‘Catholicism’ series airing on PBS is ‘visually splendid’

A visually splendid and intellectually satisfying introduction to Catholic Christianity is provided by the 10-part video series “Catholicism.” Written and hosted by Father Robert E. Barron, the complete documentary is available for purchase on DVD at Word on Fire, while four, hourlong episodes are airing on PBS affiliates throughout the month of October. (Check local listings or consult this online schedule for the program.)

"Catholicism" host Father Robert Barron. (CNS photo/Word on Fire)

A priest of the Archdiocese of Chicago, Father Barron is certainly not lacking in academic credentials. He holds a doctorate in sacred theology from France’s Institut Catholique de Paris and serves as the Francis Cardinal George professor of faith and culture at the University of St. Mary of the Lake/Mundelein Seminary. He’s also been a visiting professor at the University of Notre Dame and Rome’s Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas, colloquially known as the Angelicum.

Like his august – and equally well educated — forerunner Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen, however, Father Barron displays a knack for conveying complex ideas in easily grasped, television-friendly terms. His enthusiasm as a narrator also serves to keep the pace pleasingly rapid.

As he explores the identity of Jesus, the main topic of “Amazed and Afraid: The Revelation of God Become Man,” the first episode screened, the globetrotting Father Barron visits lushly photographed holy sites in Bethlehem, Galilee and Jerusalem before traveling on to various sacred locales around Rome. Classical religious artwork – smoothly panned and zoomed in the style justly known among broadcasters as the Ken Burns effect — provides further engaging imagery.

The substantive discussion carried on behind these visuals introduces viewers to the messianic expectations laid down in the prophecies of the Old Testament and to the surprising, sometimes paradoxical, manner in which Jesus — by his life, death and resurrection — fulfilled them.

A first-rate DVD resource for teen and adult religious education, whether in a parish setting or at home – and must-watch public television programming for all old enough to profit from it – “Catholicism” enlists sophisticated production values and an elegantly crafted script in the service of explaining — and celebrating — the faith.

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8 Responses to ‘Catholicism’ series airing on PBS is ‘visually splendid’

  1. Craig says:

    You might want re-word that headline. PBS-affiliates across the nation are refusing to air this highly-acclaimed series.


  2. Rev. Val Zdilla says:

    Sad that some affiliates ran the PBS series on the American Mormon religion but not Catholicism.

  3. Bardman says:

    Why is there no PBS station in Dallas, TX showing this wonderful series?

  4. mary ann quigley says:

    Talked with PBS in Cleveland, Oh but will not air this wonderful series. Popular culture should be challenged by those who think Catholicism is dead. It is reliving itself in those who are strongly evangelizing for Him.

  5. Tom says:

    Perhaps it is time for many Catholics to rethink their political positions. The liberals of PBS, like most non-Catholic liberals of the U.S., would love to see the Catholic agenda and its God loving pro life position die.

  6. Martha Petty says:

    When will this be aired in Las Vegas, NV? Please give date and time.

    Thank you and God Bless.


  7. Charles Michaud says:

    Sorry to say, we have the same stone-wall attitude here at our local PBS affiliate (WCNY),in Syracuse, NY.
    What a terrific series — seen only via EWTN.

  8. Clifon R. Carter says:

    I watched this series on UNC-Ex. An amazing series very well presented. Father Barron made a statement that I am trying to understand, ” God permits evil for a positive outcome of good”, perhaps I did not quote it exactly but I believe this is correct in content.

    I am a lifetime Episcopalian and am trying to understand this statement because pain and suffering are so very difficult for me to understand especially in children and animals.

    Thank you,
    Clifton R. Carter
    158 Lewis Mustian Road
    Norlina, N.C. 27563 e-mail: Buckmere@Centurylink.net

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