By comparing broadly similar situations of poverty in 19th-century Europe and 20th-century Latin America, Levi reaches the conclusion that, in its reluctance to go beyond rhetoric in dealing with poverty, the church may lose the loyalty of its Third World constituency in much the same way as it lost the loyalty of the labor movement in the 19th century. The book examines Pope John Paul II's progressivism in dealing with poverty and the similarities between the socialist leanings of the Pope's speeches and the Liberation Theologian's writings. Levi points out, however, that the Pope's progressivism is not shared by the Vatican officialdom.
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