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Extended Audio Sample The Future of the Catholic Church with Pope Francis Audiobook, by Garry Wills Click for printable size audiobook cover
0 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 5 0.00 (0 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Garry Wills Narrator: Michael Kramer Publisher: Blackstone Publishing Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: March 2015 ISBN: 9781481512343
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New York Times bestselling historian Garry Wills 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 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 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 the challenges facing both it and Francis, 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 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.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Beautifully conceived and wrought essays that systematically address the wrongheadedness of the Catholic Church over centuries—and the space therein for Francis’ long-needed reforms…A welcome, thoughtful menu for the new pope on how to proceed with reform.”

    Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

  • “Is it possible, or even prudent, for an institution that has survived for two thousand years to change? The Catholic Church, according to Wills, professor emeritus at Northwestern University, has changed substantially over the course of its existence and must continue to do so if it is to survive…The section on church-state relations is well researched, offering valuable insights into the contemporary American political landscape. And though he’s not a theologian, the author has obviously read in-depth exegetical work, and he presents solid and intelligent interpretations of Scripture to buoy his theses.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “In response to those who fear changes that Pope Francis may bring to the Catholic Church, historian Wills demonstrates here that change has been ongoing in the institution despite its reputation for immutability and that the church’s survival has resulted from adapting to the world around it…Highly recommended for all interested in a fact-based study of the church’s evolution.”

    Library Journal

  • “The specter of change looms over the Roman Catholic Church, an institution often represented as utterly inalterable…Wills writes accessibly but without a breath of condescension…The whole rings clear as a silver bell.”


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About the Author
Author Garry Wills

Garry Wills is a historian and the author of the New York Times bestsellers What Jesus Meant, Papal Sin, Why I Am a Catholic, and Why Priests?, among others. A frequent contributor to the New York Review of Books and other publications, Wills is a Pulitzer Prize winner and a professor emeritus at Northwestern University. He lives in Evanston, Illinois.

About the Narrator

Michael Kramer is an AudioFile Earphones Award winner, an Audie Award nominee, and recipient of a Publishers Weekly Listen-Up Award. He is also an actor and director in the Washington, DC, area, where he is active in the area’s theater scene and has appeared in productions at the Shakespeare Theatre, the Kennedy Center, and Theater J.