As Vatican correspondent for the National Catholic Reporter and Vatican analyst for National Public Radio, journalist John L. Allen, Jr. is well qualified to discuss current trends in the Catholic church, suggest directions for its future, and offer possibilities for its transformation. Ten chapters, of interest to readers of all faith traditions, cover: World Church; Evangelical Catholicism; Islam; New Demography; Expanding Lay Roles; Biotech Revolution; Globalization; Ecology; Multipolarism; and Pentecostalism. With a wealth of material in each chapter, Allen develops a pattern to address the trends: “What’s Happening” considers what’s driving the trend and the influence on the Catholic Church; “What It Means” speculates on the trend’s impact for the church as the century unfolds; “Outcomes” includes near-certain, probable, possible, and long shots. Allen’s conclusion, based on four words from the Nicene Creed - “One, Holy, Catholic, Apostolic” - suggests that the future church will be Global, Uncompromising, Pentecostal, and Extroverted.
Reviewed by Phyllis Wezeman