National Catholic Register

Culture of Life

Making Radically Responsible Men

Pro-Family Profile

BY The Editors

July 27-August 9, 2008 Issue | Posted 7/22/08 at 2:00 PM


Prayer, study and rugged physical exercise are the keys a man needs to fight for all that is just and good in today’s world, says the director of an apostolate aimed to strengthen the family.

Doug Barry is the founder and director of Radix, an apostolate he founded to help strengthen the family, especially the roles of fathers and sons, by learning and living the Catholic faith. Barry spoke with Carrie Gress of Zenit news service.

What does the name “Radix” mean and what is the focus of your ministry?

Radix is a Latin word that means root. It is where the word radical comes from. I chose this word because at that time I was working with a youth group at my parish and I was seeing a lot of young people who did not know the basics of the Catholic faith. When we would discuss things such as the sacraments, the Ten Commandments, the works of mercy, the Beatitudes and so on, they knew very little about them. They had not been formed to know even the basic virtues or the gifts of the Holy Spirit, let alone to live by these virtues or gifts.

Part of your ministry has been the live one-man performance of Christ’s passion, which you started doing long before the movie The Passion of the Christ was released. What was your inspiration for this and how has it been received over the years?

Nearly 17 years ago I came upon an article from a medical magazine that detailed the medical and historical aspects of a Roman crucifixion. I was amazed. I had never heard of the spectrum of abuse that went into a crucifixion. I was intent on studying more. I looked into the accounts of saints as well as other historical, scriptural and medical writings that I could find on it. I have always been careful to accept only what is approved by the Catholic Church especially regarding private revelation. There is much out there that can mislead.

I began to tell the story of the passion of Our Lord in youth-group settings, schools, retreats, conferences. Eventually music was added to the storytelling and we found that the combination created powerful drama and clearly brought people closer to the story and the relevance of this story in their lives.

Over the years, we have performed this live all over the United States as well as in five or six other countries. Through the live performance and the DVD, this story of God’s love for man has reached into many homes and by God’s grace into many lives. I cannot tell you how humbling it is to tell this story and to see the powerful impact, healing and conversion it has brought to so many lives. Thanks be to God.

Explain the new endeavor Radix is embarking on for fathers and sons. Why do you think this is necessary in our day and age?

For the last four years, I have been developing Radix Camp for fathers and sons. This is an opportunity for teenage boys and their fathers to get away from the world’s ideas of masculinity and the lies that go along with it and realize what God has always intended a man to be. Radix Camp is about taking good young men and challenging them to become heroic.

We focus on the three areas of a man: body, mind and soul. A man needs to be seeking to honor God in all three areas of his life if he is going to call himself a real man, a complete man. The deception that has permeated the hearts of so many men and been embraced by many in society has led to great destruction and chaos in countless lives.

Men need to wake up and realize that if we don’t get busy and get in the fight for truth, beauty and order, then those lives that God has given us influence over and responsibility for will suffer needlessly on many levels. This is happening all around us in today’s world.

How do you anticipate Radix Camp benefiting families, society and the Church?

The benefits of an endeavor such as this will be seen and felt for generations to come.

Radix Camp is the work of shaping men from the inside out. It is uniting the body, mind and soul of a man — where, by prayer, study and rugged physical challenge, these three aspects of a man are forged into a sword to be held in the hand of God to do battle in this world and fight for all that is good and just.

Throughout the world we see marriage, family, government, business and other areas of society suffer on many different fronts. Much of that suffering is rooted in poor or nonexistent leadership from the husband/father, politician, religious leader, businessman.

From the business world to the factory to the political arena and everywhere in between, when a man neglects his duty or ignores his responsibility and gives into the passions of the world and the flesh, he becomes a detriment to himself and to all those around him. He becomes a source of chaos.

The God-given design of a man has for centuries been that of a warrior, defender, protector, provider — in a word, a hero.

We see this perfectly shown in Christ. By His strength, noble character, service and complaint-free sacrifice we have the perfect role model. The impact of a heroically formed man has repercussions that can be felt for countless years.

There always seems to be plenty of discussion about the new feminism in Church discussions these days. Do you think there needs to be a new “masculinism” to respond to this?

Disorder is always dangerous. It leads to destruction on some level. Any time a man or woman lives contrary to God’s design there will be problems.

Many men seem to have simply folded when it comes to being a real man in the Church. And when I say “real man,” I am referring to the role that God has given to men.

By the grace of God, men absolutely need to unshackle themselves from the chains of complacency and apathy, and break free of the bonds of selfishness and worldly gratification. There is an ongoing battle raging all around us. It is a battle for souls.

God has given us his marching orders. We are called to be faithful to those orders. Every man, regardless of his vocation, must first realize this if he is going to understand how seriously he must take his role in this world.