Surveys show 61% of people sleep with their phones and 75% grab their phones as soon as they wake up. We’re addicted to our smartphones. In this episode, Bishop Barron reflects on this problem (including his own smartphone use), offering guidance from some of the greatest saints and spiritual masters in the Catholic tradition.

A listener asks whether saints feel emotions in heaven, such as feeling sad when friends or family on earth struggle with sin.

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Last month, Bishop Barron visited Reddit for another #AMA (ask me anything). Over 15,000 comments poured in from young skeptics around the world, making it the third most-commented on #AMA of the year, and the ninth most popular in Reddit history. Today, Bishop Barron reflects on the experience and four main patterns of questions he noticed.

A listener asks for a concrete example of mercy mocking justice.

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How do we make sense of all the names, groups, and movements surrounding the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965)? What are the key things to know, and how have they shaped today’s Catholic Church? Bishop Barron explains.

A listener asks why secular philosophy departments tend to discount Scholasticism in favor of modern philosophy.

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A recent article in The Atlantic claimed “A Famous Argument Against Free Will Has Been Debunked”. It focused on an experiment during the 1980s that seems to show our brain “decides” on our behavior before we actually make particular choices. Many believed this confirmed we don’t have free will, that all our thoughts and behaviors are determined.

But is this the case? Is free will just an illusion? Bishop Barron explains some of the classic arguments for free will and its relationship to God and Christianity.

A listener asks why in Catholicism pride is a deadly sin, but Aristotle describes it as a virtue.

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This week, we share the second half of a talk from Bishop Barron on John Henry Newman’s book The Grammar of Assent. We shared the first half last week, so be sure to listen to that first.

The Grammar of Assent concerns question about how we come to believe in God, and is widely considered Newman’s most important text.

Also, it’s a timely topic, since John Henry Newman will be canonized in just a couple weeks, on October 13. Bishop Barron will be attending the canonization, then a few days later will deliver a talk at Oxford University on “John Henry Newman and the New Evangelization.” That talk, which we’re planning to livestream, will focus primarily on The Grammar of Assent.

NOTE: Do you like this podcast? Become a patron and get some great perks for helping, like free books, bonus content, and more. Word on Fire is a non-profit ministry that depends on the support of our listeners…like you! So be part of this mission, and join us today!

This week, we share the first half of a talk from Bishop Barron on John Henry Newman’s book, The Grammar of Assent. The book concerns the question of belief–how we come to believe in God–and is widely considered his most important text.

Also, it’s a timely topic, since John Henry Newman will be canonized in just a couple weeks, on October 13. Bishop Barron will be attending the canonization, then a few days later will deliver a talk at Oxford University on “John Henry Newman and the New Evangelization.” That talk, which we’re planning to livestream, will focus primarily on The Grammar of Assent.

So enjoy the first half of this talk, and we’ll share the second half next week.

NOTE: Do you like this podcast? Become a patron and get some great perks for helping, like free books, bonus content, and more. Word on Fire is a non-profit ministry that depends on the support of our listeners…like you! So be part of this mission, and join us today!


Bishop Barron takes questions from kids, including:

  • Why did Jesus pick Judas to be one of his disciples when he knew Judas would betray him?
  • Does Heaven have night time?
  • How is St. Michael an angel and a saint?
  • How does a family with young kids perform the corporal/spiritual works of mercy?

NOTE: Do you like this podcast? Become a patron and get some great perks for helping, like free books, bonus content, and more. Word on Fire is a non-profit ministry that depends on the support of our listeners…like you! So be part of this mission, and join us today!


The annual United Nations World Happiness Report, which measures the happiness of different countries, is always dominated by Scandinavian nations. Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Iceland, and Finland have always been in the top ten. But what’s striking is that these happiest countries are also those which rank among the least religious. On the flip side, most African countries, which tend to be the very religious, consistently land near the bottom of the U.N. Happiness Report.

What does Bishop Barron make of this? How should we actually define happiness, and what have the great thinkers and saints throughout time said about finding happiness? That’s what we discuss in today’s episode.

A listener asks how we reconcile all the violence/competition seen in nature with the Creator God of peace.

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Today, Bishop Barron answers questions from all over the world about God, the Church, and the culture. Will it be possible to upload one’s consciousness to a computer and attain immortality? Why was Christianity started in the West? If humans are born with original sin, then why does the Bible encourage us to have children and increase the amount of sin in the world? Listen for Bishop Barron’s answers!

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A recent Pew Research Center study revealed that “just one-third of U.S. Catholics agree with their church that Eucharist is body, blood of Christ.” What’s the cause of this? And moving forward, how do we fix the problem? Bishop Barron discusses in today’s episode.

(Explore a collection of my resources on the Eucharist here: https://www.wordonfire.org/presence)

A listener asks if the Eucharist gives us life, why do we reserve it only for Catholics?

NOTE: Do you like this podcast? Become a patron and get some great perks for helping, like free books, bonus content, and more. Word on Fire is a non-profit ministry that depends on the support of our listeners…like you! So be part of this mission, and join us today!