[...] his opening sentence pays tribute to the cultural trend-spotter and op-ed columnist Thomas L. Friedman, and it sets the tone for what is to follow. Two concluding chapters describe the author's methodology for settling on ten trends (he lists another twenty-five that he considered), and offer a "standalone summary" of what Allen calls the "upside-down church" he envisions as Catholicism's future: a universal church dominated by the culture, practice, and theology of Southern Hemisphere Catholics, who already constitute a majority of the world's Catholics.
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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