Global Catholicism

Towards a Networked Church

Edited by
October 2012 9781849042710 288pp
Temporarily out of stock



Forces as divergent as Jihadist Islam and Richard Dawkins are making religion more central to our lives today. Ian Linden has been an active lay member of the Catholic Church for many years and has witnessed firsthand such important movements as liberation theology. In this book, he charts the complex history of the forces of renewal unleashed by the Second Vatican Council and the counter-forces that gathered during the last half century. It focuses notably on changes that had wider historical importance than the internal evolution of the Roman Catholic Church as a religious organisation: war and peace, nationalism and democratisation in Africa, liberation theology, military dictatorships, guerrilla movements in Latin America, Africa and the Philippines, interaction with communist governments, inculturation and relations with resurgent Islam. It views the Catholic Church as a unique example of a religious organisation responding in a unique way to globalisation. Most unusually it adopts a perspective from the global “South” pointing to the future axis of Catholicism in the twenty-first century. The book weaves together the interaction of ideas and action, doctrine and life, in an innovative and interdisciplinary way.


‘Every bishop and priest in the Catholic Church should sit down and read this remarkable book. Ian Linden has quietly demolished canards levelled against those who believe that the reforming work of the Second Vatican Council is not yet complete. Instead of imagining that life beyond the Council is ever upwards and onwards, he takes as seriously as Pope Benedict the ever-lurking reality of sin.’ — The Tablet

 ‘[An] enjoyable and informative history of global Catholicism in the half century since the modernising Second Vatican Council.’ — The Independent

‘Admirable.’ — Rupert Shortt, Times Literary Supplement

‘Linden offers a detailed insider perspective of the Second Vatican Council and its roots and after effects.’ — Choice

‘For anyone who is looking for an honest and critical account of where the Roman Catholic Church finds itself in the world of today — and how it got there — Ian Linden’s book is essential reading. In his usual lucid and racy style he takes us through the struggles that led up to, and dominated, the Second Vatican Council, as well as the conflicts and struggles in today’s Church. He pulls no punches about such controversial issues as celibacy, liberation theology, inculturation, Islam and Roman domination. One of the greatest achievements of the book, though, is that it is not Eurocentric. Today’s Church with its strengths and weaknesses is a global church and Linden is well positioned to write about what is happening not only in Europe and North America but also in Latin America, Asia and Africa. Global Catholicism is singularly informative and enlightening, not least because it is boldly honest.’ — Father Albert Nolan, internationally renowned theologian and author of Jesus Before Christianity

‘This book tells the fascinating and important story of Roman Catholicism’s shift from a relatively Eurocentric to a more global Church.’ — Catholic Historical Review

‘Anyone in need of a short but hugely well-informed account of where the Catholics Church is now in the early twenty-first century, and of how a truly global church emerged from the Europe-centred ambiguities of the Second Vatican Council, need seek no further than Ian Linden’s book.’ — Denys Tyrner, Horace Tracy Pitkin Professor of Historical Theology, Yale University

‘Balanced and lucid … informed by Ian Linden’s long experience of working with Catholic communities in the worldwide Church. He celebrates the radical vision for peace and justice which emerged in the Second Vatican Council and has been passionately promoted by the papacy ever since, but he also laments the extent to which this has been obscured by the Vatican’s tendency towards authoritarianism, its preoccupation with questions of sexuality, and its strong resistance to feminism. This book is a must-read for all who are interested in contemporary Catholicism, its tensions and conflicts, and its future potential if the dynamism and energy of the laity, of women’s religious orders and of non-western churches are acknowledged by the Roman curia and are allowed freedom to flourish.’ — Tina Beattie, Professor of Catholic Studies, Roehampton University, former President of the Catholic Theological Association of Great Britain


Ian Linden is a professorial research associate at SOAS, University of London. A past director of the Catholic Institute for International Relations, a respected think-tank, he has been writing for Catholic periodicals and magazines for over forty years.

Request an academic inspection copy Request a press review copy
Inspection Copy Request
Review Copy Request
Join our mailing list

Subscribers receive exclusive discounts and early access to new books from Hurst.