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A Church in Search of Itself: Benedict XVI and the Battle for the Futureby Robert Blair Kaiser
Synopses & Reviews
A hugely informed look at the intensifying struggle over the future of the Catholic Church.
Despite the popularity of John Paul II, opposition to many of his policies had hardened among Catholics by the time of his death. The Church had become more doctrinaire, the voices of millions of dissenters ignored. Now Robert Blair Kaiser examines the most important and divisive issues confronting the Church: the sex abuse scandal, a shortage of priests due to the insistence upon celibacy, the ban on contraception, the roles of women and gays in the Church, the failure to reach out sincerely to other faiths, the increased participation of laypeople in Church affairs.
He gives us in-depth portraits of six of the cardinals who gathered in Rome in April 2005 to choose a new popeRatzinger from Germany, Mahony from the United States, Murphy-OConnor from Britain, Rodríguez Maradiaga from Honduras, Arinze from Nigeria, and Darmaatmadja from Indonesiaand through them makes clear why Catholics worldwide are increasingly leaving the Church or defying Church doctrine. Finally, he explains why Ratzingers ascendance was assured, and what this might mean for the future.
With passion and heartfelt concern, Robert Blair Kaiser brilliantly illuminates the issues and the combatants in the battle for the souls of the Catholic world
"The Second Vatican Council initiated a revolution from which the Catholic Church is still reeling. This is the message that Kaiser, a former Jesuit who covered the most recent papal election for Newsweek, enunciates in this proficient book. Kaiser interviewed an eclectic mix of church hierarchy and Catholic laity working for grassroots change around the world. These profiles, set within the context of the latest papal election, accentuate the discord between those in the church who want change and those who prefer tradition. Kaiser's narrative illustrates that the Catholic Church, once entrenched in an old-world European style, is being flavored with cultural influences from around the globe. He highlights cardinals from Honduras, Nigeria and Indonesia, all of whom approach ecclesiastical authority, and their own exercise of it, very differently. Kaiser is not afraid to argue for change within the structures of the church, astutely noting that 'because the Church was human, it was always in need of reform.' Kaiser is a master of the Catholic world.. Those interested in the future of the Catholic Church would do well to pay careful attention to Kaiser's work." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
A noted expert reveals the behind-the-scenes story of the ongoing conflicts in the Catholic Church that have only been heightened by the ascendancy of Benedict XVI, and explains why the Church is now in a deep crisis.
About the Author
Robert Blair Kaiser spent ten years in the Jesuits before he left to pursue a career in journalism. He was a religion reporter for The New York Times, Time, and CBS, and is now a contributing editor in Rome for Newsweek. He is the editor of JustGoodCompany.com, a journal of religion and culture. His books include Clerical Error; The Politics of Sex and Religion; and Pope, Council, and World. He lives in Phoenix, Arizona, and in Rome.
Table of Contents
Politics: Toward a People's Church
Death: A Call to Serve by Suffering
Vacant: The Sacredness of Process
Legacy: More Than a Pope
Cardinal Roger Mahony: Clericalism Still Rules
Priesthood: No Kind of Magic
Cardinal Cormac Murphy-OConnor: People of Other Faiths?
Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga: The Gospel in Every Culture
Liberation: All They Can Be
Cardinal Francis Arinze: Developing Local Theologies
Cardinal Julius Darmaatmadja: A Truly Asian Church
Syncreticism: The Heart, Then Understanding
Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger: Order in the Church
Postmortem: A Tsunami of Meaning
Conclave: One Smart Move After Another
Benedict XVI: Keeping the People in the Pews
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