Here’s a sobering essay from the Italian Catholic journalist Sandro Magister’s blog, though it is written by an Italian academic historian named Roberto Pertici. It begins like this:
At this point in the pontificate of Francis, I believe it can be reasonably maintained that this marks the twilight of that imposing historical reality which can be defined as “Roman Catholicism.”
This does not mean, properly understood, that the Catholic Church is coming to an end, but that what is fading is the way in which it has historically structured and represented itself in recent centuries.
It seems evident to me, in fact, that this is the plan being deliberately pursued by the “brain trust” that has clustered around Francis: a plan understood both as an extreme response to the crisis in relations between the Church and the modern world, and as a precondition for a renewed ecumenical course together with the other Christian confessions, especially the Protestant.
Read the whole thing. Pertici says that Catholicism is being reformed by Pope Francis and many others within the institution along essentially Lutheran lines. Owing to its brevity, the essay leaves a lot unexplored. Reading it as a non-expert, I wonder to what extent the “Lutheran” revisions described by Prof. Pertici are not better understood as the ultimate victory of Protestantism over Catholicism, in the specific sense that Protestantism ushered in modernity.