Journalist and Harvard alumnus Philip F. Lawler is no stranger to spotting inconsistencies in the Catholic Church. After the Catholic Church’s sex-abuse crisis unveiled in 2002, Lawler released his highly researched book, The Faithful Departed, tracing the Church’s history of corruption while maintaining an “attention to facts” and a “calm tone.” Lawler’s latest book addressing the Catholic Church tackles problems starting in the papacy.
In an article written for The Catholic World Report, Samuel Gregg, Acton’s Director of Research, unpacks Lawler’s book, Lost Shepherd: How Pope Francis is Misleading His Flock. “Lawler begins by stating that he, like millions of other Catholics, prays for the pope every day. He also mentions that, like millions of other Catholics, he was initially full of optimism about Francis’s pontificate,” explains Gregg. Lawler’s concern does not stem from bitter bias, but rather a healthy concern for the Church. “And who better than a Vatican outsider to come in and clean out the Augean stables of the Holy See’s financial affairs?”
As the book’s title suggests however, optimism soon turned to disillusionment, revealing that the Pope’s leadership was leading the Church in a precarious direction. “As strange incident piled upon strange incident and one incoherent statement followed another, Lawler found that there were aspects of Francis’s pontificate which he couldn’t dismiss as the type of mistakes any pope could make,” writes Gregg.
Read Gregg’s full article, “A Papacy of Contradictions.”