280 pages | Hardcover
In two thousand years, the Catholic Church has yielded countless saints, artists, mystics, and scholars. But among them are figures that are truly pivotal—men and women who not only shaped the life of the Church but changed the course of civilization.
In this vibrant book based on the multi-part film series CATHOLICISM: The Pivotal Players, Bishop Robert Barron draws readers into the life and work of twelve Pivotal Players—from great saints such as St. Augustine and St. Thomas Aquinas to literary masters such as G.K. Chesterton and Flannery O’Connor—who personally demonstrated the dynamics of the Christian faith in their distinct time and place. These stories capture both the great variety of personalities and vocations in the Catholic Church and the harmonies between them, all oriented to its ultimate purpose: to be salt and light for all the nations.
Elegantly designed with full-color images and photography, The Pivotal Players is a unique journey into the truth and beauty of Catholicism as exemplified in the concrete lives of some of its most fascinating figures.
See what others are saying:
“Bishop Robert Barron is arguably the greatest Catholic communicator of our times. In The Pivotal Players, we meet the men and women whose lives animate Bishop Barron’s words—and who can motivate each of us to live the adventure of our faith in new and unexpected ways.”
- Arthur C. Brooks, PhD, Professor of Public Leadership, Harvard University, and bestselling author of Love Your Enemies
“This is a beautiful book. Peace and strength waft up from its pages as you read and turn them and gaze at the vivid, vibrant pictures. It is the fresh air of Catholic culture that you are breathing in, not as an abstract idea but through the lives of the enlightened men and women who—differently but always fresh in every age—embody the exquisite truths of Jesus’ Gospel.”
- Abbot Jeremy Driscoll, O.S.B., Abbot of Mount Angel Abbey
“In this beautifully illustrated and captivating book, Bishop Barron draws our attention to twelve heroic figures, from St. Augustine to Flannery O'Connor. The Pivotal Players is a powerful and welcome reminder that the truths of the faith are not limited to the abstractions of theology and philosophy, but have also been made manifest in the particular lives of our greatest theologians, artists, mystics, and saints.”
- Jennifer Frey, associate professor of philosophy, University of South Carolina
“The pivotal players in this book captivate the imagination, stir the heart, and inspire a life filled with love of God and love of neighbor. Bishop Barron’s winsome text is accompanied by lavish art that brings to life twelve fascinating figures from diverse cultures and times. If I ran the world, this book of heroes would be required reading in every parish, in every classroom, and in every home. Get a copy for yourself and share a copy with a ‘none’ whom you love.”
- Christopher Kaczor, professor of philosophy and author of The Seven Big Myths About the Catholic Church
“Bishop Robert Barron is a baseball fan, which is the ultimate demonstration that he’s a very smart man. He’s also a virtuoso evangelist and the best guide to the beauty and truth of the Catholic tradition I’ve ever known. This book is Barron in his element, so settle in and allow him to introduce you, or re-introduce you, to the pivotal players in the Catholic game. Play ball!”
- John Allen, Jr., President of Crux and Senior Vatican Analyst for CNN
“In this book Bishop Robert Barron provides us with a wonderful introduction to a symphony of witnesses to Christ, each in their respective intellectual genius and spirituality. In doing so he gives a portal into the splendor of the truth of the Catholic faith as a religion of truth, beauty, and goodness.”
- Fr. Thomas Joseph White, OP, Thomistic Institute, Angelicum
St. Francis of Assisi - The Reformer
St. Thomas Aquinas - The Theologian
St. Catherine of Siena - The Mystic
Bl. John Henry Newman - The Convert
G.K. Chesterton - The Evangelist
Michelangelo - The Artist
The Study Program for CATHOLICISM: The Pivotal Players is the best way to immerse yourself fully into these holy men and women.
Whether you use it for personal formation or host a complete Study Program for your parish or group, you’ll go deeper with top experts from around the world, including:
- Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa, Franciscan priest and preacher to the papal household (St. Francis of Assisi)
- Dr. Matthew Levering, renowned Catholic theologian and Thomistic scholar (St. Thomas Aquinas)
- Fr. Paul Murray, O.P., Dominican preacher and spiritual master (St. Catherine of Siena)
- Fr. Ian Ker, world's leading Newman scholar (Bl. John Henry Newman)
- Dale Ahlquist, founding president of the American Chesterton Society (G.K. Chesterton)
- Dr. Anthony Esolen, professor of Renaissance English Literature at Providence College(Michelangelo)
The Study Guide commentary was compiled under the direction and approval of Bishop Barron.
Each Study Guide lesson provides details about the Pivotal Player’s life and contributions to the culture. In addition, you'll find “Questions for Understanding" that support the teaching in the video and reference Scripture verses and sections from the Catechism of the Catholic Church. You'll also find several “Questions for Application" in each lesson to help you connect the material to your own life and experience.
For group study, you'll find a plan to present the program in 13 sessions, each 90 minutes long. The first session covers a general orientation, followed by two sessions on each Pivotal Player. Each session includes video viewing (25-30 minutes) and small group discussion of the Study Guide questions (60 minutes).
The Leader’s Kit provides everything you need to host the Pivotal Players Study Program. We recommend that each parish or group purchase one Leader’s Kit to get started and then a separate Leader’s Guide for each small group facilitator. In addition, each participant in the group needs their own Study Guide, which can be purchased in bulk with a volume discount before your program begins.
Leaders can also register for a free training webinar which teaches the best ways to run an effective Pivotal Players study group.
Register for a free webinar to get more information about our programs or to participate in facilitator training: REGISTER FOR WEBINAR
DOWNLOADABLE SUPPORT MATERIALS
CATHOLICISM: The Pivotal Players Family Devotional
CATHOLICISM: The Pivotal Players Sample Lesson
CATHOLICISM: The Pivotal Players Certificate of Completion
CATHOLICISM: The Pivotal Players Bulletin Insert / Flyer (editable)
CATHOLICISM: The Pivotal Players Large Poster (editable)
Bulletin / Pulpit Announcement | Boletín / Anuncio desde el púlpito
Registration Form (editable)
Bishop Robert Barron Biography
"Managing Personalities" Powerpoint Presentation