay

You're okay god is love but then everyone what is love and love is nice love is harsh and dreadful, right? That's the

thing but

Right and they'll find out soon enough at the road is blocked everyone does but then what's the way forward and there should be

spiritual masters in place

That know exactly what to do the Virgil move. I know what we got to do here

We got to do a searching moral inventory and go all the way down

That's the descent before the ascent, right? You know, right because that's a classical form of man story

It's the story of Exodus is it's part of the reason that people aren't enlightened. It's that if you're gonna go up man

every up is

predicated by a down of equivalent magnitude right because look if you're if you're gonna improve

you're gonna discover that you're wrong about something first and

Then to be wrong about something means you're going to fragment and it's going to be painful

to recognize the fact of that error to recognize the consequences of that error across your life to have to

Reformulate yourself so that that error is no longer

Acting out as as part of your personality in your life. It's it's

Unbelievable dissent yeah

That's another thing that that this is part of the reason why for all the respect I have for Joseph Campbell

You know Campbell says follow your bliss

that is certainly not something that young said because you said

You'd search out what you're most terrified of and what you're most disgusted by and the place you least want to go

Where you have to bow the lowest and that's the place where salvation might be found. And that's like I

Believe that's true, and I believe it's terrifying

the the pathway to

Redemption is through recognition of error not through bliss


Where Campbell got enamored of a kind of mindless Buddhism? Yeah

The only way up is down and that's that's in all the spiritual teachers or it go back to Origen

You mentioned Exodus, you know where he says that the Egyptians and the Israelites symbolized

The best of us is often in slow lane to the worst of us, honey

the Egyptians the slave masters represent the worst instincts in us and the most twisted and

Dysfunctional aspects of us and the Israelites symbolized he felt in our creativity our intelligence our courage all these good things our friendship

forward yeah

but the best of us is enslaved the worst of us and so you got to come to terms with who are the

Egyptians in you and they're making you do two things. He says they're making you build fortified cities for them

So we take the best of ourselves to build fortifications around the worst of ourselves to protect them and they build monuments

Hey look at me so I mean how much of life he says is spent doing those two

dysfunctional things defending the worst of ourselves and then building monuments to the worst of ourselves would

Get free of that and get to the promised land but I mean he was the original master of all that

Psychodynamic reading I think of these of these texts. It's also surprising that so few people know

what a

Multiplicity of readings. Yeah Bible has actually

Because we live up on this goofy fundamentalism, which is a 20th century phenomenon Scopes trial stuff and all that

We in America especially but in the West we got hung up on it

You mean Agustin who is deeply indebted to origin?

You've got these very creative interpretive strategies in place around Genesis

For example, it's not literalism by any means and that's we're talking origin. We're talking the third century. You're in a a second century

Agustin fourth century. These are really early figures and these are

Thinkers, right? They're not hung up on is the realism right? So I yes, we need to recover that

I think even as as Christians our own

biblical interpretive tradition

So, what are you hoping for in the coming year for you and for what you're doing?

Am I hoping for him

What would you like to see happen as a consequence of what you're doing? And what what do you think you are doing?

I mean you're on this public I wouldn't call it a crusade

But you're you're engaging with the public, you know in a new way and it seems to be it seems to be quite successful

Tim what do you think it is that you're doing? Right? And what would you like to see happen as a consequence of that? I?

think what I'm what I'm doing right is

Beginning with the Semyon of Araby is the Church Fathers idea

the seeds of the word the seeds of the word are everywhere or that's the bits of the

Fragmented Catholicism that are found in the culture. So I tend to begin with the culture and lead from there

I think that is more winsome

So I tend not to begin with a lot of preaching or you know

A moralizing approach but begin with a cultural approach and I think that's been more

Appealing. I mean if I wanted to my ultimate goal is I want to bring people to faith in Christ in the Catholic Church

I mean, that's my ultimate goal. I'm an evangelizer, but I'm using certain methods to try to draw people to that point

realizing that there's an awful lot of

Obstacles in the way, you know, I'm trying to kick open some doors

I'm trying to part of it is to help people with their intellectual blocks. There's so many especially younger people

They're just stuck

Because certain intellectual objections have occurred to them and they heard them from their university professors or whatever

To clear up some of that to knock over some of those obstacles that's part of it

But then to open up and I think that's what you're doing to I mean open up the richness of this spiritual tradition

Because it makes people it's not just an intellectual

Feast it saves your soul, you know, that's what I want to do. I want to help people

You know your fellow Canadian Charles Taylor the great Catholic philosopher

Talks about the buffered self the self that's caught in his little space and there's no sense of a link to the transcendent

That's what I'm trying to do

I'm trying to knock holes in the in the buffer itself and let in some light from a higher, you know dimension of reality

So I mean ultimately is to bring people to salvation and say so I want to do

But knock some holes through the buffer itself. I want to keep doing that

And I said this I was in in Rome and I told where we're this month-long Synod with the Pope on

Young people and I was elected to go to that Synod and it was interesting

you know, what's our strategy for reaching young people and I said

I think a miracle of Providence right now is we have this massive problem of young people leaving

But we have this new tool of the social media

Which we didn't have I mean heck 10 years ago

We couldn't do this

but now we can reach out to young people into their space because it's Catholic we tend to say what

Programs can we develop you know lecture series that we can develop what people are coming to our institutions for all kinds of reasons

But we can sort of move into their space with the social media

So that's kind of how I see what I'm up to and you know trying to do

With all those beautiful cathedrals

Yeah, well, that's um, I wrote about them years ago. I studied in parents

I studied in Paris and I used to give tours at Notre Dame and I was a doctoral student

I was a priest but a doctoral student and we were told by the tour guides now don't talk about religion

we were just meant to talk about you know, how tall the building was and what it was fill but I used it to

sermonize really to talk about the Christian faith and

I've written a little book on the spirituality of the

you know, I'd like to I'd like to read that I mean

Is there a decent bibliography in that book? Because I know?

Cathedral architecture

Knowin, I am to the little I broke this years ago is a little book of kind of spiritual meditation

So it wouldn't be you know with a academic apparatus

But I read a lot of those books at the time and loved the cathedrals too because they're they're just talk about you know

Like moving into a dream space of archetypal realities are all over the place

Chart is my favorite place in the world. Maybe my favorite

Covered space in the world is Chartres Cathedral?


Don't think anything is richer. I'm ever spending a weekend there. I went down from Paris on a Friday

Just got a hotel room and I stayed there till Mass on Sunday and I made sure I saw everything in it

I walked all around the outside all over the inside and

The my old testament imagination was so engaged by shark, you know

Because there's your thing about the the allegorical they read the Old Testament in constant relation to Christ, you know as the fulfillment

And the sculpture the sculpture is just incomprehensible

Are real medieval windows from the 13th century

Nothing sings to me more just a way it situated the topography of it

you know, you kind of come up to shark and when you go back behind it you

You take the pilgrims route up to it. And all of that. The pilgrims journey is implicit there, but the windows look like

They look like diamonds on him on a black velvet background

They're like tools and it's that it's the shining jewels of the New Jerusalem. So there's the anagogical sense

It's all about the journey to heaven and then the the labyrinth which unfortunately has been kind of co-opted by a new agey

Spirituality with the original labyrinth that most of the ones we see today imitate is there sure. Yes

Extraordinary I walked it what did several times and it's a very powerful

Experience anyway sure has all of that in it and more, you know

Yes. Well, it's such a shame that these

These buildings, you know, you see what happened in Europe

I don't understand it is that Europe went through this several hundred years long period of time where

beauty was

worshiped in

A profound way and see that manifested in the construction of these great

cathedrals that took centuries to build and they were these people were

Well, the bricklayer wasn't just laying bricks

The bricklayer was building a cathedral to go honoring God know which is how our life should be, right

Yeah, every little thing that we do should be imbued without higher vision

Which is possible if you have that higher vision, you know that the contribution of that

vision to Europe and to world cultures is

Absolutely priceless. I mean people make pilgrimages from all over the world to view these


beautiful and complex buildings and they were driven by a spirit that was


unconquerable, but certainly of

Sufficient potency even in a fundamentally atheistic age to pull people in for reasons. They don't even understand just the


At what at the daring of the architects and it talked about a door or window?

Transcendence and that's a way of punching through the buffer itself those cathedrals and don't get me started on church architecture to last

You know like 4050 years when we largely adopted the kind of brutalist modernism within catharsis and built

What bolts are called that the great barns, you know?

These spaces and we wonder you know, well

Then why are the young people leaving in droves the church building itself didn't sing to them in any way?

Which they used to do even though we like imitation gothic buildings from them from the 1930s

but man a young Catholic coming of age at that time was

surrounded by the imagery of the faith and the whole narrative of salvation, and I was just an

Incarnation of stone. Yeah talked about part of the

Goal of salvation

Let's say to bring everything together to have everything come together

Kind of integrity and right with a kind of integrity in any union and of course music

Portrays that better than anything else as far as I'm concerned and those cathedrals were symphonies in stone



portrayed architectural e-exactly with music attempts to portray

orally, and and and it works I mean

It works. Oh gosh. Yeah, and they're comfortable has no belief

Right, absolutely. And you know, it's a bit of a cliche to say it, but the

Summa of Aquinas and the Divine Comedy of Dante are like that. They that same kind of quality of of

Integration and like the whole of life being on display and that's part of what fell apart

You know that we that we we needed the critique of enlightenment for sure

I mean I get it we needed that in a lot of different ways but sadly often that critique got overstated and we baby bathwater

Phenomenon and and a lot of the the integrity was compromised

How do you keep the critique without throwing out the substance?

You know

It's been one of the struggles

And much of the of the theology of the last couple hundred years has been so conditioned by the Enlightenment criticism

I mean I get it and take it in for sure

But don't so condition your theology by that critique that you lose all this stuff that we're talking about

Now that has the soul transforming power well

This is so necessary is that it's there's something

what's required is a re emphasis on the potential nobility of the human being and

and the moral responsibility

To make that nobility and reality don't even talk about words like that. Like I used the word nobility in my

Lectures and it's such an archaic word. It's like we should have noble goal

It's like who what child is told that now? Yeah, no

We're built for nobility

Well, you're a psychotherapist obviously

But it seems to me that we're so concerned about people's feelings and that the feelings getting hurt or getting repressed

Thing that we're afraid if we use that language of a noble aspiration or come on you can do better. Okay

You've got a serious problem that it'll awaken such negative feelings leading eventually to you know

Self-mutilation or suicide at the limit that were so afraid of that that were were reluctant to use the language of nobility

and yes, well, we're we're afraid of hurting people's feeling and feelings in the present and

willing to

absolutely sacrifice their well-being in the future and that's the sign of a very immature and unwise culture because

The rehearse should be the case then, you know

It's like look you said already there's no up without down. Yeah, and that initial conversation

when you lay things bare and you put everything out on the table and you discuss what the problems are and

Maybe the potential solutions now, that's a rough conversation

Yeah, you know it's it's almost more than people can bear but if it's a discussion of reality

Well, they're already bearing it

And at least they're placing it on the table

Indicates that well that there's someone who's willing to listen and it isn't so terrible that yeah like Voldemort

It can't be made right, you know, that's been exactly my argument

I alluded to it earlier that when you say ah

we got

Too much for people to take see but but life is gonna force it on them life will force them into this and then there

Won't be any wisdom or guide to help them with it

So if we say look I'm so concerned about sparing people's feelings

Heck life doesn't care what your feelings are on teacher doesn't care about your feelings

He was very theory and

I think this is a psychotherapeutic

Truism is that if you're going to confront a monster and you most certainly are yeah

Then you do it at a time and place of your choosing


Because otherwise it waits until you're at your weakest and most vulnerable and then it attacks

and so there is no

Monster free pathway for no that's right to prepare

as a knight of christ

Let's say so that when it comes you're there or in fact

confronting it at its weakest point or you cower and you wait and it

devours you and then those are your options and we don't have the

wisdom of the kind of pessimism that enables us to view life that way we think well if we're careful and we're quiet

Well, the monster will avoid this completely and everyone knows that's a lie. Yeah. Oh gosh

Yeah, do you find this because sometimes when I use this language?

People say well, yeah, that's great for the young men

But the young ladies don't respond to it

But years ago my niece who's now she's what almost thirty I guess when she was about seventeen. They took her

I'm one of these these nature things, you know

They took the kids out into the woods and they had to hike and they had to build their own

Campfire and then they had to afford

Streams and they had, you know, some of these really demanding things where they were up against nature and up against life

Managed she come back

Utterly transformed as a human being in a way that religion had never done

She would Catholic all her life going to Mass her uncle's a bishop

There's nothing in in the in our faith that changed her the way that experience clearly changed her


Ask me a question on my Q&A this month, she said that her friends are really down on her because she

claims to not be a feminist but even more importantly because she wants to have children and they're telling her that

Only an evil and cruel person would bring a child into the world

is terrible and and worse to do the damage to the planet that that child will

really do and people are very serious about this and they're very hard on young women and like I always think of the peda

You know because I kind of think of it as the as the Christian equivalent of the crucifix, you know

you have married there with her broken son in her arms, and I think that

The great adventure for women at least in part. This is the maternal adventure is to bring

into the world knowing full well that the consequences the consequence is a

Crucifixion like

Brokenness, yeah

and that it's still a mark of faith in the possibilities of being to participate in that and

Not to hide from it and to say well despite everything

I'm going to act out my faith in life and in the

Possibilities of being and I'm going to bring someone into the world who would be a net force for good rather than evil

And that's my moral

obligation and I think to present that to young women as a

major part of the adventure of their life, which is the truth is something that's

Attractive to form of them. They would be likely to admit it in today's

Time and age. Yeah, I'm glad to use the word faith there because just a couple days ago. We had the feast of st

Joseph you know and Joseph in the New Testament is like Abraham and the Old Testament is the paradigmatic person of faith, right?

So I was talking to a group of high school kids

And I said, okay listen to me everybody

I know you're gonna hear this from your professors in college and you probably hear it already that faith means

you know being

uncritical and you accept any old nonsense on the basis of no evidence that it's superstition and

look, we're against that I speak as a Catholic faith and reason we don't want anything sub rational anything that it's a

Lie, and and you know it that's irresponsible

Anything it's stupid. And you know it it's irresponsible to accept it

So that's not faith, you know, but I said what close what you just said faith in the Bible is this willingness to risk?

Under the Providence of God some great adventure. Yeah

Here's Joseph, you know they can

Yeah. No, I think that's that's it. And that's what faith means in the Bible

It doesn't mean oh, I'm an idiot and just tell me any old nonsense

I'll believe it means no

It means that adventure right? The other thing is that one of the things I really learned from reading the Abrahamic stories is that

The fundamental call is to is it called to adventure?


easier to happiness and and even the venture the part of the

relationship with God that's part of that adventure is

Wrestling with God. Yeah, yeah

Itself means it's another aspect of that strange element of belief is like what is it to believe?

Well, it means to adopt this moral burden, but it also means to wrestle with God, you know, right and not to not to

blindly accept


Blandishments that knowing with any sense would ever swallow, right?

but I think we've been again pretty bad at

propagating that if the new atheists have got an awful lot of traction with that idea that religious people are just sort of naive and

superstitious and

Uncritical then we haven't explained very well what we mean by faith

With courage no, right and and but then under the guidance of a spiritual

Master that that will help you through that and push you toward the edge and help you navigate those waters

And that's Dante got that all of our great spiritual teachers have it, but we've not been good at that in my judgment, you know

Well, maybe we'll learn before it's too late


Guess I should probably stop with

Gosh, we have got one time

It was really a pleasure talking with you. Yeah, I loved it Jordan. Thank you very much. I do this delighted

I'd like to have another conversation a darker one. I would say I've been reading a book

Have you ready in the closet of the Vatican? Okay today I did agree. It's a bad book, but let me talk about it

I'll be happy to

More prepared for it because I'm prepared for it enough yet

I did read it because I figured everybody would be talking about it. And it's it's a bad book in many ways

Meaning I think it's poorly researched and all that but sure let's talk about it. All right

Well, let's call it a date. All right. All right, great. Thank you for having me on

well, thank you for coming on and

we'll get this up and out as soon as possible both in YouTube and

Foreman nice and I guess we'll see what the consequences are. We'll see you do find out on YouTube pretty quickly you do

more power to you as far as I'm concerned and and and

Thank you very much for spending the time speaking with me today. Yeah, god bless you. Thanks

Bye bye, okay

The Description of Bishop Barron: Word on Fire