"The favorite trick of the enemy of the Church is to divide us against ourselves…"

A terrific talk — and a very timely one, I think — from one of my favorite preachers, Fr. Robert Barron.  (Hey, when are they gonna make him a monsignor — or better, yet, a bishop?)

His message: God’s grace is everywhere, even among those we might not expect.

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24 responses to “"The favorite trick of the enemy of the Church is to divide us against ourselves…"”

  1. Bob Barron is like Classic Coke, he’s the Real Thing. I published his first book when he was in his early 30s and have enjoyed watching him continue to grow in wisdom and grace. Thanks for sharing his inspiring sermon with us, Greg,and for a consistently helpful website! Don’t know how you do it!

  2. I asked that same question myself but then wondered, “would Fr. Barron really be as effective as he is–both in person and on the Internet–if he assumed all the responsibilities of a Bishop?”

    I think God may use Fr. Barron more effectively as a priest than as a Bishop. (That said, I think him becoming a bishop is inevitable.)

  3. Fr. Barron is an excellent preacher. But why take the authority out of the Pope’s hands as to “why” Fr. B. is not raised higher. There are many excellent preacher and pastors in the Church who never are elevated beyond where they are. What of the Cure of Ars – to mention but one. It seems to me that all too often we seem to think of the Church as American Idol or some other secular games of idol worship. Why not simply enjoy the priest for who he is and what he is doing?

  4. who could have possibly been a more effective priest and witness to God’s word than Bishop Fulton Sheen? Father Barron’s ability to gather our focus toward heaven is his gift and ours.

  5. Amazing that the first example Fr. Barron makes is the Tolkien LotR reference. Well said it was. Tolkien himself in Book 2 of LotR, actually had a character say:

    “Indeed in nothing is the power of the Dark Lord more clearly shown that in the estrangement that divides those who […] oppose him”

  6. I’m a huge fan of Father Barron, as I was/am of Bishop Fulton Sheen, Father Groschel, and no secret, Father Corapi.

    I’m not tyring to stir the pot here, only making the point that when priests speak/teach rock solid unwatered down truth in a way that resonates with us, (obviously different styles work better for different situations and different people), why are we so wrong to “tune in?”

    Again, not trying to be insulting or provocative, but truly want to understand, what makes Father Barron NOT the “Cult of Personality” that we Corpai followers are accused of? I don’t have any more attachment to Father Barron than I do for Father Corapi or had for Bishop Sheen. They have all been great teachers and have moved me along in my spiritual journey. It’s the TRUTH that they teach that I’m “addicted to” for lack of a better way to say it.

    If tomorrow Father Barron gets accused (rightly or wrongly), I will give him the same benefit of the doubt and defense I gave to Father Corapi.

    If someone could explain the difference, I’m all ears, seriously.

  7. Father Barron describes himself first and foremost as an “evangelist”. I really find his commentaries on YouTube very helpful. He can see and relate the Gospel message to anything and everything. That is what he sees first… the first and most important thing! Thank you Father Barron.
    And thank you Deacon Greg for your blog…I check it to read it just about everyday.

  8. Yes! Klaire makes a good point. The “cult of personality” can be a trap.

    When Father Barron starts getting a tan and dyeing his goatee…I’ll worry!

  9. If Jesus was God; and he was, perhaps he wasn’t having a bad day when he said.”Thou art Peter and upon this rock I will build my Church.” This sermon makes a good point about the fact that Christians are all sinners with sinful egos that may get in the way of grace. What troubles me is that it seems to ignore the efficacy of grace imparted through the Church. It also requires a huge leap of faith that grace flows due to the actions of our egos. Is that Catholic Dogma? I find the statement than when my ego gets involved God will stop sending grace. I doubt that God gives that much weight to my ego movements. Isn’t the Church and it’s teachings “the deposit of Faith” supposed to help us form good consciences so we can usually discern what is really good despite our sinful weaknesses. All that glisters surely is not gold and I for one do not wish to be left to my own wicked devices.

  10. I’m just finding time to watch now. I’ve only watched the first minute, as I write, but am looking for the readings for the day he delivered this homily. I would prefer to read those before watching, but still hopeful that I can benefit. Thanks.

  11. Beautiful beautiful analysis of the Word, nice application to life. I could see and hear the passion of a pastor in that voice and in those gesture. May God bring us all to a burning zeal for the propagation of His word. Well done Father Bob

  12. Fr. Barron’s special gift is that of preaching, of evangelizing, of producing “Word on Fire” so that his preaching can reach people everywhere. I also wonder if he could be as effective if he were carrying the additional burden of administering a diocese. In his current position is a priest to all. As a Bishop, he would be the pastor of the few. Now, it is up to the Spirit to lead as He pleases! But I would like to see Fr. Barron remain as he is: a priest for all of us.

  13. As a way to at least partially answer Klaire:

    If we look to 1 Corinthians 1 v10-13, Paul gives us a warning similar to the “cult of personality” trap:

    “I mean that each of you is saying,’ I belong to Paul,’ or ‘I belong to Apollos,’ or ‘I belong to Cephas,’ or ‘I belong to Christ.’ Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?”

    Today we could substitute Fr Corapi, Fr Barron, Bishop Sheen, Padre Pio, (or even Deacon Greg?) for those. I am not saying it is the case we are belonging to these men, but the appearance could be construed as such. Much like many Evangelicals believe we Catholics “worship Mary”. We do not. However, there are those whose devotion and veneration of Mary, may make it seem as though we do worship her. If these wonderful people have heightened our Faith, or given us a way to better Love Our Lord, that is fantastic. But I believe each one of them would want us to give glory and worship to God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit; while only humbly asking for us to pray for them also.

    I hope this helps. And I wish I had a small portion of the Deacon’s “gift of the written gab.”

  14. Thanks Jim. I think you made my point, in that many “falsely assumed” we Corapi fans were more in love with Father Corapi than Truth itself.

    I can only speak for myself, and that is to say my soul is starved for Truth, and will “listen” to it from any messanger, regardless of race, religion, sex, rich, poor, good looking, bad looking, or even with our without a suntan. The Holy Spirit works in very interesting and unsuspecting ways, sometimes making the “messanger” those whom we least expect. Dr, Peter Kreeft often makes the point that the Mormans and Muslims, both heretical religions, are more faithful in their “half truths” than most Catholics are in our “Whole Truth.”

    IMO, the whole crux of this “Corapi Division” has been many not understanding that some people are simply starved for Truth, period. Father Barron and Father Corapi might have a bit of difference in their styles, but what makes people like me pay attention and listen is the courage to speak it; the rest is irrelevant. The only goal is to be fed, not to be a member of the “Priest Idol Club.”

    Leonard regarding grace, EVERYTHING is grace, period. In sin, we “block it”, except for the grace for redemption. Other than that, we need the ego out of the way and even then, despite being given grace, we have to be receptive to it, which is an act of our own will.

  15. Klaire:

    There’s a huge difference between Barron and Corapi. All you have to do is to compare how the two package and market the message. Barron always points to the truth and to the Church and to Christ. Corapi points to himself and ultimately gives the very strong impression that he is selling himself and his story. Do you know anything about Barron’s background or personal history? No – because he doesn’t use it – he is all about the Faith – not about whatever fascination his own story might hold.

    And more to the Deacon’s point. I think my prayer would be that God preserve Fr. Barron from being a bishop. I would think that Deacon Kandra – knowing how dioceses work and how a bishop’s time is sucked up by administrative and legal tasks as well as being deeply responsible for the state of the presbyterate in his diocese – would know that. Let Fr. Barron stay free to preach.

  16. Hi Klaire,

    I would aggree that everything that comes from God is Good or a Grace. I would agree that “everything” can be accepted with grace (even horrors like war, violent crimes, human sacrifice, torture, cannibalism, tsunami’s etc.) and that even the greatest misfortunes and suffering can be occasions of grace. When the the ego supplants God then it certainly blocks grace and will wither. When the ego conforms itself to serving God and neighbor it does much better. If we didn’t have egos we would have nothing to join with Christ and sacrifice back to God. I still think we need to have and pay close attention to the teachings of the Catholic Church to help us to truly discern Good from Evil.

  17. Ed I have to respectfully disagree with you simply owing to the fact that nothing is more powerful as a witness to Christ than a radical conversion story. Think about it, how does anyone go from evil to good in a radical way? It can only be Christ and grace.

    FYI, have a nephew who is now a cloistered monk, praying for the world, because of Father Corapi. He is also consecrated to the Blessed Mother, again from the seeds of Truth of Father Corapi. When he left us to be cloistered, I specifically asked him what “one” thing was most responsible for his conversion. His answer without hesitation was Father Corapi, as my nephew also had a “radical past” of which you will just have to take my word. And, the only reason he even knew of Corapi is that his parents are huge fans and always have EWTN on in the house. One day, the Truth from the TV of Father Corapi teaching the faith hit his soul, and the rest is history.

    Do I think Father Corapi is “better” or worse than Father Barron, absolutely not. My whole point has been that Truth comes to us via a variety of messangers, including different styles and backgrounds of priests. And our greatest example of course is St. Augustine, probably a “Corapi” in his day. Would you advise St. Augustine to not share his story? If so, you would be hard pressed to find a converted sinner who didn’t or doesn’t relate to Augustine or Corapi, at least in some way. It’s a great witness to see how God can work in we the sinners.

    All said, we all relate to different sytles, and that’s exactly why, I would guess, that God made so many different styles of the teachers of the Faith. I personally find personal conversion stories and examples extremely powerful, as I was an “Augustine and Corapi” myself in certain ways, and still of course, in need of much perfection.

    To Leoanrd, I agree, and also that we all need a “healthy” ego, which is in fact, true humility, as humility when it’s all boiled down is simply truth. For example, it would be “false humility” for Deacon Greg or Elizabeth Scalia to say, “Oh, I’m not really a very good writer.” The truth is, they are both excellent writers. It’s not arrogance to acknowledge God’s gifts, it’s actually humility. That IS CC teaching, and yes, I learned it from Father Corapi:)

  18. John:

    Does not need to be. You can see him anytime on his website, not when convenient for WGN.

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