Rod Dreher’s The Benedict Option: A Strategy for Christians in a Post-Christian Nation has certainly emerged as the most talked-about religious book of 2017. There is a widely-felt instinct that something has gone rather deeply wrong with the culture and that classical Christianity, at least in the West, is in a bit of a mess. So, do we need the Benedict Option now? In this episode, Bishop Robert Barron discusses the upsides and the pitfalls of employing the Benedict option during these difficult times. The listener question wonders how Christians should engage the political arena.

Topics Discussed

  • 0:17  – Introduction, New announcement regarding Pivotal Players: Volume 2.
  • 3:42 – Has something gone terribly wrong in our society?
  • 4:36 – What are Bishop Barron’s thoughts on the Benedict Option as a proposal?
  • 6:30 – Who was Saint Benedict and how can he help solve our modern problems?
  • 8:50 – How is Noah’s Ark a good symbol for the Benedict Option?
  • 11:23 – What is the identity/relevance dilemma?
  • 13:55 – How does St. John Paul II relate to the Benedict Option?
  • 18:10 – Should the Church pull back on political engagement?
  • 22:05 – Should Christians pull out of society and live in separate communities?
  • 24:30 – Is homeschooling the best option for Christian children?
  • 28:15 – Should we avoid occupations that will force us to compromise our values?
  • 31:20 – Should we avoid technology as Christians?
  • 34:33 – Question from listener: Should Christians be active in the political arena?

Bonus Resources

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2 comments on “WOF 072: The Benedict Option

  1. Patrick May 2, 2017

    It’s interesting that Bishop Barron frequently chooses gay marriage as his bogeyman, rather than, say, war expenditure. The current administration recently budgeted an additional $12.5 billion for “defense,” i.e. the murder of children across the globe. Bishop Barron and the USCCB are right to decry gay marriage, of course, but the systemic sins they turn a blind eye to are staggering and do nothing to assist the faithful in these horrible times.

    It seems to me the Benedict communities being championed are utopian in the worst sense. They will in fact become armed radical enclaves. The Bishop has spoken multiple times of his respect for Dorothy Day and Peter Maurin. Would they have retreated from the world, from the poor, from their duties as Christians to our neighbors?

    I have greatly respected Word on Fire for a long time, but this episode struck me as promoting the same sin Dreher does.

  2. LaCresha Neal Dec 22, 2017

    I very rarely disagree with Bishop Barron but I am not down for what seems to be isolating ourselves as Catholics. The church is universal so there is no need to cloister ourselves and promote certain professions over others, etc. This seems like a utopian ideal and the worst of what you see going on within some Fundamentalist communities. We need Catholic doctors and lawyers to have a voice of the faith within those industries. I work in the fashion/beauty industry and am glad I do. We need Catholic voices in every sector. We need Catholics living in mainstream society to not only be living examples of the faith but to influence secularist society. This is part of the reason I’m not into home schooling and other practices that seem to segregate Catholicism and almost be afraid of living in the world.

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