Bishop Robert Barron of Winona-Rochester, Minnesota, has criticized what he sees as a trend toward simplifying the Catholic faith, calling it a “pastoral disaster.” Speaking during an interview with EWTN News’ Vatican correspondent, Colm Flynn, during World Youth Day, Bishop Barron stated that the younger generation is seeking clarity in their faith.
“Young people don’t want an uncertain trumpet. They don’t want a vacillating message. They want something clear. … We’ve dumbed down the faith for way too long. My generation got a dumbed-down Catholicism and it’s been a pastoral disaster,” said Barron.
Bishop Barron believes that the faith has been oversimplified in an effort to make it more relevant, but this approach has had negative consequences. He has been a vocal critic of this trend for years. In a 2010 “Word on Fire” video presentation, Barron called for Catholics to embrace their faith in its full complexity and richness.
Barron recounted an anecdote about his niece’s reading materials, noting that while her literature books were classics like “Hamlet” and Virgil’s Aeneid, her religion book was akin to a comic book. In response, he bought her classic religious texts such as Aquinas’ Summa Contra Gentiles and Augustine’s Confessions.
Bishop Barron urged, “The Catholic tradition is a smart tradition. Intellectually profound, rich. We will not tell our own story effectively if we turn away from that richness. We must stop dumbing down our tradition if we are going to make this story compelling.”
Watch Bishop Barron’s interview below with CNA below:
“Young people don’t want an uncertain trumpet. They want something clear. We’ve dumbed down the faith too much for too long in order to be relevant… It’s tougher being a young person now. We need Christ more than ever.” @BishopBarron speaking to me at this year’s World Youth… pic.twitter.com/JdDrZvQSow
— Colm Flynn (@colmflynnire) August 10, 2023
Photo credit: via Wikimedia Commons