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Bishop Barron: gentle yet devastating

SIR – I must challenge two points made by Jack Carrigan (Books, March 30) in his otherwise helpful review of the book-length interview of Bishop Robert Barron. The first, that he is “the evangelist who won’t upset people” is not possible. Anyone who has peeked at his Word on Fire YouTube channel will know that he offers his insights on everything from doctrine to pop culture with clarity and truth. He articulates the mind of the Church with a logic and reason that would make Aquinas proud.

It is because Bishop Barron deploys reason so effectively that he is vulnerable to accusations of being “too nice”. However, in a world where polemics and hyperbole seem to dominate religious and political discussion, Barron’s style is counter-cultural: gentle yet devastatingly truthful.

The second point I wish to challenge is the idea that the good bishop “avoids the subject of hell”. I have used his Word on Fire YouTube clips several times in catechesis and teaching, in order to explain that the existence of hell is a reality. The bishop believes in hell and so, he emphasises with urgency, a renewed focus on heaven.

I and many others are grateful to Bishop Barron for being a shepherd to us in these times of confusion on such matters, and we are anticipating his talks at the forthcoming Eucharistic Congress in Liverpool with great excitement.

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