Biography:Robert Barron

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Short description: Prelate of the Catholic Church, author, scholar and Catholic evangelist
His Excellency The Most Reverend

Robert Emmet Barron
Bishop of Winona-Rochester
Bishop Robert Barron 2023 (2).jpg
Barron in 2022
ChurchCatholic Church
AppointedJune 2, 2022
InstalledJuly 29, 2022
PredecessorJohn M. Quinn
OrdinationMay 24, 1986
by Joseph Bernardin
ConsecrationSeptember 8, 2015
  • José Horacio Gómez
  • Joseph M. Sartoris
  • Blase J. Cupich
Personal details
Birth nameRobert Emmet Barron
Born (1959-11-19) November 19, 1959 (age 63)
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
Previous post
  • Auxiliary Bishop of Los Angeles and Titular Bishop of Macriana (2015-2022)
  • President–Rector of University of St. Mary of the Lake/Mundelein Seminary (2012–15)
Alma mater
  • The Catholic University of America (BA, MA)
  • University of St. Mary of the Lake (STL)
  • Institut Catholique de Paris (STD)

Philosophy career
AwardsList of awards
EraContemporary philosophy
RegionWestern philosophy
Nouvelle theologie
Virtue ethics[1]
Main interests

Template:Infobox bishopstyles

Ordination history of
Robert Barron
Episcopal consecration
Consecrated byJosé Horacio Gómez
DateSeptember 8, 2015

Robert Emmet Barron (born November 19, 1959) is an American prelate of the Catholic Church who has served as bishop of the Diocese of Winona-Rochester since 2022.[9] He is the founder of the Catholic ministerial organization Word on Fire, and was the host of Catholicism, a documentary TV series about Catholicism that aired on PBS. He served as rector at Mundelein Seminary from 2012 to 2015 and as auxiliary bishop for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles from 2015 to 2022.

Barron has published books, essays, and articles on theology and spirituality. He is a religion correspondent for NBC and has also appeared on Fox News, CNN, and EWTN. He has been informally called the "bishop of social media" and the "bishop of the Internet".[10][11]

(As of November 2022), Barron's regular YouTube videos have been viewed over 116 million times; he has over 3 million followers on Facebook, 360,000 on Instagram, and 215,000 on Twitter.[12][13] In addition, he has been invited to speak about religion at the headquarters of Amazon, Facebook, and Google. He has keynoted several conferences and events over the world, including the 2016 World Youth Day and the 2015 World Meeting of Families.

Barron's 2016 film series, Catholicism: The Pivotal Players, was syndicated for national television in the United States.


Early life

Robert Barron was born on November 19, 1959, in Chicago. He is of Irish descent. He spent his childhood first in Detroit, then in the Chicago suburb of Western Springs. His mother was a homemaker, and his father, who died in 1987, was a national sales manager for John Sexton & Company, a national food distributor.[14][15] He has a sister and a brother, John Barron, who is the Sun-Times Media Group's publisher.[16]

Barron started reading the works of Thomas Aquinas when he was a freshman at Fenwick High School, a private Dominican high school.[17][18] He transferred to Benet Academy, a private Benedictine high school, where he graduated in 1977.[19]

Barron attended the University of Notre Dame in Notre Dame, Indiana, for a year before transferring to Mundelein Seminary in Mundelein, Illinois. One year later, he was accepted as a Basselin Scholar at the School of Theology of the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., where he earned a Bachelor of Philosophy degree in 1981 and a Master of Philosophy degree in 1982; his master's thesis was on the political philosophy of Karl Marx. Barron earned a Licentiate of Sacred Theology from Mundelein Seminary in 1986.


Barron was ordained to the priesthood for the Archdiocese of Chicago on May 24, 1986, by Cardinal Joseph Bernardin.[citation needed]

After serving as an associate pastor of St. Paul of the Cross Catholic Parish in Park Ridge, Illinois, from 1986 to 1989, he was sent to France and earned a Doctor of Sacred Theology at the Institut Catholique de Paris in 1992. His dissertation was titled "Creation as Discipleship: A Study of the De potentia of Thomas Aquinas in Light of the Dogmatik of Paul Tillich".[citation needed]

In addition to his native English, Barron is fluent in French, Spanish, German, and Latin.[citation needed] Barron is a proponent of Hans Urs von Balthasar's “dare we hope” theology, declaring there is "objective ground" for a "hope that all men may be saved".[20]

From 1992 until 2015, Barron was a professor of systematic theology at University of St. Mary of the Lake, where he was also named the inaugural Francis Cardinal George Professor of Faith and Culture in 2008.[21] He also served as president-rector from 2012 to 2015.

Barron lectured extensively in the United States and internationally, including the Pontifical North American College and the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas in Rome. In 2000, Barron launched Word on Fire Catholic Ministries, a non-profit organization, that supports his evangelistic endeavors. Word on Fire programs, featuring Barron, have been broadcast regularly on WGN America, EWTN, Telecare, Relevant Radio and the Word on Fire YouTube Channel. Barron's Word on Fire website offers daily blogs, articles, commentaries and over ten years of weekly sermon podcasts.

In 2002, Barron was a visiting professor at the University of Notre Dame[22] and at the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas in 2007. He was also twice scholar-in-residence at the Pontifical North American College, in 2007 and 2010.

Auxiliary Bishop of Los Angeles

Coat of Arms as Auxiliary Bishop of Los Angeles

On July 21, 2015, Pope Francis appointed Barron an auxiliary bishop in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles and titular bishop of Macriana in Mauritania. Archbishop José Horacio Gomez noted that Barron's media talent and rapport with young people, as well as his outreach to other faiths would be good for the archdiocese.[23] Archbishop Cupich said he would be of great benefit to the archdiocese.[24]

On September 8, 2015, Barron received his episcopal consecration at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels from Archbishop José H. Gomez.[25] That same month, Barron started a weekly podcast called The Word on Fire Show.

Bishop of Winona-Rochester

Bishop Barron in Minnesota in 2023

On June 2, 2022, Pope Francis appointed Barron as the ninth bishop of the Diocese of Winona-Rochester, in southern Minnesota.[26] His installation there took place on July 29, 2022, at the Co-Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist in Rochester, Minnesota.

Barron lectures extensively in the United States and internationally and he has published numerous books, essays and DVD programs. He is a frequent commentator for The Chicago Tribune, NBC Nightly News, Fox News Channel, Our Sunday Visitor, the Catholic Herald (London, UK) and The Catholic New World.


Barron's website hosts daily blog posts, weekly articles and video commentaries, and an audio archive of over 500 homilies. Barron has the following social media figures:

  • 3.1 million+ Facebook followers[27]
  • 555,000+ YouTube subscribers[28]
  • 351,000+ Instagram followers[29]
  • 205,000+ Twitter followers[30]


Barron has produced over 1,000 online video commentaries, which have attracted over 84 million views. His weekly productions include brief theological reviews of contemporary culture, including movies, books, music, and current events.


Barron's videos are aired on CatholicTV, EWTN, Telecare, NET TV, and Salt + Light Television. He created a 10-part documentary, Catholicism, filmed in 16 countries, which aired on public television in the United States in beginning in 2011. A sequel was released in September 2013, titled Catholicism: The New Evangelization.

In October 2010, Barron premiered a half-hour television show, Word on Fire with Father Barron, on WGN America on Sundays.[31] Barron is the first priest since Archbishop Fulton Sheen in the 1950s to have a regular national program on a commercial television network.


Barron produces a weekly podcast on faith and culture titled The Word on Fire Show, which has been downloaded over ten million times. His weekly homilies and podcasts air on radio stations around the United States.

Barron has appeared on other podcasts, including the podcasts of Jordan Peterson,[32] Lex Fridman,[33] and Ben Shapiro.[34]


  • A Study of the De potentia of Thomas Aquinas in Light of the Dogmatik of Paul Tillich (1993)
  • Thomas Aquinas: Spiritual Master (1996)
  • And Now I See: A Theology of Transformation (1998)
  • Heaven in Stone and Glass (2000)
  • The Strangest Way: Walking the Christian Path (2002)
  • Bridging the Great Divide: Musings of a Post-Liberal, Post-Conservative, Evangelical Catholic (2004)
  • The Priority of Christ: Toward a Post-Liberal Catholicism (2007)
  • Word on Fire: Proclaiming the Power of Christ (2008)
  • Eucharist (2008)
  • Catholicism: A Journey to the Heart of the Faith (2011)
  • Seeds of the Word: Finding God in the Culture (2015)
  • 2 Samuel. Brazos Theological Commentary on the Bible (2015)
  • Exploring Catholic Theology: Essays on God, Liturgy, and Evangelization (2015)
  • Vibrant Paradoxes: The Both/And of Catholicism (2016)
  • To Light a Fire on the Earth: Proclaiming the Gospel in a Secular Age (2017) [35]
  • Arguing Religion: A Bishop Speaks at Facebook and Google (2018)[36]
  • Letter to a Suffering Church: A Bishop Speaks on the Sexual Abuse Crisis (2019)[37]
  • Centered: The Spirituality of Word on Fire (2020)
  • The Pivotal Players: 12 Heroes Who Shaped the Church and Changed the World (2020)
  • Renewing Our Hope: Essays for the New Evangelization (2020)
  • The Rosary with Bishop Robert Barron (2021)
  • Light from Light: A Theological Reflection on the Nicene Creed (2021)
  • Redeeming the Time: Gospel Perspectives on the Challenges of the Hour (2022)
  • The Great Story of Israel: Election, Freedom, Holiness (2022)
  • This is My Body: A Call to Eucharistic Revival (2023)


  • Untold Blessings The Three Paths of Holiness (2005)
  • Conversion (2006)
  • Faith Clips (2007)
  • Seven Deadly Sins, Seven Lively Virtues (2007)
  • Eucharist (2009)
  • Catholicism (2011)
  • Catholicism: The New Evangelization (2013)
  • Priest, Prophet, King (2014)
  • The Mystery of God (2015)
  • Catholicism: The Pivotal Players Volume I (2016)
  • David the King (2017)
  • The Mass (2018)
  • Catholicism: The Pivotal Players St. Augustine & St. Benedict (2018)
  • Catholicism: The Pivotal Players Fulton Sheen & Flannery O'Connor (2019)
  • The Sacraments (2020)
  • The Creed (2021)



  •   Holy See:
    • OESSG Cavaliere di Gran Croce BAR.jpg Order of the Holy Sepulchre[38]


  • 2023: Doctor of Public Service, Hillsdale College
  • 2022: Doctor of Humane Letters, Benedictine College
  • 2019: Doctor of Theology, Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas
  • 2018: Doctor of Humane Letters, Assumption College
  • 2017: Doctor of Divinity, Saint Anselm College
  • 2016: Doctor of Sacred Theology, Dominican House of Studies
  • 2013: Doctor of Religious Education, Providence College
  • 2012: Doctor of Humanities, Lewis University


  • 2015: Fisher's Net Award for Best Overall and for Best Social Media Presence[39]
  • 2012: Relevant Radio Christ Brings Hope Award
  • 2003: Catholic Press Association Book Award: The Strangest Way: Walking the Christian Path
  • 1998: Catholic Press Association Journalism Award: Best Article - Clergy, Religious, "The Uncanny God"
  • 1997: Catholic Press Association Book Award: Thomas Aquinas: Spiritual Master
  • 1995: Catholic Press Association Journalism Award: Best Article - Professional and Special Interest, "Priest as Bearer of the Mystery"

See also

  • Catholic Church hierarchy
  • Catholic Church in the United States
  • Historical list of the Catholic bishops of the United States
  • List of Catholic bishops of the United States
  • Lists of patriarchs, archbishops, and bishops


  1. 1.0 1.1 Barron, Robert (June 21, 2018). "Bishop Barron on Pope Francis and Virtue Ethics". 
  2. Barron, Robert (October 16, 2019). "Bishop Barron at the Grave of C.S. Lewis". 
  3. Barron, Robert (September 24, 2016). "Word on Fire 035: Understanding Dante's "Divine Comedy"". 
  4. Barron, Robert (October 16, 2019). "Bishop Barron at the Grave of J.R.R. Tolkien". 
  5. Barron, Robert (June 11, 2019). "Bishop Barron on Pope Francis, Tradition, and John Henry Newman". 
  6. Barron, Robert (March 9, 2020). "Gnosticism, the Enduring Heresy". 
  7. Barron, Robert (January 21, 2016). "Bishop Barron on René Girard". 
  8. Barron, Robert (October 3, 2019). "Bishop Barron on His Theological Path". 
  9. "Bishop Barron to lead Diocese of Winona-Rochester" (in en). 2022-06-02. 
  10. Mastrangelo, Dominick (January 22, 2019). "'Bishop of the Internet': Backlash against Covington Catholic students 'literally, Satanic'". 
  11. Hennessey, Matthew (2018-11-29). "Opinion | The Bishop of Catholic Social Media" (in en-US). Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. 
  12. "Bishop Robert Barron (@bishopbarron) • Instagram photos and videos". 
  13. "@bishopbarron" on Twitter
  14. Bertagnoli, Lisa (27 September 2010). "Priest's pulpit: blogs, YouTube". 
  15. "Obituary: John C. Barron". Chicago Tribune. 7 May 1987. 
  16. "John Barron named Sun-Times Media Group Publisher". November 20, 2009. 
  17. Mixa, Robert (21 July 2015). "Fr. Robert Barron named Auxiliary Bishop of Los Angeles". 
  18. Osuna, Traci (7 June 2010). "Age Old Values Spread Through Modern Technology: An Interview with Father Robert Barron". 
  19. "Father Robert Barron '77 Appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Los Angeles". 
  20. ""Dare We Hope?" FAQ page". Word on Fire. 
  21. Murphy, Francesca Aran (24 September 2015). The Oxford Handbook of Christology. OUP Oxford. p. 11. ISBN 978-0-19-106167-7. 
  22. "Father Robert Barron - Curriculum Vitae". 4 October 2008. 
  23. Long-García, J. D. (July 22, 2015). "The story behind the new LA bishops' pectoral crosses". 
  24. "Archbishop Cupich Congratulates Bishop-elect Robert Barron on his Appointment to the Archdiocese of Los Angeles" (Press release). Archdiocese of Chicago. July 21, 2015. Archived from the original on 2015-07-24.
  25. Long-García, J. D. (September 9, 2015). "Three new auxiliary bishops ordained for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles". 
  26. "Pope Francis appoints Bishop Barron to lead Minnesota diocese". June 2, 2022. 
  27. "Bishop Robert Barron" (in en). 
  28. "Bishop Robert Barron" (in en). 
  29. "Bishop Robert Barron (@bishopbarron) • Instagram photos and videos" (in en). 
  30. "Bishop Robert Barron (@BishopBarron)" (in en). 
  31. "Catholic Priest Father Robert Barron set to Launch Nationwide Television Program in October". 13 September 2010. 
  32. "Christianity and the Modern World | Bishop Barron - Jordan B Peterson Podcast S4 (2022): E15". 
  33. "Bishop Robert Barron: Christianity and the Catholic Church | Lex Fridman Podcast #304". 
  34. "Bishop Robert Barron | the Ben Shapiro Show Sunday Special Ep. 31". 
  35. Barron, Robert. ""To Light a Fire on the Earth" by Bishop Robert Barron with John Allen, Jr." (in en). 
  36. Barron, Robert. "New Book! "Arguing Religion: A Bishop Speaks at Facebook and Google"" (in en). 
  37. Barron, Robert. "Letter to a Suffering Church: A Bishop Speaks on the Sexual Abuse Crisis" (in en). 
  38. "The Installation of Bishop Robert Barron". 
  39. "Award Winners". 8 December 2015. 

External links

Preceded by
John M. Quinn
Bishop of Winona-Rochester
July 29, 2022–present
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Laurent Marie Bernard Dognin
Bishop of Macriana in Mauretania
September 8, 2015–July 29, 2022
Academic offices
Preceded by
Dennis J. Lyle
President-Rector of
University of Saint Mary of the Lake
Mundelein Seminary

Succeeded by
John Kartje