The extraordinary impact of Pope Francis’ election has been phenomenal by any standards, and particularly the way in which he has completely revitalised the Catholic Church in the public imagination.
This volume of essays assesses the first year of the new papacy and seeks to elucidate what constitutes the ‘Francis Factor’. What is it about this man that makes people reconsider their attitude to Catholicism and t religion in general? Will he be able to effect change within an institution not renowned for its malleability? Is he all that different from his immediate predecessors or will he, like them, ultimately succumb to the tried and tested?
Among the contributors to this book are theologians, historians, journalists, clergy, sociologists and commentators of the highest calibre. Their assessments of Francis are based on his Jesuit formation, life experience, writings, interviews, spiritual witness and human interactions. The result is a highly thought-provoking and readable account of Francis the public and private man.
A year is an extremely short time in the history of the Catholic Church and it is astonishing that Francis’ election in 2013 appears to have heralded an unprecedented new departure in the life of that institution.
Eamon Maher is Director of the National Centre for Franco-Irish Studies at the Institute of Technology, Tallaght, Dublin. His publications concentrate in the main on various aspects of the Franco-Irish nexus and he is currently writing a book on the Catholic Novel.
John Littleton, a priest of the Archdiocese of Cashel and Emly, is Director of The Priory Institute, Tallaght, Dublin. He has a particular interest in relating the principles of organisational culture and development to changing Church structures. He is a weekly columnist with The Catholic Times.