BY CHRIS KERR | November 22, 2015
What is the “Francis Effect” and how has it influenced the U.S. Catholic Church? John Gehring, author of the “The Francis Effect: A Radical Pope’s Challenge to the American Catholic Church,” offered his perspectives during a podcast interview ISN ED Christopher Kerr. Chris and John discussed various topics including, what being a Catholic educational institution in the U.S. meant before Pope Francis’s arrival and now today; how Pope Francis is inspiring a “spiritual revolution,” the recent Catholic Bishops meeting in Baltimore, and more.
John is the Catholic Program Director at Faith in Public Life, a faith-based advocacy group in Washington, D.C. His writing and analysis have appeared in the Washington Post, New York Times, USA Today, Los Angeles Times, CNN.com, America Magazine, Crux, and the National Catholic Reporter, among other outlets. He is a former associate director for media relations at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and has been a staff writer at the Catholic Review, the Frederick Gazette, and Education Week. Gehring became connected to Jesuit education during his high school years, graduating from Loyola Blakefield High School outside of Baltimore. He is a graduate of Mount Saint Mary’s University in Maryland, and Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism in New York City. He lives in Washington, D.C.
In a review of “The Francis Effect: A Radical Pope’s Challenge to the American Catholic Church,” Fr. James Martin, S.J., said the following: “Pope Francis transcends political categories: like any pope he is neither liberal nor conservative; neither progressive nor traditionalist; and certainly neither Democrat nor Republican. But that doesn’t mean that his words and deeds have not had a powerful impact on people who self-identify with all of these categories. In this well-researched, thoughtful, and careful analysis, Gehring shows how Pope Francis has influenced both the Catholic Church in the United States and the American political discourse, thus altering the spiritual and cultural landscape for perhaps decades to come.”
Chris joined the Ignatian Solidarity Network (ISN) as executive director in 2011. He has over fifteen years of experience in social justice advocacy and leadership in Catholic education and ministry. Prior to ISN he served in multiple roles at John Carroll University, including coordinating international immersion experience and social justice education programming as an inaugural co-director of John Carroll’s Arrupe Scholars Program for Social Action. Prior to his time at John Carroll he served as a teacher and administrator at the elementary and secondary levels in Catholic Diocese of Cleveland. Chris speaks regularly at campuses and parishes about social justice education and advocacy, Jesuit mission, and a broad range of social justice issues. He currently serves on the board of directors for Christians for Peace in El Salvador (CRISPAZ). Chris earned a B.A. and M.A. from John Carroll University in University Heights, Ohio. He and his family reside in Shaker Heights, Ohio.