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The Future Church: How Ten Trends are Revolutionizing the Catholic Church [Hardcover]

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Item Specifications...

Pages   469
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9.46" Width: 6.42" Height: 1.23"
Weight:   1.75 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Dec 9, 2009
Publisher   Doubleday Religion
ISBN  0385520387  
EAN  9780385520386  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...
Offers a forecast about the future of the Catholic Church and the implications of the changes that will occur, identifying ten important trends that will revolutionize the the policies, doctrines, and practices of Catholicism over the next century.

Publishers Description
"One of the world's foremost religion journalists offers an unexpected and provocative look at where the Catholic Church is headed""--and what the changes will mean for all of us."
What will the Catholic Church be like in 100 years? Will there be a woman pope? Will dioceses throughout the United States and the rest of the world go bankrupt from years of scandal? In THE FUTURE CHURCH, John L. Allen puts forth the ten trends he believes will transform the Church into the twenty-second century. From the influence of Catholics in Africa, Asia, and Latin America on doctrine and practices to the impact of multinational organizations on local and ethical standards, Allen delves into the impact of globalization on the Roman Catholic Church and argues that it must rethink fundamental issues, policies, and ways of doing business. Allen shows that over the next century, the Church will have to respond to changes within the institution itself and in the world as a whole whether it is contending with biotechnical advances--including cloning and genetic enhancement--the aging Catholic population, or expanding the roles of the laity.
Like Thomas Friedman's "The World Is Flat," THE FUTURE CHURCH establishes a new framework for meeting the challenges of a changing world.

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More About John L. Allen, Jr.

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! JOHN L. ALLEN, Jr., is the Vatican correspondent for the National Catholic Reporter and a Vatican analyst for CNBN and National Public Radio. He is the author of Conclave, All the Pope s Men, and Opus Dei, and writes the weekly Internet column, The Word from Rome. He lives in New York City and Rome."

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Product Categories
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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Lots of good info to get through but well worth it  Feb 4, 2010
If you have any interest in the Roman Catholic Church, this book should be on your "to read" list. John Allen uses his extensive journalistic experience covering the Church to share with us ten "mega-trends" facing Roman Catholics well into the 21st century. As an American Catholic who works in a Catholic midwestern parish, I appreciated John's global perspective that opened my eyes to more than just issues that I or my neighbors in the U.S. face (witchcraft? polygamy? Yup!). It truly does give one a catholic, i.e. universal perspective, and I think a reliable if not infallible one, since John has so many connections all over the world. When you can get three Cardinals from three different continents to read your book before publication, that's saying something.

This is a well researched book divided into 10 trends. While these 10 chapters were quite interesting and informative, his summary chapter at the end, which I read after the introduction - something he suggests - was a great beginning before plowing through the body of the book. I also enjoyed the chapter on "Trends That Aren't" where he talks about why he chose what he did and shares many topics that didn't make the cut and why. It's funny that someone suggested that one of the most important issues facing the global church is "Clown Masses." For real. It was suggested (I'm sure Pope Benedict loses sleep over Clown Masses. On second thought, maybe he does). The author wisely didn't devote a chapter to it. I enjoyed his consideration of more serious topics and his reasoning as to why they didn't make the cut as well.

Speaking as a lowly Dir. of Religious Education at the parish level, I would think any bishop would be wise to make the time to read this book and take these issues and his recommendations seriously (and priests, religious, and lay persons as well). One might even create a pastoral plan for the future around many if not all of these items, such as: Bioethics, Ecology, Expanding Lay Ministry, Evangelical Catholicism, Pentecostalism, Demographics, Multipolarism, Globalization, Islam, etc. All, he argues, are critical issues, and he does a good job arguing his case, including a ton of research (with references at the end of the book that can be looked up and read, though no footnotes or endnotes, which I didn't like). Then, based on this argument for each trend, he tries to predict how these issues will affect the Church, dividing his recommendations into categories: "Near-certain," "Probable," "Possible," and "Long-Shot." I thought his near certain and probable consequences were right on; the long shots were a bit far-fetched at times, but heh, its his book. He did the research, he can take wild guesses if he wants. And some are wild: a Catholic mission on Mars? Alien Baptisms?! Come on John, be realistic! (okay, that was a joke. He didn't recommend either one)

Worth the money and time to read. But with all the info, a little difficult to get through at times. I skipped around and read the trends that most piqued my interest first. I don't think he'd mind. They're not ranked in order 1-10 by importance or anything like that. It's really a sociological study of the Roman Catholic Church into the 21st century, even though he is not a sociologist. Not necessarily what you may want to hear or what you'd prefer the Church to be or be focusing on, but probably right on target as to the way it is now and will be, barring some miracle of God or act of nature, like contact with aliens or a meteor hitting earth.

Mike Haigerty

Furute Church: the Catholic world according to John Allen  Feb 3, 2010
In his characteristic meticulous researching, John Allen has come to visualize a future Roman Catholic church. He sees this vision shaped by ten trends, which he has sensed by multi-national, multilevel discussions with lay and clerics ranging from the lay parishioner to cardinals of the Church. The vision he sets forth will surprise American catholics who have not been monitoring the development of the church in Africa, South America, and India. He sees the emergence of a church whose epicenter shifts southward, and sets forth what he thinks this will entail. Consider a black African Pope or an Asian one. His ten trends include social change also: new views towards celibacy, liberalization of some aspects of the church and a shift toward conservatism in others. He includes his take on the evolution of the role of women in the Church. In a short review, it is difficult to detail the wealth of lore in this 450 page book, but I would invirte readers to join him in his journey and enter into the discussion of this very original and enlightening look into the future of the Catholic Church.
An excellent book  Jan 30, 2010
THE FUTURE CHURCH is a well written and accurately researched text. The Catholic Church in the 21st century will certainly evolve in the direction John Allen describes, even though some of us may long for the more liberal days following Vatican II. This is a call to expand American horizons and pray for a more inclusive world view.

I wholeheartedly recommend the book for individual reading and group discussion.
An Incredible Book  Jan 23, 2010
I am truly amazed that more people haven't reviewed this book. In a word - it's an amazing book, especially for those who appreciate analysis. John Allen is one of the ultimate insiders in the Catholic Church. Allen is the Catholic reporter and analyst for CNN and NPR. He is also the only credible, universally respected writer for the National Catholic Reporter, a newspaper for Catholic fossils. I greatly appreciate Allen's blog weekly updates. His books are balanced, objective, and in a word, outstanding. However, I would really have to say that this book is his best. His identification and explanation of the 10 trends of the future is very well-substantiated. In particular, I especially valued his section on Islam - I learned so much from reading this assessment. I really think that every Church leader, Catholic or not, should be bought a copy. J. Allen - keep up the good work!
Excellent, Balanced, Global Assessment  Dec 28, 2009
This book so thoroughly covers the main issues facing the Catolic church, I will be forever changed in the way I view our world and my faith. Like many Americans, I thought the issues that are "hot" here are hot everywhere in the Church. This is not the case. There are very real, very different concerns depending on where you live. For example, did you know there are 1 priest to every 1,300 Catholics in the US, but it's more like 1 to 8,000 in South America? Wow. If you already knew that you may pat yourself on the back; but I would still bet there is some issue in this book you don't know as much about as you thought.

Things addressed in the book include: globalization, pentecostalism, lay roles, and ecology to name a few I particularly enjoyed learning about. If your "issue" is not listed he even explains why in the last chapter. However, if you read the book chances are good you will find it woven through several chapters. The style of writing is easy to follow, thought provoking, and filled with statistics and sources.

As a Catholic born post-Vatican II, I learned a lot from this book. The author doesn't come across as ultra-conservative which would have turned me off. Neither does he seem ultra-liberal which would have left me wondering how much he really has his finger on the pulse of the church. It seems like he's in the middle like me.

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