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The Great Reformer: Francis and the Making of a Radical Pope

by Austen Ivereigh

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1745135,206 (4.29)10
This biography of Pope Francis describes how this revolutionary thinker uses the power of his position to challenge and redirect one of the world's most formidable religions.

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Includes bibliographical references and index.
  TorontoOratorySPN | Aug 31, 2022 |
I greatly admire Pope Francis (though I am not Catholic) for his priority on the poor, and for putting the mercy of Jesus front and centre of his teachings and actions. This biography gives a comprehensive look at his life, including his time as a priest, then bishop, then cardinal in Argentina. The author shows how Francis worked in the political atmosphere of his time...a time of government-caused "disappearances", high inflation, guerrilla war fare and other major upheavals. It shows how he reached out to the poor, and to those of other faiths. It also provides a glimpse into Vatican politics and how popes are chosen. Very interesting, lots of context, and lots of Pope Francis's own words and deeds to give us a better understanding of this man. ( )
  LynnB | Jul 10, 2018 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
5260. The Great Reformer Francis and the Making of a Radical Pope, by Austen Ivereigh (read 2 Apr 2015) This is a 2014 biography of Pope Francis. I was quite surprised to learn that he had quite a stressful time when he was Jesuit provincial in Argentina and that he was estranged from the Jesuit community while he was bishop and archbishop. But the account of his election and his time as Pope is a joy to read and makes the entire book worthwhile. The book makes me very hopeful for the future of the Church. Ths only sad part is that Francis is not younger but he certainly has conducted himself as a true shepherd and we can all hope that he will continue in good health. ( )
  Schmerguls | Apr 2, 2015 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
The American media thinks it understands the papacy. John Paul II and Benedict XVI seemed to fit easily into existing media-driven metanarratives centered on American political categories: liberal, conservative, reactionary, Cold Warrior, intellectual, patriarchal, and so on. These categories didn't always fit, but neither of the last two popes troubled the media's characterization nearly as often as Francis has in just the first two years of his papacy. Into that mix comes Ivereigh's biography, which should go a long way toward giving pundits and commentators more to work with. Discussing Bergoglio's life in Argentina and his attempts to reform his Jesuit province, the book offers a great deal of detail designed to make sense of Francis' approaches to social, economic, moral, and liturgical issues. That combination has already had the media tripping over itself to explain his "liberal agenda," his comments on marriage and sexuality, his support of environmental conservation, and his embrace of a more populist spirituality that makes room for the reality of the devil (in ways that make a wide swatch of Western liberal and conservative Catholics cringe).

Any book on a pope that can boast blurbs from Cardinal Chaput and George Weigel, David Gibson and John Allen, Jr., clearly has demonstrated the ways in which Francis cuts across entrenched divisions within the Catholic Church (particularly, but not exclusively, the North American church). One might object to the title, throwing out "reformer" and "radical" for readers to map their hopes and fears onto the new pope. But the title seems little more than bait to reel in the audience Ivereigh intends to challenge. Much has been made of the "first pope from Latin America," but indeed the unique history of the church not just in Latin America broadly, but Buenos Aires in particular, has decisively shaped Francis' priorities and leadership. Here's hoping this book can contribute to the reeducation of a popular press that desperately needs to find a new story to tell. It should also satisfy any other readers who seek to understand Francis/Bergoglio a bit better.
1 vote jwmccormack | Feb 25, 2015 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Engaging and well-written biography of the new pope. Was pleasantly surprised by the Ivereigh's deft touch for detail while not getting bogged down, as so many modern biographers do, in minutiae. I especially appreciated the scope not being limited to merely church politics but to Francis's country of birth, his ancestral heritage and his religious order. The author manages to do a lot with admirable succinctness. This is the best biography I've seen of Pope Francis to date and certainly helps us to better understand where Pope Francis has come from and where he wants to lead the Catholic church. ( )
  TSORAMA | Dec 11, 2014 |
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This book came out of a minute's meeting with Pope Francis in St. Peter's Square in June 2013.
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This biography of Pope Francis describes how this revolutionary thinker uses the power of his position to challenge and redirect one of the world's most formidable religions.

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