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  • In church pews across the United States and around the world, we look furtively around as yet another priest tells us, as he has countless times, how sorry he is for the appalling mess the Catholic hierarchy has gotten us into. Abuse scandals and related cover-ups are just the tip of a very large iceberg. Sadly, for many Catholics, that scandal is one of many as we have watched the dereliction of leadership and the sin of clericalism strike blow after blow to the battered body of the church. In this issue of Conscience, we look beyond this discouraging state of affairs to ask what a future church should look like. We begin to map out a route that will get us there, finding hope in the shantytowns of South Africa—where a real church leader shares his vision of a church built on service to the poor—and in interviews with strong role models for women’s leadership in the future church.

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