So dramatic has been Francis’s impact on perceptions of the papacy and the Catholic Church that down on New York’s Madison Ave, advertising agencies ask: “who’s he using?” Yet Francis’s great reform is not a skill or strategy as much as a discernment: that what a cold, technocratic age needs above all now is to know of God’s mercy and closeness, which the Church must at all costs incorporate to be credible. Francis’s radical recontextualization of the Catholic message through a “pastoral conversion” has delighted and infuriated Catholics, while leaving journalists and commentators to grapple with vast new challenges.
AUSTEN IVEREIGH is a British writer, journalist and commentator on Catholic and political affairs who appears often on TV and radio. He is founder-coordinator of Catholic Voices, a project now in more than 20 countries worldwide, and contributing editor of Crux, the U.S. news site founded by John Allen. He holds a D.Phil. in history and politics from Oxford University. Ivereigh is author of the books The Great Reformer: Francis and the Making of a Radical Pope (Henry Holt/Picador 2014), and of the bestselling How to Defend the Faith Without Raising Your Voice: Civil Responses to Catholic Hot-button Issues (Our Sunday Visitor, 2012 & 2015). He served as deputy editor of the Catholic weekly, The Tablet, and worked as public affairs director for the late Archbishop of Westminster, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor. He went on to be director of a London-based immigration campaign, ‘Strangers into Citizens’, based on Catholic social teaching.
A special fund in honour of Dr. Michael Higgins, a past president of St. Jerome's University.