Book Review: The Joy of the Gospel (Pope Francis)

The Joy of the GospelFew people alive today are more popular and polarizing than Pope Francis. No one seems sure quite how to respond to the Bishop of Rome, nor are they sure whose side (if any) he is taking in ongoing theological and cultural debates. Sensational media claims about Francis “revolutionizing” the Catholic faith are overblown, to be sure, but Catholics of a staunch traditionalist bent also right in noting that the current successor to Peter is no mirror image of his papal predecessors. It was thus with great anticipation that I read Francis’ The Joy of the Gospel, if for no other reason than to engage the Pope on his own terms. Continue reading

PRV2: Conciliar Context

This post is part of our ongoing series examining Protestant Reactions to Vatican II.

St. Peter’s Basilica, Vatican City

Before examining any specific reactions to Vatican II, we must negotiate several historical and methodological problems. The first is the issue of historical placement. Though nearly fifty years removed from the closing of the council, the chronological proximity of this study to the council itself urges a continual, cautioned examination of Vatican II. As Morgan Patterson rightly reminds us, to offer a final verdict on the council so near in time to council could be viewed as “presumptuous, not to say a hazardous exercise. Impressions lack time to be seasoned, documents are still being analyzed, and the event has not receded enough to give necessary perspective…. In the end, only history can be the final commentator on the impact and significance of this epochal event.”[1] Thus the scope and conclusions of this project are necessarily tempered due to their proximity to the events of Vatican II. Continue reading