KOLKATA, (C.M. Paul) — A Church in Search of Itself: Benedict XVI and the Battle for the Future is the title of the book written by the man who has embarked upon a mission as he says, to expose “the human face of the council.“ His lecture tour in India marking 50th anniversary of Vatican II Council kicks of in Kolkata (15th September, 2012) and is expected to travel among other cities to Darjeeling, Guwahati, Shillong and New Delhi till 5th October.
The Second Vatican Council initiated a revolution from which the Catholic Church is still reeling. This is the message that Robert Blair Kaiser, a former Jesuit who covered the most recent papal election for Newsweek, enunciates in this proficient book. Kaiser is author of five books on the post-conciliar Church.
Despite the popularity of John Paul II, opposition to many of his policies had hardened among Catholics by the time of his death in 2005.
The Church had become more doctrinaire, the voices of millions of dissenters ignored.
Award winning New York Times Vatican II reporter Kaiser examines the most important and divisive issues confronting the Church: the sex abuse scandal, a shortage of priests due to the insistence upon celibacy, the ban on contraception, the roles of women and gays in the Church, the failure to reach out sincerely to other faiths, the increased participation of laypeople in Church affairs.
Kaiser gives an in-depth and behind-the-scenes view of six of the cardinals who gathered in Rome in April 2005 to choose a new pope — Ratzinger from Germany, Mahony from the United States, Murphy-O’Connor from Britain, Rodríguez Maradiaga from Honduras, Arinze from Nigeria, and Darmaatmadja from Indonesia—and through them makes clear why Catholics worldwide are increasingly leaving the Church or defying Church doctrine. Finally, he explains why Ratzinger’s ascendance was assured, and what this might mean for the future.
With passion and heartfelt concern, 81 year old Kaiser brilliantly illuminates the issues and the combatants in the battle for the soul of the Catholic world.
Kaiser is not afraid to argue for change within the structures of the church, astutely noting that “because the Church was human, it was always in need of reform.”
“This timely, well-informed, and brilliantly written book shows that all the urgent reforms in the Catholic Church should start with reforming its very center: the Vatican.” —Hans Küng
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About the Author
Robert Blair Kaiser spent ten years in the Society of Jesus (but was not ordained) before turning to journalism. He worked for the Arizona Republic, The New York Times, and CBS (for whom he covered Vatican II), and is the author of ten books including Clerical Error, The Politics of Sex and Religion, and Pope, Council, and World. He is the co-author of Jubilee 2000, a prize-winning musical comedy celebrating 2,000 years of Christianity, and the editor of an online journal of religion and culture, JustGoodCompany.com. He covered the recent papal conclave for Newsweek, Newsday, and CBS.