Roman Catholicism stands at a crossroads, a classic ''best of times, worst of times'' moment. On the one hand, the Catholic Church remains by far the largest branch of the worldwide Christian family, and is growing at a remarkable clip. Yet the Church has also been rocked by a series of scandals related to the sexual abuse of minors by clergy, and, even more devastating, the cover-up by the Church hierarchy. The decade-long crisis has taken a massive financial toll, but the blow to both the internal morale and the external moral standing of the Church has been even steeper. Today, the Church has enormous residual strength and exciting future prospects, but also faces steep internal and external challenges. The question of ''whither Catholicism'' is of vital public relevance, for believers and non-believers alike. In The Catholic Church: What Everyone Needs to Know, John L. Allen, Jr., one of the world's leading authorities on the Vatican, offers an authoritative and accessible guide to the past, present, and future of the Church. This updated edition includes a new chapter on the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI, the election of Pope Francis, and his extraordinary tenure thus far.
Allen is a veteran Vaticanista whose coverage of the papacy for National Catholic Reporter has made him the media's go-to guy on church politics. But Allen's ability to clearly explain the arcane workings of Roman Catholicism to experts and lay people alike is as impressive as his punditry, and that skill is on full display in his latest book. In 12 chapters, Allen gives a smart, highly readable primer on the mechanics of the Catholic Church and on the doctrines and history of Catholicism. His longtime perch in Rome also gives him a global perspective on Catholicism that is often obscured by events on the ground. Allen periodically indulges in his trademark analysis as well, salting the narrative with insights about present controversies and future possibilities for the church. This is an excellent handbook for those who want (or need) to know more about the Catholic Church and for those who think they already know it all.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Stop Doing This!
Stop updating the book by a few pages and then selling it separately. Just add the update to the original edition. Give the update to those who bought it already. It's an easy thing to do with eBooks. Offer only the new edition to new customers, instead of multiple editions mixed in the market. This is possible. Good publishers who want to keep customers do it! I was planning on finishing the two I've already bought and then getting a couple more. Now, I'm frustrated to see the new updates. Thanks for leaving me out. I'm walking away because of this.