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Exploring Catholic Theology

Essays on God, Liturgy, and Evangelization

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Robert Barron is one of the Catholic Church's premier theologians and author of the influential The Priority of Christ. In this volume, Barron sets forth a thoroughgoing vision for an evangelical catholic theology that is steeped in the tradition and engaged with the contemporary world. Striking a balance between academic rigor and accessibility, the book covers issues of perennial interest in the twenty-first-century church: who God is, how to rightly worship him, and how his followers engage contemporary culture. Topics include the doctrine of God, Catholic theology, philosophy, liturgy, and evangelizing the culture. This work will be of special interest to readers concerned about the so-called "new atheism."


Foreword by Charles J. Chaput, OFM Cap.
Part 1: Doctrine of God
1. Augustine's Questions: Why the Augustinian Theology of God Matters Today
2. Thomas Aquinas and Why the Atheists Are Right
3. The Metaphysics of Coinherence: A Mediation on the Essence of the Christian Message
4. The Trinity on Display in the Economy of Salvation: An Irenaean Meditation
Part 2: Theology and Philosophy
5. To See According to the Icon of Jesus Christ: Reflections on the Catholic Intellectual Tradition
6. A Tale of Two Cardinals: Avery Dulles's Creative Engagement with the Thought of John Henry Newman
7. John Henry Newman among the Postmoderns
8. Biblical Interpretation and Theology: A Meditation on Irenaeus, Modernity, and Vatican II
Part 3: Liturgy and Eucharist
9. The Eucharist as the Telos of the Law in the Writings of Thomas Aquinas
10. The Liturgical Self: An Exploration of Christian Anthropology in Light of the Liturgy
11. The Eucharist: Sacred Banquet, Sacrifice, Real Presence
Part 4: A New Evangelization
12. Why Bernard Lonergan Matters for Pastoral People
13. Announcing the Lordship of Jesus Christ: The Evangelical Task within Contemporary Culture
14. From Correlation to Assimilation: A New Model for the Church-Culture Dialogue
15. To Evangelize the Culture


"Father Barron's bracing, stimulating essays remind us that the 'Church in permanent mission' to which Pope Francis has called Catholics must be thoughtful as well as merciful, culture-challenging as well as culture-forming, intellectually sharp as well as pastorally sensitive. Happily, Father Barron's life and work embody all those characteristics."

George Weigel, author of Evangelical Catholicism: Deep Reform in the 21st-Century Church

"These essays remind us how indispensable Fr. Robert Barron is as a spokesman for the integrity and beauty of the Christian faith. He combines theological learning and depth with a remarkable gift for knowing what needs to be said--and how to say it."

R. R. Reno, editor, First Things

"Can a confident and bold 'assurance' of faith be combined with a seeker's restless questioning, an urgent desiring to learn what the spiritual masters have discovered about God and life in Christ? Father Barron is this man of faith whose thirst for God has engendered an authentic intellectual quest. This book is the rarest of achievements, namely a demonstration in one short volume of how the doctrine of God, Christology, the Church, ethics, liturgy, and history go together in lived experience. Here is a theologian who lives by his discovery that God, utterly non-competitive with us, loves us into being and that the meaning of our lives in Christ is found in learning how to give ourselves away."

Matthew Levering, Perry Family Foundation Professor of Theology, Mundelein Seminary

"Today the Western Church has to proclaim the gospel in a culture that says it has outgrown religion, Christianity in particular. In this new and perilous situation, we have no more honest and reliable guide than Fr. Robert Barron. He shows us how to remember and teach the truths about God and ourselves that our culture once knew but is now trying to forget--and trying to tempt the Church also to forget."

Bruce D. Marshall, Lehman Professor of Christian Doctrine, Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University

"Robert Barron's book is an exceptionally readable introduction to modern theology. It is hard to name the audience for this book because it extends way beyond the world of academic theology but sits comfortably within it. Exploring Catholic Theology could be read for pleasure and for profit by undergraduate students, professors, pastors, and lay parish leaders. Robert Barron is recreating apologetics at a more imaginative and challenging level. Everyone who meditates on this book will discover something new about how to witness to the truth of Christianity in a postmodern culture."

Francesca Murphy, professor of systematic theology, University of Notre Dame

"In this book, Fr. Robert Barron models the kind of pastoral theology and ressourcement envisioned by Vatican II. His is a theology founded on Scripture, tradition, and liturgy--but with windows open onto the world, engaging pop culture and high culture, politics and poetics, evangelicals and postmoderns, the new atheism and the old. His voice rings in our century as Justin's and Clement's rang out in theirs. Highly recommended, especially for pastors, scholars, teachers, and seminarians."

Scott Hahn, Father Michael Scanlan, TOR, Chair of Biblical Theology and the New Evangelization, Franciscan University of Steubenville; founder and president, St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology

The Author

  1. Robert Barron

    Robert Barron

    Robert Barron (STD, Institut Catholique de Paris) is Bishop of Winona-Rochester, Minnesota. He founded Word on Fire, a Catholic ministry of evangelism, and previously served as rector of Mundelein Seminary and president of the University of Saint Mary of the...

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"[Barron] is treasured by the Catholic Church as both a scholar and effective communicator of the richness of Catholicism's doctrines, dogmas, and statements of faith. . . . The essays are enjoyable to read and, suitable for students and scholars alike, offer valuable insights into the development of Christian thought and the Catholic tradition from one of its most gifted minds and honored champions today."

Anthony Haynes,

Expository Times

"This is an intriguing work. While it is relatively short for a theological work, its shortage of breadth is compensated in the depth and readability of these essays. Barron's essays provide an excellent overview of Catholic theology and would be a welcome addition to any Catholic institution of higher education."

Garrett Trott,

Catholic Library World