Field Hospital: The Church's Engagement with a Wounded World
In a 2013 interview, Pope Francis famously likened the church to a field hospital, saying that his vision of the ideal church is one that attends to the overwhelming suffering of the world before concerning itself with smaller matters. In this book William Cavanaugh adopts Pope Francis's metaphor to show how the church can help heal both the spiritual and the material wounds of the world. As he examines the intersection of theology with themes of religious freedom, economic injustice, religious violence, and other pressing topics, Cavanaugh emphasizes that the church cannot condemn the evils of the world from a position of superiority. Rather, he says, its practices of solidarity with humanity must be based on a profound recognition that the church shares in the guilt of human sin. Cavanaugh's Field Hospital provides guideposts for a church that is willing to go outside of itself onto the battlefields of today - both metaphorical and literal - not to inflict wounds but to bind them up and heal them.
Review: William A. Barbieri Catholic University of America William Cavanaugh s adoption of Pope Francis s stirring metaphor of the church as field hospital is apt for his own theological work, which he continues here in a vein reminiscent of the doctors in M*A*S*H unblinking, subversive, mordantly witty, and always deeply humane. He clearly diagnoses the pathologies of consumerism and violence that afflict our culture and takes his scalpel to the myths and idolatries that undergird them. ... In this book s interconnected interventions Cavanaugh once again displays the insight, acuity, and compassion that make him one of the leading theologians of these times. Emmanuel Katongole Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies, University of Notre Dame Political theology at its best. "Field Hospital" confirms Cavanaugh as one of the most lucid, innovative, and interesting theological voices of our time. He has that rare ability to take complicated philosophical arguments and ideas and present them in simple and clear ways for both an academic and a general audience. Matthew Levering Mundelein Seminary Richly instructive. ... Bill Cavanaugh intrepidly goes where few theologians dare to go, and his questions and answers remain resolutely theological against the strongest temptations to bow to the accepted discourses of our age. Those seeking to understand the perspectives that inspire "Caritas in Veritate" and "Evangelii Gaudium" need search no further: "this" is the book to read. Joseph L. Mangina Wycliffe College, University of Toronto" Field Hospital" sets forth an utterly unsentimental vision of the church as imperfect and vulnerable, her power made perfect in weakness. Cavanaugh shows again why he is one of contemporary Catholicism s most important thinkers. "
Author Biography: William T. Cavanaugh is director of the Center for World Catholicism and Intercultural Theology and Professor of Catholic Studies at DePaul University. His previous books include Migrations of the Holy: God, State, and the Political meaning of the Church and being Consumed: Economics and Christian Desire.