This little work is in no way a biography, but an effort to offer some insights into the mind and heart of our new pope, Francis, from the Ignatian perspective in which he has spent most of his life. How has his Jesuit formation shaped his worldview and his new task?
In this short examination, Brian Grogan SJ suggests that Pope Francis, moulded by Ignatian thinking, will tend to emphasise that God is to be found in all things, created and loved by God as they are.
Brian Grogan SJ is a former President of Milltown Institute of Theology and Philosophy in Dublin and is Emeritus Associate Professor of Spirituality there. He works and writes on Ignatian Spirituality and is the author of reflective ‘Living’, ‘Love Beyond All Telling’, ‘Finding God in All Things’ and ‘Our Graced Life-Stories’.
Several children in our parish Confirmation class this year chose the name 'Francis' for the ceremony. It's a small indication of the positive reception accorded to the new Pope. The first publication to hand on Pope Francis is an aptly modest pocket booklet by fellow Jesuit Brian Grogan, former president of Milltown Institute. In little over thirty cogent pages the author offers some informed insights into the mind and heart of Pope Francis with particular reference to how his Jesuit formation has shaped his worldview as he begins the mammoth task of guiding the world's Catholics. While referring briefly to biographical details and not shying away from the controversy of Cardinal Jorge's alleged quiescence with the Argentinian military dictatorship, the main thrust of this small tome is to highlight the spirituality and formation of Pope Francis. His choice of name alone indicates a desire like the saint of Assisi towards inclusivity with a heart for the poor, while his Ignatian influences point to a 'ministry of consolation' with an emphasis on mercy, tender-heartedness and forgiveness. Father Grogan believes that the new papacy will be more at home in the slum than in the study and that controversial issues such as the ordination of women may find a new forum for discussion. Time will tell but in the meantime this thoughtful, early assessment of Pope Francis is required reading.
- Fr Paul Clayton-Lea, Intercom, July/August 2013