Weigel thinks Pope Francis embodies Church's future
By David Uebbing
Pope Francis meets with the cardinals in the Clementine Hall of the Apostolic Palace on March 15, 2013. Credit: CTV.
Pope Francis meets with the cardinals in the Clementine Hall of the Apostolic Palace on March 15, 2013. Credit: CTV.

.- Catholic author and scholar George Weigel believes that Pope Francis embodies the type of Catholicism that is needed for the Church to thrive in the modern cultural context.

“I think Pope Francis embodies the Church's turn into the Evangelical Catholicism of the future in a profound way,” Weigel told CNA on March 15, just two days into the new papacy.

“If he can reform the Curia and turn it into a more effective instrument of the New Evangelization, while concurrently being the Church's principal evangelist, he will have done precisely what the Church needs in these first decades of the new millennium,” he said.

Weigel, who is the author of the official biography of Pope John Paul II and numerous other books on contemporary Catholicism, has just released “Evangelical Catholicism: Deep Reform in the 21st-Century Church” (Basic Books, $27.99).

In a March 8 interview with CNA before the election of the new Pope, Weigel explained that he was motivated to write the book because it “seemed to me two years ago that a number of things were beginning to come into focus.”

“I had been thinking about the long trajectory of modern Church history for a long time … and it finally came clear to me that this ‘Church of the New Evangelization’ or ‘Evangelical Catholicism’ was the prism through which all of that deep reform that had been underway since Leo XIII was being focused,” he explained.

In fact, Weigel asserted, the Church was and is at “a hinge moment” in its history, a time when “a new mode of being Catholic was being born, and that this was not dissimilar from other such transition points in Catholic history.”

His aim in writing “Evangelical Catholicism” was to describe a future that “is already being born,” and to offer “some very specific suggestions on how to accelerate that.”

Weigel spends the first half of his latest work explaining his vision of Evangelical Catholicism which “is being born out of 120 years of Catholic reform.”

It places “friendship with Jesus Christ at the center of the Christian experience, a friendship nurtured by an intensified sacramental life and a deeper encounter with the Bible, all of which lead to a Church in mission,” he explained to CNA.

In the second half of his book, Weigel looks at the numerous vocations, institutions and apostolates in the Church and offers his ideas for how to carry out an Evangelical Catholic reform.

Some of the areas he addresses are: the episcopate, the priesthood, consecrated life, the liturgy, the lay vocation, the intellectual sphere, the Church’s public policy advocacy, and the papacy.

In the interview, Weigel offered his thoughts on the “Global South,” the area where the Church has grown the most in the recent decades, which also happens to include the new Pope’s homeland of Argentina.

“I think there is real opportunity now in Latin America to move in this direction,” he said, pointing to a 2007 document issued by the bishops of Latin America that “marked the real turning point from institutional maintenance, Counter-Reformation Catholicism, in Latin America, which had counted on the ambient culture to carry the faith for 500 years.”

“That’s not there anymore, so it has to be proposed and proposed and proposed again.”

Weigel also reflected on the “developed world,” where the vital areas of Catholicism “are the Evangelical Catholic parts.”

In his view, “‘Catholic Lite’ is finished. It’s going to take another 20 years for some people to figure that out, but it’s over.

“And it’s over for a very simple reason. It doesn’t work,” he stated.

“It’s incapable of engaging this toxic culture and it’s incapable of inspiring people to embrace the full symphony of Catholic truth and then share that.”

When it comes to Pope Francis, Weigel believes that he understands this reality well.

“He has lived a Gospel-centered ministry in Argentina. He knows that a ‘kept’ Church – ‘kept’ in the sense of legal establishment, cultural habit, or both – has no future, given the acids of secularism.”

Tags: Pope Francis

Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages


Ads by Google (What's this?)

Featured Videos

Pope Francis celebrates the closing Mass and announces site of next World Youth Day
Pope Francis celebrates the closing Mass and announces site of next World Youth Day
Pope Francis visits poor neighborhood and meets with young people from Argentina
Pope Francis celebrates Mass at the National Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida
Denver rally draws hundreds in support of religious freedom
Pope Francis prays over a sick man in St Peter's Square
Denver women's clinic will offer natural, Catholic care
Interview Clips: Barbara Nicolosi speaks to CNA
US Cardinals press conference at North American College
Pope Benedict to retire to monastery inside Vatican City
Pope cites waning strength as reason for resignation
Hundreds convene in Denver to urge respect for life
New Orange bishop encourages Catholic unity in diversity
Chinese pro-life activist calls for reform, international attention
At Lincoln installation, Bishop Conley says holiness is success
Mother Cabrini shrine reopens in Chicago after a decade
Ordination of 33 deacons fills St. Peter's with joy
Cardinal says "Charity is the mother of all the virtues"
Augustine Institute expands evangelization effort with new campus
Bishops recall 'Way of St. James' as chance to trust in God
Los Angeles cathedral's newest chapel houses Guadalupe relic

Liturgical Calendar

April 24, 2014

Thursday within the Octave of Easter

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Lk 24:35-48


Daily Readings

First Reading:: Acts 3:11-26
Gospel:: Lk 24:35-48

Saint of the Day

Easter Sunday »


Homily of the Day

Lk 24:35-48


Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com
Text only

Follow us: