I believe in the mission of Word on Fire

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Ever since I discovered and began listening to Word on Fire so many years ago, I have always been captivated and elated by Bishop Barron’s commentary on culture, current affairs, and Christocentric theology. It helps me to know Christ better. And the more you know about Christ, the more you will love him. I even spoke to Bishop Barron once on the phone in connection with my job at CatholicTV where we aired his programs. So the recent controversies involving his department and their handling of a former employee’s sexual misconduct weighed heavily on my heart and mind. So I felt compelled to write something about it. If you need to catch up on the situation, here is the latest article from ‘The Pillar’ on the current situation.

Resigning employees call for change amid Word on Fire controversy (pillarcatholic.com)

I don’t know the full extent of the situation, probably because reports of this incident only came out of a few different sources. The original source for the news came from an internet writer named Chris Damian. And from my reading of the article, it came across as more like gossip than real credible evidence of wrongdoing. Think of a less formal Church Militant hit. The series of articles from a few different sources and WOF read like a He Said She Said type argument. This latest Pillar article, however, points more to an atmosphere at Word on Fire that likely needs fixing.

Jackie and Bobby Angel, two well-known Catholic writers, have resigned from their posts at Word on Fire. The Angels also worked closely with Fr. Mike Schmitz and Ascension Presents. Here’s what they said in a resignation letter.

We believe in the mission and principles of Word on Fire, but not at any cost, and certainly not at the expense of our mental health. Any ministry that speaks the truth with love will receive a spiritual attack, but it is the lack of leadership, communication and organizational principles that has brought us here.

This resignation letter was obtained by The Pillar. Damian’s ordinal article was from an undercover recording of a WOF staff meeting in October 2021. Somehow these lonely Catholic web writers seem to be getting secret information from some share and we only have their word that they are authentic and true.

From the statement of the Angel, I have two conclusions.

  1. As much as I love WOF, it’s not beyond critical.
  2. Some changes need to be made to Word on Fire. What is it, I don’t know.
  3. The mission and principles of Word on Fire are still worth keeping.

Someone on FB summed it up nicely in this statement.

Alexander: I hope this will lead to what seems like much needed reform within their organizational structure and decision-making, and that Word on Fire can come out of this stronger and more effective for evangelism than they are. have never been.

I have other conclusions about the situation by talking to other people, reading different commentaries on the situation and listening to Bishop Barron for years. I also conclude that

  1. Bishop Barron is a good and honest man.
  2. Bishop Barron’s Derangement Syndrome is real.

People seem to dislike Bishop Barron for different reasons. Some of the reasons include liking Jordan Peterson, praising a book written by Fr. James Martin, saying something nice about Martin Luther, not saying enough about racism, not saying enough against marriage gay, saying too much about being woke, not telling Ben Shapiro he’s going to hell, hoping people don’t go to hell, praising Vatican 2, not focusing on the right Vatican 2 documents, criticizing a particular politician at one time and not criticizing another for another reason they should have had, blocking certain people on social media (seemed to hurt someone’s feelings a) and drink coffee while sitting in front of the Blessed Sacrament.

What is the National Catholic Journalist and church militant have in common? They don’t like Bishop Barron. For example, they both complain about the WOF series Catholicism. Click on the links to read the complaints.

My big complaint would be that in a Q&A with kids, his answers to the kids’ questions were too high above their heads.

When this scandal happened, those with a grievance against WOF and Bishop Barron were only too eager to believe it. As I said above, I’m not saying WOF doesn’t need changes, but I’m saying Catholics left and right are unfair to him and criticize him for not aligning with their understanding of the Catholic faith.

Thanks to Bishop Barron, I learned that God does not need me and that is good news. He emphasized that Jesus must be the center of the wheel of my life. Love is wanting the good of the other as another. He struggled to understand biblical passages and made them affectionate and intelligent. His work and ministry highlighted the validity of the Second Vatican Council, the importance of saints and other Catholics in history, and gave us a chance to dive deep and immerse ourselves in the written word of God. Bishop Barron demonstrated that you can turn any film or book into a catechetical lesson. It gives me hope that God will extend his mercy to those who seem to have missed mercy. Recently he gave the average Catholic a chance to pray the Liturgy of the Hours more easily by printing a monthly magazine which contains a monthly reading of the Divine Office in an easy physical format.

In this last major section of this article, I want to share some thoughts from theologian Larry Chapp. These comments are from a FB post.

[Bishop Barron] is unfairly treated by many. None of us are perfect and Bishop Barron has his flaws. I myself have some quarrels with him. Nevertheless, because of his success at Word on Fire, and because he has now built such a huge platform that reaches millions, there are those in the Church who wish he would use this platform to push their ecclesial hobbyhorses and get angry with him. when he doesn’t. The left doesn’t like him because he doesn’t talk enough about racism and other related issues. The right hates him because he seems too angry with Francis, Vatican II and the Novus Ordo.

And many people want him to criticize his fellow bishops more and talk more about the abuse scandals. So it’s weird…the more he succeeds, the crazier they get. And his success is real and substantial and not just fleeting popularity. What he produces is first rate and has a very positive impact in the Church. Its detractors do not take into account the objectives of Word on Fire. Who is its target audience. What is his methodology of evangelism. Because if they got that, they would know that everything would be destroyed quickly if Word on Fire became just one more platform filled with invectives and “attacks” and endless debates on burning church issues. What CS Lewis did in “Mere Christianity” is what Barron does with Word on Fire. It is in a sense an attempt to present ‘simple Catholicism’ in all its beauty but without all the current animosities on various ‘issues’.Larry Chapp

I think that pretty much sums up Bishop Barron and his detractors. Here is Dr. Chapp interviewing Bishop Barron.

Think what you will of Bishop Barron, but he helped me love knowing more about Jesus and the more you know about Jesus the more you will love him. This is why I believe in the mission and principles of Word on Fire and they deserve to be preserved. I know Bishop Barron is a good man and I pray that God will move him accordingly to resolve all the issues there so he can continue to bring Jesus to the culture as a whole.


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