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“Church, Interrupted: Havoc and Hope: The Tender Revolt of Pope Francis"| Reviewed by Joan Kletzker

“Church Interrupted," by John Cornwell, is a well researched and honest appraisal of Pope Francis’ term as pope for the last eight years.

The book is divided into several sections, ranging from a broad overview of the Papacy, late 19th and 20th centuries to present; the future of the Church; and an appraisal of Francis by conservatives and liberals alike.

The author speaks about how the world today and the Papacy have changed each other. One change is that the Church can no longer “hide” behind theology and/or tradition. Digital and virtual revolutions have impacted the Church as well. Pope Francis uses the digital platforms with acumen.

Another area of much needed change is money handling in the Vatican. Pope Francis is cleaning up accounting practices, becoming more transparent and encouraging more ethical practices.

Pope Francis also is moving the Church into direct contact with the poor, the marginalized, the sick, homeless, and is focusing on the immigrant humanitarian crisis that’s occurring globally. Additionally the Pope is proving relentless in his environmental concerns and believes all peoples are responsible for the care of Mother Earth.

The Pope is inclusive of all faiths, religions, traditions and indigenous peoples. We all are in need of God’s mercy, is one of Francis’ recurrent themes. The Church, to succeed and be relevant, must be forgiving, merciful and must meet people where they are. He also is working to elevate women in administrative roles and give them more of a voice in decision-making.

Pope Francis has changed the look of the College of Cardinals, the group responsible for electing Popes. More Cardinals are now from Asia, South America and Africa than ever before.

The author tells us that the Pope holds all viewpoints in balance. He doesn’t think in an “either/or” way, but rather with a “both/and” mindset.

I found this book very well written and researched; from a “textbook” or a recanting of dry history. “The Church Interrupted” is objective, the author having interviewed people across the spectrum, from ultra liberal to ultra conservative. As a Catholic, I have renewed hope for the Church and its future. I learned a lot when I read this book. I hope you will read it.

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