Papal biographer and Campion Hall Fellow Dr Austen Ivereigh offered the first Campion Lecture of 2020 on “Pope Francis: Reform and Resistance”. Speaking to a near-full auditorium at Pembroke College on 23 January, Ivereigh argued that at the heart of Francis’s leadership of the universal Church was discernment, and that resistance to that leadership was at its heart a resistance to discernment.
Opening with a quote from St Edmund Campion’s famous “Challenge to the Privy Council” of 1580 – better known as “Campion’s brag” – Ivereigh said Francis’s papacy, too, could be seen as a confidence in God’s sovereignty and will, and a determination to pursue that direction whatever the cost.
Ivereigh, who is Fellow in Contemporary Church History at Campion Hall, explained that the pontificate of Francis is the fruit of two principal discernments in Jorge Mario Bergoglio’s past: from his Jesuit days, in the late 1980s, and the gathering of the Latin-American Church in Aparecida, Brazil, in 2007.
Ivereigh drew on stories from his latest book, Wounded Shepherd: Pope Francis and his struggle to convert the Catholic Church (New York: Henry Holt, 2019) which follows his earlier biography of Bergoglio, The Great Reformer: Francis and the Making of a Radical Pope (New York: Henry Holt. 2014).
Wounded Shepherd took three years to complete, involving research in Rome, Latin America and the Unites States, and in-depth interviews with dozens of church leaders, including the pope himself.
A lively exchange of questions and answers followed the talk, with topics ranging from women deacons to the role of the papacy in global leadership.
Guests also had the chance to purchase signed copies of Wounded Shepherd after the talk.
The Campion Lectures are one of four major public lecture series organised by Campion Hall. Held once a term, the Campion Lectures invite senior academics as well as Church and public figures to share and present research in a variety of disciplines.
The Hall would like to thank Austen for sharing his expertise with us, and to everyone who joined us for the lecture. We hope to see many of you at our major public lecture in Trinity term, organised in collaboration with the Laudato Si’ Research Institute, at which American theologian and ethicist Professor Lisa Sowle Cahill will be presenting (5.30pm, Tuesday 19th May).