Magazine article U.S. Catholic

To Change the Church

Magazine article U.S. Catholic

To Change the Church

Article excerpt

TO CHANGE THE CHURCH

By Ross Douthat (Simon & Schuster, 2018)

One of Pope Francis' favorite Argentine expressions is !Hagan lio!, meaning "make noise" or "cause a disturbance." It's an appropriate tagline for a pope who, since his election, has been shaking up the church.

In his new book To Change the Church: Pope Francis and the Future of Catholicism, Ross Douthat notes that hagan lio can also mean "make a mess." That is precisely, argues Douthat, what Francis has done with his freewheeling approach to the papacy.

Douthat writes that he was initially encouraged by Francis' election. After more than a decade of stories about sexually abusive priests and corrupt Vatican officials, the church was in clear need of renewal. Even Douthat's fellow conservatives were touched by the vivid images of humility and Christian love that have accompanied Francis' papacy.

But the breaking point for Douthat was Francis' decision to embrace a pastoral opening to divorced and remarried Catholics that could allow them to receive communion under certain circumstances. …

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