Jorge Mario Bergoglio, now Pope Francis, is a man of prayer, a man of action, and a humble man who has always promoted others over himself. In fact, it was Bergoglio who bowed out of the running in the papal election of 2005 to facilitate the rise of Benedict XVI. The recent resignation of Pope Benedict XVI took the world by surprise and for good reason. More than 600 years had passed since a pope last left his post. And quite a surprise to many, including the international media was the appointment of Jorge Mario Bergoglio. Mario Escobar serves us with a well-written introduction on the backgrounds of this Argentine with Italian parents. Relying on external sources, interviews Bergoglio gave to the media before becoming pope and books the now pope wrote, Escobar has just enough to fill Francis: Man of Prayer with lessons from Bergoglio’s youth, questions on his relationship with the Videla regime, his theology, his forming years as a Jesuit and his raise in the hierarchy of the Latin American branch of the Roman Catholic.
His first request as pope: please pray for me. He needs our prayers everyday, since he has to finish the work his predecessor began bringing paedophilic priests to justice and therapy. Francis’ next challenge is to counter the secularization and diminishing amounts of Catholics around the world. The “vatileaks”, leakage of documents from former papal administrations is a third one to stop. Francis will definitely gather his own team of trusted staff. Last, but not least there are theological issues (care for the poor instead of a bias towards teachings only; interfaith dialogue).
Where Ratzinger only ended up with a Twitter avccount, Francis is more a man of his time, but one who also travels by subway and bus just like any other citizen. The “pope mobile” isn’t used anymore. Francis is a beacon of hope for the poor, persecuted sectors of the church. What will it mean for Roman Catholicism? Meet a humble man who has come one of the most powerful and influential men on earth. For a (definite) biography the material lacks substance.
About the Author
Mario Escobar Golderos has written numerous books and articles about the Inquisition, the Protestant Reformation, and religious sects. He is a contributing columnist in various publications. Passionate about history and its mysteries, Escobar specializes in the lives of unorthodox Spaniards and Americans. For more information, see www.marioescobar.es.
I was provided an advance review copy by Booksneeze in exchange for this review. I was not required to write a positive review.