Descripción de editorial
A New York Times columnist and one of America’s leading conservative thinkers considers Pope Francis’s efforts to change the church he governs in a book that is “must reading for every Christian who cares about the fate of the West and the future of global Christianity” (Rod Dreher, author of The Benedict Option).
Born Jorge Mario Bergoglio in 1936, today Pope Francis is the 266th pope of the Roman Catholic Church. Pope Francis’s stewardship of the Church, while perceived as a revelation by many, has provoked division throughout the world. “If a conclave were to be held today,” one Roman source told The New Yorker, “Francis would be lucky to get ten votes.”
In his “concise, rhetorically agile…adroit, perceptive, gripping account (The New York Times Book Review), Ross Douthat explains why the particular debate Francis has opened—over communion for the divorced and the remarried—is so dangerous: How it cuts to the heart of the larger argument over how Christianity should respond to the sexual revolution and modernity itself, how it promises or threatens to separate the church from its own deep past, and how it divides Catholicism along geographical and cultural lines. Douthat argues that the Francis era is a crucial experiment for all of Western civilization, which is facing resurgent external enemies (from ISIS to Putin) even as it struggles with its own internal divisions, its decadence, and self-doubt. Whether Francis or his critics are right won’t just determine whether he ends up as a hero or a tragic figure for Catholics. It will determine whether he’s a hero, or a gambler who’s betraying both his church and his civilization into the hands of its enemies.
“A balanced look at the struggle for the future of Catholicism…To Change the Church is a fascinating look at the church under Pope Francis” (Kirkus Reviews). Engaging and provocative, this is “a pot-boiler of a history that examines a growing ecclesial crisis” (Washington Independent Review of Books).
In this balanced investigation, Douthat (Bad Religion), columnist for the New York Times and convert to Catholicism, wonders whether Pope Francis will ultimately be helpful or harmful to the Catholic Church. The author describes his religious worldview as "conservative, in the sense that it assumes the church needs a settled core of doctrine, a clear unbroken link to the New Testament and the early Church, for Catholicism's claims and structure and demands to make any sense at all." Douthat explores the pontiff's early days as a Jesuit in South America and his rise through the ranks of Church leadership. The former Cardinal Bergoglio chose the name Francis after the saint from Assisi who lived a simple life dedicated to the poor. This choice has set a tone for a papacy that has become increasingly progressive and more concerned about persons than strict doctrine. Douthat writes that many in the Church view Francis's unprecedented choices as at odds with church tradition. For example, many have become alarmed at Francis's statements about divorced Catholics who have not had their marriages annulled still being able to receive communion. His main concern is that Pope Francis is stirring up ambiguity regarding Catholic teaching on divorce, remarriage, and homosexuality. Douthat is never shy about sharing his staunch beliefs, but he is able to temper them with modesty and asks more questions than he answers. Those interested in contemporary Catholicism and how it might develop will be pleased with this look at the liberalizing policies of Pope Francis.