October 3, 2011: The National Catholic Register's Tim Drake talked to Father Barron recently about CATHOLICISM, how the series came to be, and where its headed. Read the full interview here.
Evangelizing the culture is Father Robert Barron’s goal. A television series on the Catholic faith might just go a long way in helping to achieve that goal.
Father Barron is a priest of the Archdiocese of Chicago and the founder of Word on Fire Ministry, a media apostolate. He has authored 10 books and also serves as the Francis Cardinal George Professor of Faith and Culture at Mundelein Seminary in Illinois.
He recently produced the 10-part PBS series CATHOLICISM, which is debuting this fall on EWTN and PBS in some parts of the country. (Check your local listings for more information.)
He hopes the series will reach both fallen-away Catholics, to remind them of the beauty and the truth of Catholicism, and restore respect for a Church that is still recovering from the sexual-abuse scandal and battling secularism.
“A handful of people did terrible things,” he admitted in a recent interview with Tim Drake, Register senior writer and host of Register Radio, “but we have 2,000 years of beauty, art, architecture, liturgy and the saints.”
How did you first come up with the idea for "The Catholicism Project"?
That goes back about four or five years ago. I told the Word on Fire board that I wanted to do something like Kenneth Clark’s Civilisation, where he showed the beauty of civilization as he talked about it. I wanted to do the same for the Church by going to Europe, the Holy Land, Calcutta, Africa, Notre Dame Cathedral and elsewhere.
One of the board members suggested that I should drop everything else I was doing and do that. The board agreed and approached the cardinal about it. Cardinal Francis George, who had invited me to do the evangelizing-the-culture work, said that whatever he could do to make it happen he would do.
So, with the board and the cardinal behind me, we started raising money locally. It came through a lot of blood, sweat and tears, begging and events. Eventually, we obtained enough to do one trip. The cost was about $250,000 per episode for traveling, housing, filming and editing. We went to the Holy Land first.
I always had a 10-part series in mind. We filmed and continued begging, and once we had the money, we’d take our next trip. In the middle of the project, the economy collapsed, and many of our donors backed out. We continued praying, especially to the Little Flower [St. Thérèse of Lisieux], our patroness, and, in the end, we took 12 trips to 16 different countries and eventually got it done...
Read the rest of Drake's interview with Father Barron here.