Wounded Shepherd: Pope Francis and His Struggle To Convert the Catholic Church

Holt. Nov. 2019. 416p. notes. index. ISBN 9781250119384. $30; ebk. ISBN 9781250119391. REL
British journalist Ivereigh (The Great Reformer) here describes a church struggling to put Christ at its center. The book focuses on efforts by Pope Francis and the church on “conversion” and the turbulence that followed, with progressives feeling that he isn’t going far enough and traditionalists opposing changes in the status quo. Ivereigh compares the pope to St. Francis of Assisi, highlighting their common goals of repairing the church and combating spiritual worldliness. Themes running through the book include clericalism’s perversion of power, at the root of many of the church’s problems; preference for synodal rather than hierarchical governance; greater inclusion of the laity, including women, in key church roles; the importance of focusing on the marginal rather than the center of the institution; and the far-reaching implications of the clergy sex abuse crisis. Ivereigh notes the strong influence on Francis of the 2007 Latin American Aparecida conference, especially on major papal documents on the family, the environment, and evangelization. Though clearly sympathetic to Francis, the author’s assertions are well documented.
VERDICT Highly recommended for readers seeking to understand the complexities of a papacy very different from those of the recent past.

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