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Roman Catholicism stands at a crossroads, a classic "best of times, worst of times" moment. On the one hand, the Catholic Church remains by far the largest branch of the worldwide Christian family, and is growing. Yet the Church has also been rocked by a series of scandals related to the sexual abuse of minors by clergy, and, even more devastating, a pattern of cover-up of that abuse by the church's authorities. The decade-long crisis has taken a massive financial toll, but the blow to both the internal morale and the external moral standing of the Catholic Church has been even steeper. The overall picture is of a Church with enormous residual strength and exciting future prospects, but also one facing steep internal and external challenges. The question of "whither Catholicism" is of vital public relevance, for believers and non-believers alike. In this book, John L. Allen, Jr., will offer an authoritative and accessible primer on the Church today.