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.
Pope Francis was born Jorge Mario Bergoglio on 17 December 1936 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. As a young man, he worked briefly as a chemical technician and nightclub bouncer before entering the Jesuits. He was ordained a priest in 1969, and from 1973 to 1979, was Argentina’s Provincial Superior of the Society of Jesus. He became the Archbishop of Buenos Aires in 1998, and was appointed a Cardinal in 2001.
Following the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI on 28 February 2013, Bergoglio was named his successor on 13 March. He chose the name Francis in honor of Saint Francis of Assisi. He is the first Jesuit Pope, the first Pope from the Americas, the first Pope from the Southern Hemisphere, and the first non-European Pope in over 1200 years.
Pope Francis has been noted for his humility, his concern for the poor, and his commitment to dialogue as a way to build bridges between people of all backgrounds, beliefs, and faiths.
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.,
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 treatises as bedtime reading and count cardinals and monsignors as friends.
- Nicole Winfteld, Associated Press
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