By REY FLORES
Francis — Pope of a New World
by Andrea Tornielli; Ignatius Press (www.ignatius.com), 2013; hardcover; 200 pages.
“Brothers and sisters, before the bishop blesses the people, I ask you to pray to God that He will bless me” — Pope Francis, immediately after being elected, March 13, 2013. Who is Pope Francis? The definitive answer lies somewhere in the future, but thus far, it has been a joy to watch the man who now leads our Church to reveal himself in simple but noble ways. You have to love a Pope that wants to pay his own hotel bill even after he has been elected Pope!
After a short, two-day conclave, it was exciting to hear Habemus Papam! come from the Vatican, just a couple of months ago. We had a new Holy Father, to take over where the very beloved and humble Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI left off.
Once the white papal smoke cleared, Catholics and non-Catholics alike started asking each other immediately what they thought about the new Pope. My answerwas that it didn’t matter what I thought because the Holy Ghost was much better qualified to answer that question. Of course, the scoundrels in the mainstream secular media, who besmirch the Church and Catholicism every chance they get, started to speculate on the kind of Pope that Jorge Mario Cardinal Bergoglio would be.
Liberal news commentators started to wonder aloud if this new Pope would ordain women and allow priests to be married. They were especially hoping that the Church would finally concede her positions on abortion and contraception. Wishful thinking on their part — but none of those abominations are on the new Holy Father’s list of things to do.
In the new book Francis — Pope of a New World from Ignatius Press, veteran “Vaticanista” Andrea Tornielli does a terrific job at presenting the background and history so that readers can decide for themselves.
Ultimately, it isn’t our place to make judgments on our Christian brothers and sisters, let alone on the Holy Father himself, but I believe that this book will help us appreciate our new Pope all the more.
There are many firsts with this Pope, including being the first Jesuit Pope, the first from the Americas, the first Latin American Pope, and the only one in modern times to succeed a “retiring” Pope.
Then there’s all that political baggage that will automatically be heaped upon anyone coming from a South American country like Argentina, with its history of dictatorship. Conservative Catholics feared the worst — that we would now have a “liberation theology” Pope.
While Pope Francis does have a heart for social justice, it doesn’t consume him the way it has with some wayward American clergy. You see, Pope Francis has witnessed real human abuses and injustices in Argentina. These aren’t the same garden- variety human “injustices” that liberal American clergy like to crow about — like not enough condomsbeing handed out at the local public high school or so-called Catholic politicians who support abortion and homosexuality being denied Holy Communion.
Pope Francis has proven that he can ride a bus with the common man, and also elevate that same man’s spirit by sharing the truth of our Lord Jesus Christ with him. He is a man of the people, as it should be, but he is also a man of God, which it should be as well.
For the meantime, there have been various and sometimes seemingly contradictory speculations about Pope Francis. Descriptions range from “Defender of the Poor” and “Champion of Social Justice” to a man whose great devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary has led him to consecrate his pontificate to Our Lady of Fatima.
Francis is certainly a Pope of unprecedented acts. He is the Vicar of Christ who is not afraid to walk among the people, show up unexpectedly at a pro-life march, or even walk in his old shoes.
I firmly believe that the Holy Ghost has sent us a Pope for our times — one who can chastise thesinner while not judging him. In a very short amount of time, Pope Francis has demonstrated in words and in actions that he is in full battle mode to lead us through the increasing modern-day persecution of Catholicism and of Christianity in general.
Francis — Pope of a New World
starts off with a great foreword by Fr. Mitch Pacwa, SJ, as he shares his excited reaction when his fellow Pole, Karol Cardinal Wojtyla, became Pope in 1978, and years later, how the election of fellow Jesuit Jorge Mario Cardinal Bergoglio was another source of jubilation.
The best thing a book likeFrancis — Pope of a New World can offer is the background on a man who is endearing himself to Catholics everywhere with each step he takes. It has not taken Pope Francis very long to make clear statements about the sanctity of life as well as the sanctity of Holy Matrimony.
And be watching in your mail for a promotional letter from The Wanderer, which offers Francis — Pope of a New World as a premium for ordering gift subscriptions.
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