"Francis, rebuild my Church!" That is how St. Francis of Assisi heard the call of Christ. It is also how Jorge Mario Bergoglio, at the age of 76, and a Jesuit, seems to have accepted his election to the papacy with the choice of a name that no other pope has ever chosen.
Who is Pope Francis, elected in one of the shortest conclaves in history? Who is the man chosen to be the first pope from the Americas and the first Jesuit pope?
How does he see the world and his ministry? How does he understand his call to serve Christ, his Church, and the world? In short, what is the mind and heart of this new pope of a new world--of the Americas and the rest of the world of the 21st Century?
In the words, the ideas, and the personal recollections of Pope Francis-- including material up to the final hours before his election--the most highly regarded Vatican observer on the international scene reveals the personality of this man of God, gentle and humble. The son of Italian immigrants to Argentina, he made radically following Christ and the way of non-violence the pillars of his pastoral ministry in a country, continually tormented by social and economic inequities.
This complete biography offers the keys to understanding the man who was a surprise choice, even a kind of revolutionary choice, for pope. It is the story of the humble pastor of one of the world's largest archdioceses; a cardinal who takes the bus, talks with common folk, and lives simply. It is the story of why the cardinal electors of the Catholic Church set aside political and diplomatic calculations to elect a pope to lead the renewal and purification of the worldwide Church of our time.
"May this knowledge of Pope Francis' past and background enlighten every reader ... [and] provide a context for the new surprises he seems capable of offering to the Church and to the modern world as a whole."
- Fr. Mitch Pacwa, S.J., From the Foreword
As I moved through this biography, I began to appreciate the depth and complexity of Pope Francis -- a soul imbued with learning, compassion, intelligence, and wisdom, originating out of a profound love for Christ and a desire to serve him in every way possible-a true son of St. Ignatius who provided the world with a similar example, devotion and love." --Fr. Robert J. Spitzer, S.J., President, Magis Institute, Author, Ten Universal Principles: A Brief Philosophy of the Life Issues
"Catholics and others eager to know all they can about Pope Francis will learn a great deal from Andrea Tornielli's first-person account."
- James Hitchcock, Professor of History, St. Louis University, author of History of The Catholic Church
- Mother Assumpta Long, O.P., Prioress General of The Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
Andrea Tornielli is one of the best, if not the best, Vatican reporter out there. Period. He is the best-sourced, most accurate and one of the most knowledgeable reporters among the unique band of "Vaticanisti" who travel with the pope, digest theological treateses as bedtime reading and count cardinals and monsignors as friends. He has been fascinated by the church since he was 14, and it shows. Yes, he has a degree in classic Greek. But more importantly, he knows the Vatican and the people who inhabit it, and uses that knowledge to inform the world about what goes on in the frescoed halls of the Apostolic Palace. If anyone needed evidence, take his reporting of the conclave that elected Pope Francis the 265th Successor of Peter:
His reports about the behind-the-scenes negotiations before the conclave were cited by cardinals as the reason for imposing a media blackout on the process. It didn't work.Tornielli kept on reporting, providing a modicum of transparency on the most secretive of processes." --Nicole Winfield, Associated Press