"Repair my house." St. Francis of Assisi heard this instruction from a crucifix in a ruined chapel, inspiring his radical mission of church renewal.
Today the Catholic Church confronts again the need for a similar mission of repair and renewal. The signs of crisis are only too evident. It is felt in the sex abuse scandal and the questions it has raised about internal structures of authority and clerical culture. But it can also be felt in the challenge from a spate of "new atheists" who question traditional world views, and dismiss religion and believers as irrelevant--or worse. Meanwhile the percentage of those identifying themselves as "former Catholics" grows at an alarming rate: if there was such a denomination it would be the second largest in the United States.
In response, Fr. Crosby sees a challenge to all the church: to return to the basic message of Jesus Christ, a message that is supported, not contradicted, by advances in science and cosmology. Crosby envisions a new way of being Catholic and a set of practices that draws on the contemplative, compassionate, and life-giving spirit of Christ's Kingdom (or "Kindom," as Crosby translates)--a vision of God's Trinitarian reality to be brought about "on earth as it is in heaven."
Michael H. Crosby (1940-2017) was a Capuchin Franciscan whose preaching and writing on contemporary biblical discipleship took him around the world. He authored seventeen books, including Spirituality of the Beatitudes (Orbis, 2005), Finding Francis, Following Christ (Orbis, 2005), and Fruit of the Spirit (Orbis, 2015).