The third episode of my podcast analysis of John Allen’s book The Future Church is posted here today.
This is one of the most interesting chapters in Allen’s book. The first chapter, entitled World Church, looked at the shifting demographics in global Catholicism. Already the majority of Catholics hail from the developing world and their predominance will change the Catholic Church completely in the twenty first century.
In this second chapter, “Evangelical Catholicism” Allen considers what seemed to be a rising trend in the church when the book was written ten years ago. In 2009 Benedict XVI’s papacy was at it’s zenith and it looked like his program of “the Reform of the Reform” was going to be the way forward for a good long time. Although elderly, he seemed in fairly good health and we looked forward to a decent length of his reign.
It was not to be. His shock resignation in 2013 and the election of Pope Francis–engineered it seems–by a liberal cabal, shifted Evangelical Catholicism onto the defensive. Allen’s chapter looked to the future in which this was a rising trend. It still is, but now it is pushing from a different direction. Whereas, during Benedict’s papacy it was “in” to be an Evangelical Catholic, now those of us who identify as such feel marginalized, confused and not a little bit angry at the way things have gone.
I, for one, am not pessimistic. I see within all this the decline of Evangelical Catholicism in North America, at least within the hierarchy and Catholic institutions (it was never very strong there anyway) but the rise of Evangelical Catholicism at the grass roots level–similar to the popular rising of Brexit and Trump-ism.
Furthermore, a new breed of Evangelical Catholicism is waiting in the wings. This might best be called Developing World Evangelical Catholicism. Combining Allen’s first two chapters would bring us to conclude that the new type of Evangelical Catholicism is young, African, Asian and Latin American. This is the fresh air of an Evangelical Catholicism which the more staid and liturgically minded Evangelical Catholics of North America may find disturbing.
Nevertheless, this is also one of the trends as we look forward to what God is doing in his church in this new century.
Remember: an abridged version of the podcasts are available free at BreadBox Media and other free podcast outlets. The abridged version is about 20 minutes. The third episode will be posted at BreadBox on Tuesday. Go here to listen to the first two episodes at BreadBox Media.
The full length version of episode Three (about 40 minutes) is available here for all level of Donor Subscribers.
Go here for Episode One – Introduction
Go here for Episode Two – World Church
Go here for Episode Three – Evangelical Catholicism
Go here to learn more about being a Donor Subscriber.