Robert Emmet Barron is an American Catholic prelate who has been the bishop of the Diocese of Winona-Rochester since 2022. He founded the Catholic ministerial organization Word on Fire and hosted Catholicism, a PBS documentary television series about Catholicism. From 2012 to 2015, he was rector of Mundelein Seminary, and from 2015 to 2022, he was auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.
He is the author of several books, essays, and articles on theology and spirituality. He is an NBC religion correspondent and has appeared on Fox News, CNN, and EWTN. He has been dubbed the “bishop of social media” and the “bishop of the Internet” informally. His regular YouTube videos have been viewed over 116 million times, has over 3 million Facebook followers, 360,000 Instagram followers, and 215, 000 Twitter followers. He has also delivered keynote addresses at a number of conferences and worldwide events. His 2016 film series, “Catholicism: The Pivotal Players” was syndicated for national television in the U.S.
In one of tweeted videos, he came out publicly criticising the “Sisters” of Perpetual Indulgence, an anti-Catholic hate group. On their website, they describe themselves as a “leading-edge Order of queer and trans nuns” devoting themselves to “community service, ministry and outreach to those on the edges, and to promoting human rights, respect for diversity and spiritual enlightenment” by using “humor and irreverent wit to expose the forces of bigotry, complacency and guilt that chain the human spirit.” They forget to add that they are anti-Catholics, and they mock Christ.
Here is Bishop Robert Barron, commenting on this anti-Catholic group between the 0:25 and the 6:10 mark –
“Hey everybody. This is Bishop Barron. I’m sure by now you’ve all heard about this controversy involving the L.A. Dodgers and the sisters of Perpetual Indulgence. You know the Dodgers invited this group which I think can only be described as an anti-Catholic hate group; invited them to be honoured at the Dodger Stadium. Then, when there was a howl of protest from Catholics and others, they disinvited them. Good move. But then, they reinvited them. And the reinitation was accompanied by a kind of pathetic apology where they were praised for all the great work that they do. Look, I’m not going to go into all the details. Look them up, on YouTube or something. You’d find what they do. I’ll give you one example. I think it was on Easter Sunday where there was a display where they had Jesus on the cross, so the most sacred moment in the history for Catholics, and a drag queen comes in kind of pulls Jesus off the cross. Then does a sort of holding on the cross.
For Catholics it’s hard to imagine anything more offensive than that. Suppose this group had dressed up in a kind of simulacrum of a rabbi and had done something deeply disrespectful to the Torah or take it a step further – had dressed up in a, you know, mockery of a Muslim cleric or imam, and then it desecrated the Quran, what would the reaction be? You know, those questions answer themselves but somehow attacking Catholics in this most disgraceful way, is ok, not only ok, it should be honoured. You know, everybody, I’ve said this before. There’s a long tradition in our country of anti-Catholicism. It was said famously about a century ago. The last acceptable prejudice in America’s anti-Catholicism. But we shouldn’t tolerate it. One thing I would say, since the Dodgers clearly are not responding to a decent appeal to reason I’d encourage my friends back in L.A. Look, I was auxiliary bishop for six years in L.A. I threw out the first pitch at a Dodgers’s game a few years ago. But I’ve encouraged my friends back there: boycott the Dodgers. May I say to especially my Hispanic friends many of whom are big baseball fans out there. This is your religion. This is your religion of your family, of Europe, of your familia, of your tradition. Why are we tolerating this? We shouldn’t be tolerating it. So, let’s pray everybody. Let’s pray for the defense of our faith and let’s stand for our Catholic faith.”