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Outline ReviewReligion journalist David Gibson delivers a controversial state of the union address for the Catholic Church. Although his writing style is journalistic, heavily infused with quotes from big-name sources in the Church, Gibson is not an objective reporter. He clearly believes that the current crisis is not about a lack of faith in Godbut, rather, a breakdown of trust in the Church's leadership. Of course, an obvious source of this breakdown is the leadership's failures to stop, prevent, or even publicly acknowledge the fact that Church personnel were sexually abusing children and young people. But he also believes that the ensuing crisis of 2002 was a kind of "perfect storm" where powerful forces of tension that "have been bearing down on Catholicism for decades" converged into an inventible, stormy clash. Gibson is most controversial when portraying a seemingly indifferent and arrogant Church leadership that is reticent to hold itself accountable to its constituents. Ultimately, he stands most closely beside the diverse and devout lay people of the Church-seeing them as the instigators of vast and necessary reforms. Historically, change in the Catholic Church has come from the bottom up. But in earlier times that change was kick-started by its influential religious orders of monks and nuns as well as individual champions, such as Teresa of Avila and Hildegarde von Bingen. Nowadays, "with the numbers of nuns and brothers falling even faster than the priests," it is up to the laity to create the revolution from below, according to Gibson. He sees this laity leadership rising out of a movement that is in already in place in America, where the laity now read the Scriptures at Mass, distribute the Host to congregants, teach Catechism classes to the next generation and serve as chaplains in nursing homes and college campuses. While it's too soon after the storm to completely assess the damage or predict the course of the future--Gibson is certainly offering a conversation that this crisis-battered community needs to have. --Gail Hudson
Award-winning religion journalist David Gibson presents a startlingly clear-eyed look at the impact of the sexual abuse scandals on the Catholic Church and how they have set off a revolution from below that is galvanizing North America's rank-and-file Catholics to bring positive changes to their Church.
The Catholic Church is at a crossroad. People on all sides are demanding change, but few are sure how that change can happen. Recent history suggests a powerful minority will block any reforms.
In this sweeping assessment of where the Church has been, and where it is going, David Gibson uses his insider's knowledge and sources to reveal the forces that are already transforming Catholicism -- from the laity to the besieged priesthood to the papacy itself. Laypeople, especially women, are taking larger roles in Church life as the number of priests continues to decline. Priests are redefining their calling as scandals and shortages spark changes not seen in a thousand years, including new openings for married priests. Bishops, under fire from every quarter, are struggling to reimagine how the Church can be governed, while the College of Cardinals are waging an intense -- and increasingly public -- debate over how the next papacy will be different from the current one.
The Catholic Church is always changing, but today the need for immediate reforms is more urgent than ever as Catholicism seeks to remain vital to American life and faithful to its authentic mission of following Jesus. In The Coming Catholic Church David Gibson examines the disputes that have polarized Catholicism and focuses on the new forces that are currently bringing Catholics together. From Church governance at the parish level and the selection of bishops to the way Catholics now view the rule of Rome, Gibson explains the transformations coming through both a revolution from below and an impending change at the top of the Church. This book is an expression of the heartfelt feelings and aspirations of all Catholics, from the people in the pew to the priests in the pulpit, as they struggle to renew their faith and their Church.
Buy The Coming Catholic Church: How the Faithful Are Shaping a New American Catholicism by David Gibson from our Christian Books store - isbn: 9780060530709 & 0060530707 upc: 099455022958
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