“The Future of Catholicism” by Michael Coren (McClelland & Steward, 256 pages, in stores)
The Catholic Church has been around for roughly 2,000 years. With more than 1 billion members, it is one of the largest institutions — if not the largest institution — in the world. It has survived persecutions, heresies, the Great Schism and the Protestant Reformation. But what is its future?
Canadian writer Michael Coren, a 1985 convert to Catholicism, takes a look at his faith's future.
In the introduction, Coren looks back to the March 2013 papal election of Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio and the questions of how the new Pope Francis would shape the church. Coren says the church might change some things but cannot and will not change its teachings.
Coren write, “The book is called ‘The Future of Catholicism,' not ‘How to Make Failed Catholics Feel Good About Themselves,' or ‘A Handbook for Catholics Who Want a More Protestant Church.'”
He reminds us the church “does not exist to change the faith to reflect the world but to change the world to reflect the faith.”
Coren believes the church's stand on traditional marriage will be “a point of persecution” for Catholics.
Some other faiths allow same-sex marriage, and Coren says many Protestants have converted to Catholicism because of its defense of traditional marriage. As more faiths and governments support same-sex marriage, Coren predicts the future Catholic Church “will be as countercultural as it was in its earliest days.”
You can't write about the church and avoid abortion and birth control. Coren covers the church's position on those issues and stresses the faith will not change its teachings just because the same old arguments are brought up by the opposition. He says the church's teaching is not about denying a woman's rights; it is about “expanding life.” On these issues, he advises the church “needs to explain not what its critics think it believes but it actually believes about this so personal and delicate an issue.” He warns that misunderstanding, abuse and anger will face the church because of the issues.