The New York Times bestselling historian takes on a pressing question in modern religion—will Pope Francis embrace change?
Pope Francis, the first Jesuit pope and the first from the Americas, offers a challenge to his church. Can he bring about significant change? Should he?
Garry Wills, the prizewinning historian, argues that changes have been the evidence of life in the Catholic Church. It has often changed, sometimes with bad consequences, more often with good—good enough to make it perdure. In this brilliant and incisive study, he gives seven examples of deep and serious changes that have taken place (or are taking place) within the last century. None of them was effected by the pope all by himself.
As Wills contends, it is only by examining the history of the Church that we can understand Pope Francis’s and the Church’s challenges, and, as history shows, any changes that meet those challenges will have impact only if the Church, the people of God, support them. In reading the Church’s history, Wills considers the lessons Pope Francis seems to have learned. The challenge that Pope Francis offers the Church is its ability to undertake new spiritual adventures, making it a poor church for the poor, after the example of Jesus.