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?

More from Beliefnet and our partners
previous posts

Friend and author Amy Simpson, whose forthcoming book Blessed Are the Unsatisfied hits book shelves in February 2018, is also a coach and thought leader on issues related to mental health. Amy recently invited me to share some reflections in a guest post for her blog. Explore these “3 Tips for Coping With Today’s Biggest […]

This past week an overwhelming majority of America’s Christians went to the polls to vote in a candidate whose campaign targeted women, Muslims, minorities and people with disabilities as scapegoats, and whose televised rallies brimmed with hate language and bullying antics that until now my children had thought were not allowed on the playground (but […]

This evening a whole gaggle of Canadian geese were crossing the last 200 yards of narrow road leading to the monastery retreat house. As usual I’d been in a hurry and was running late to catch dinner and a room key… The geese stopped me. Like mini orange flippers shuffling off to the local pool […]

On the heels of last week’s heartbreaking events nationwide — in Baton Rouge, Minneapolis and Dallas —I’ve been reading philosopher and novelist Rebecca Newberger Goldstein’s book, Plato at the Googleplex: Why Plato Won’t Go Away. The question that preoccupied the ancient Greeks, Goldstein observes, is one that preoccupies us today, too — and maybe most […]