Once-Chicago bishop a star

Second only to the top Catholic star, Pope Francis.

He might not look it, but Bishop Robert Barron is a social-media superstar. Sporting thick-framed glasses and a folksy Midwestern demeanor, the Catholic auxiliary bishop of Los Angeles resembles the comedian Drew Carey, only trimmer. But the aw-shucks routine isn’t fooling anyone. Beneath it lies a penetrating intellect and clear talent for using popular culture to draw people into—or back to—Catholicism.

With his popular online film reviews, political commentary and plain-English homilies, the 59-year old bishop has struck a nerve. He has 1.6 million Facebook fans and 130,000 Twitter followers. His YouTube videos have been viewed 34 million times, while his channel has some 165,000 subscribers. If there’s a growth stock in the bishop’s portfolio, it’s Instagram, where he’s gained a mere 91,000 fans. Only Pope Francis is more popular with English-speaking Catholics.

I bet Archbishop Cupich wishes he had him back. Kidding.

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