From Fox Digital:
Bishop Robert Barron, a controversial cleric on both the secular left and right for his talks on ethics and evangelization, says the Catholic Church needs a new order of priests for a new, secular world.
And the bishop thinks his team can be the group to establish it.
“One of my dreams is to establish an order of priests,” Barron told Fox News Digital in an exclusive interview. “Go back to the Franciscans, the Dominicans, the Jesuits. They all responded to a need of their time — what they perceived to be this pressing spiritual need.”
Barron, of the Diocese of Winona-Rochester, 62, is the most widely-followed online Catholic cleric in the country, aside from Pope Francis himself.
“We have mostly lay people. It’s a mostly online presence, but we want to set this thing up institutionally and establish Word on Fire centers in all the major cities,” Barron said. The centers “would be centers of evangelization, of instruction, of liturgy — that would then influence the wider culture.”
While Barron’s episcopal office concerns his parishes in Minnesota — where he is already widely known — his public influence stretches around the world via his books, videos, radio shows and documentaries with his Word on Fire ministries.
“Who would doubt — today, in our culture — that the pressing spiritual need is how to reach the unaffiliated?” Barron asked. “How to evangelize a secularized culture?”
The bishop continued, “So I would dream of an order of priests who would share my charism, which is, you know, teaching and preaching, using the media, engaging the culture.”
My first response: Why not a religious order, period? Think of it: a modern congregation of priests, deacons, nuns, brothers, lay people — these last, a kind of Third Order — all rowing the barque of Peter in the same direction.
If you want to “evangelize a secularized culture,” it would be helpful to have people involved who live, work and serve in that culture — single people, married people, as well as consecrated religious and the ordained.
Why only priests?
Or: how about an order of “worker priests” — which, not so very long ago, became the foundation of the modern diaconate?
It also seems to me that a lot of the territory he’d like to cover as his “charism” — which he says is “teaching and preaching, using the media, engaging the culture” — is already covered by the Dominicans, Jesuits and Paulists. Not to mention, The Christophers, too!