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Who Am I to Judge? How Pope Francis Is Changing the Church: James Martin, S.J., and Patrick Hornbeck


Patrick Hornbeck and Father James Martin will discuss Pope Francis’s groundbreaking first year.

In what might seem like a cascade of symposia, lectures, and panel discussions on Pope Francis, writer James Martin, S.J., and Patrick Hornbeck, chair of Fordham’s Department of Theology, will provide their own perspective on the ever-evolving changes that Francis has brought to the church.

“In the last 18 months Pope Francis has taken the Catholic world by storm,” said Hornbeck.  “We’re seeing a shift in the way the Vatican does its business, so it’s a great time to reflect on what’s happening.”

The discussion will take place on Monday, Oct. 20 from 6 to 8 p.m. in the Pope Auditorium at Fordham’s Lincoln Center campus. Registration is required.

Hornbeck said that he and Father Martin would talk about the future of Catholicism as well as examine recent public statements from the pope on subjects that range from the role of LGBT persons in the church, to the restructuring of the Vatican Bank, to unmarried couples and divorce.

“American Catholics and their church have not been on the same page for some time,” said Hornbeck. “But now the pope is opening up space for dialogue.”

Hornbeck said that for the most part the pope is changing the tone, though not yet Canon law. He added that Catholics rarely come in contact with church law, except when they’re getting married or divorced. Instead, their encounters remain at the parish and diocesan level.

“With Francis there’s been a faster set of shifts in the Vatican then anyone would’ve predicted, and people want to make sense of it,” he said.

With dozens of media appearances between the two of them, Hornbeck and Father Martin are sought-after experts when it comes to Francis and all things Vatican, offering a Jesuit analysis.

“His style of leadership is deeply marked by Saint Ignatius,” said Hornbeck. “For Francis it’s about being in touch with the realities of the world and meeting people where they are, rather than an academic approach.”


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