Cloudy Crystal Ball by ProQuest


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									                                Patrick Jordan                                                                            uses to disparage both liberals and con-
                                                                                                                          servatives he feels are overly concerned

                                Cloudy	Crystal	Ball                                                                       with such matters as authority and dis-
                                                                                                                          sent, women’s ordination, or the shape
                                                                                                                          of the liturgy.
                                                                             and “Evangelical Catholicism,” outside          While this is ostensibly a book exam-
                                The	Future	Church                            influences like Islam and Pentecostal-       ining trends that are “revolutionizing”
                                How	Ten	Trends	Are	Revolutionizing	          ism, and megatrends like globalization,      the church, much of Allen’s argument
                                the	Catholic	Church                          multipolarism, demographics, and ecol-       has to do with the status quo and with
                                John L. Allen Jr.                            ogy. Two concluding chapters describe        inferring that the demographic growth of
                                Doubleday, $28, 480 pp.
                                                                             the author’s methodology for settling on     the church in the Southern Hemisphere
                                                                             ten trends (he lists another twenty-five     will cement more conservative theologi-

                                J   ohn Allen is the most prolific and
                                    widely quoted reporter on the Catho-
                                    lic scene in the United States today.
                                For years he has served as the National
                                                                             that he considered), and offer a “stand-
                                                                             alone summary” of what Allen calls the
                                                                             “upside-down church” he envisions as
                                                                             Catholicism’s future: a universal church
                                                                                                                          cal and cultural views in the church’s
                                                                                                                          coming century. With Pentecostalism
                                                                                                                          spreading rapidly in the global South, he
                                                                                                                          argues, Catholicism will have to become
                                Catholic Reporter’s correspondent from       dominated by the culture, practice, and      more like its competitor if it wishes to
                                the Vatican, where he gained access          theology of Southern Hemisphere Catho-       grow and thrive.
                                and institutional trust. Now back in the     lics, who already constitute a majority of      Allen also seems more comfortable
                                United States, he streams columns and        the world’s Catholics.                       providing lists, statistics, anecdotes,
                                dispatches across the Internet. When            Allen begins by declaring that his book   and sound bites than making analytical
                                a pope travels or makes an apparently        will be “an exercise in description, not     arguments. When he does offer a more
                                newsworthy pronouncement, Allen              prescription,” that he will “entrust the     sustained appraisal, he usually relies on
                                will be quoted in the mainstream press       prescriptive debate to better minds than     the views of “orthodox” Catholic com-
                                or appear on CNN or PBS to explain           my own.” Each chapter presents a sum-        mentators like George Weigel. Allen’s
                                what is going on. His column “All Things     mary of “what is happening” in a specific    dry, rapid-fire, repetitiv
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