Fr. Robert Barron on “The Mystical Union of Christ and the Church”

March 26, 2015

Catholicism_Fr. Barron

From the clips that I’ve seen, Fr. Robert Barron’s video series, Catholicism, is an impressive work. I have posted videos from Fr. Barron before: his videos on Balthasar and a video from his Priest, Prophet, King series. Now, for your viewing pleasure, here is episode #6 from the Catholicism series, the only complete episode online:

There is also a book, Catholicism: A Journey to the Heart of the Faith.

I know what some of y’all are thinking. You’ve got your Protestant guns set to fire, loaded with our favorite ammunition: “theology of the Cross” (not Glory!) and the always popular, “Creator/creature distinction”! I get it. Been there and done that. I still do it sometimes. But, dang it, I like Fr. Barron, and I routinely dislike Protestantism. I know the grass isn’t greener on the other side, but you have to wonder sometimes.

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In lieu of writing a separate post, let me point you to a thought-provoking article from The Imaginative Conservative, which has had several fine articles lately:

“The Hideous and the Damned: Arguing with Roger Scruton”

The author argues that “beauty” and “art” are not synonymous, in dialogue with and in contrast to Scruton’s important work on aesthetics. You should also read Stephen Masty’s recent article, “Science Narrows in on Imagination.” Enjoy!

4 Responses to “Fr. Robert Barron on “The Mystical Union of Christ and the Church””

  1. Cal said

    Did you ever read Carl Trueman’s essay on Rome? He talked about he was entranced walking through the city, talking with Catholic intelligentsia, really being blown away by the aesthetic and structural magnificence. But then he realized it was a ruse. The American Catholic convert or the educated collegiate in Rome were a small sliver that contended with the thousands of village parishes where finger bones from saints were touted and near-worshiped.

    I sympathize with the above and your comments. Rome is intoxicating. I sat through a traditional Latin, Tridentine, mass and I was overwhelmed. I had to strongly echo through my mind that we worship in Spirit, not in art or riches!

    The Judaizing error is hard to reject. I can imagine, perhaps, the difficulty of the Apostles in rejecting Temple sacrifice, and that was (at one point) God ordained!

    And one other thing: I think, perhaps, the overemphasis on “theology of the cross” upends Christian theology as well. The Resurrection is the Glory we seek, and it seems that Paul weighted much more value on the fact that Christ rose than that he died, though rising presupposes death. Theologians of Glory cut too much at Christ’s humanity and the divine tabernacling in such, but that does not disqualify glory.

    Maybe I’ve been reading too much Moltmann into Luther🙂

    cal

    • Cal said

      Also, Fr. Barron does a good job capturing the diversity, aesthetic wonder, and magic of Rome in the opening! I almost want to slap Waldo, Luther, or Jan Huss for any such idea of breaking away! Almost…

    • Kevin Davis said

      I do not think that I’ve read the exact article from Trueman that you are referencing, but I have read some of his articles on the doctrine of justification and Luther in particular. I enjoy his work. Trueman is an able exponent of the traditional Protestant position.

      I’ve been to Rome and Florence with my brother. The first church we stumbled upon had a half-mummified corpse of some saint from two hundred or so years ago! My initial thought was, “How delightfully weird!” But, seriously, it was a great experience. On occasion, my Protestant self would think about how indulgences from poor peasants built this. That was the sum total of James White’s experience of visiting Rome, as he likes to recount it. The aesthetic had no influence on him, no impression whatsoever, and that’s why I cannot be a Reformed Baptist — they are the most unaesthetic people on the planet!

      As I think you would agree, the theology of the Cross and the theology of Glory have to be held together. I interpret Barth as doing this remarkably well, and part of his larger move from crisis theology to something more expansive and catholic, without losing the crisis theology. CD IV.2 is the best “theology of glory” that I’ve ever read.

  2. […] In addition to Sandro Magister, I expected to read competent and insightful observations from Father Robert Barron. I was not disappointed. I have previously praised Fr. Barron — here and here and here. […]

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