The Corner

Father Barron on Hitchens, the Religious Man

I just watched this remarkable tribute to Christopher Hitchens by Fr. Robert Barron, and it confirms to me yet again that Kathryn Lopez is 100 percent correct about Father Barron: He is the most impressive Catholic apologist of our time. Too many Catholic apologists — and the exact same goes for Protestant apologists, and atheist apologists, and what-have-you apologists; it’s the occupational hazard in that line of work — come across as smug tribalists sneering at the lesser people not fortunate enough to be within their circle. Watch this video of Father Barron on Creative Minority Report and you will see why he is so good at apologetics: He is clearly someone who is catholic in the true lower-case-c sense, and infused with love for a (in this instance, one particular) fellow man. I had my problems with Christopher Hitchens — who didn’t? — and Barron mentions some of these issues in the video. But he puts those disagreements in a very realistic context, in what I think is an attempt to see our brother Christopher with God’s eyes. That is what we are called to do even with our outright enemies, never mind people who might say an unkind word about (or to) us now and again. Now there’s a resolution for the New Year: Try to be as charitable with people who disagree with me as Father Barron is in his comments on Hitchens. (One hell of a challenge; but then, so, of course, is Christianity. In fact, it’s the same challenge.) If any e-mailer or comboxer views this as an invitation to put my resolution to the test, let me say, preemptively, to that person: Have a blessed and happy New Year! 


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