The Future of Catholicism

8232By putting compassion ahead of doctrinal enforcement, Pope Francis I promises nothing less than a wholesale transformation of the Roman Catholic Church. But, for all of the hope and excitement that he has inspired, is this anything more than just a passing phase? (Francis, after all, will be 80 years old in December. He also has just one functioning lung and is three years into a papacy that he himself has said will probably last no longer than five.) In this month’s edition of “Up Next,” host Marty Lasden examines Francis’s likely legacy, and what that legacy portends for the church as a whole, with Thomas J. Reese, a Jesuit priest who also happens to be one of this country’s most respected church journalists. In fact, back in 2014 President Obama appointed him to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, a bipartisan policy group for which he now serves as its chair. However, for all of the accolades that Reese has received over the years, his career has not been without controversy. And in 2005 one major controversy came to a head when the Vatican’s head enforcer—a cardinal named Joseph Ratzinger who later became Pope Benedict XVI—forced Reese to resign as the editor-in-chief of a Jesuit magazine called “America” for publishing too many articles that dared to question church policy. “In my soul,” says Reese, “I didn’t think there was a conflict [between being a good journalist and being an obedient priest]. “But other people thought there was a conflict. And that’s why I got fired.” Of course, all of that happened well before Francis came along.

Watch The Future of Catholicism — Up Next: Perspectives on the Future of Everything