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Catholic author, speaker and theologian Fr. Robert Barron is also the founder of the global media ministry Word on Fire (www.WordOnFire.org).

Catholic author, speaker and theologian Fr. Robert Barron is also the founder of the global media ministry Word on Fire (www.WordOnFire.org).

One of the gifts of Christmas family reunions (that, with the size and spread of a very large extended family only happen every ten years or so) is meeting a long-lost relative who you can get to know a bit and fall in love with. My aunt Sally raised six children without killing herself, used to have her own radio show, listens to British stand-up-comedy, can recite poetry at the drop of a hat, and knows a whole lot more Catholic theology than I do.

Anyway, Sally (whose contributions you may see more of) sent along this short but wonderfully insightful clip from Fr. Barron. (If you’ve been a regular at this intersection between life and God, you met Barron earlier talking about the movie The Tree of Life.) Here Fr. Barron reflects on what it means that Pope Francis was TIME Magazine’s “Person of the Year” in 2013. Fr. My biggest takeaway from the clip is Barron’s three-fold understanding of the role of the church, meant as a critique of the original TIME article on Francis. The church, Fr. Barron instructs, exists to 1) care for the poor 2)worship God and 3) evangelize. When one or more of these elements is missing, the church is not being the church or fulfilling the mission of God. Contrary to Kant’s understanding of religion as pure ethics (which Barron views as directly responsible for the whole “it doesn’t matter what you believe so long as you’re a good person” mantra that we often hear these days), Barron wants to reclaim the necessity of doctrine and evangelism.

But what do you think is the source of the world’s sudden enchantment with Pope Francis? And, do you agree with Fr. Barron’s critique of the TIME article?

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