Revolution in Rome

Article excerpt

Liberal Catholics in the U.S. and Europe fault John Paul II for being out of touch with his Church; but they're the ones, alas, who are out of touch. Their Church's future, whether they like it or not, is in the hands of their Third World coreligionists, who share the current Pope's lack of affection for democracy, pluralism, and church-state separation. And the Pope knows this--as do the like-minded cronies with whom he's packed the College of Cardinals, and who will choose his successor. "In the traditionalist view," explains Philip Jenkins, in The Next Christendom (2002), "adapting to become relevant or sensitive to the needs of Western elites would be suicidal for the long-term prospects of the Church. It is the so-called traditionalists, rather than the liberals, who are playing the political game of the new century."....

Yet the changes ahead may not all be to the traditionalists' liking. While Catholic clergy in Africa, for example, love the idea of an all-male hierarchy, celibacy holds little appeal for them. …