A wise and perceptive portrait of Jorge Mario Bergoglio, the newly elected Bishop of Rome and 266th Pope.
The election of Pope Francis took everyone by surprise. From the moment he was elected everything he did was a surprise and deeply symbolic. Not least the choice of the name Francis, indicating an option for the poor and the dispossessed. But this modest man with a winning smile who dislikes opulence, luxury and excess is already surrounded by controversy. Why did he not defend the radical Jesuits in Argentina who fought against the evil regime of Videla and Galtieri? What will he now do about the Falkland Islands which he has often publicly declared should belong to Argentina? How will he respond to President Kirchner's pleadings that as Pope he should now once again declare the Falklands to be an Argentine territory? The political consequences are considerable. Though a man of humility and openness, it is unlikely that he will change the Church's teaching on abortion, contraception, the ministry of women or gay marriage and civil partnership. Above all, how will Pope Francis set about reforming the Roman Curia whose corruption and skulduggery finally defeated his predecessor? In this extensively researched and thoughtful biography, Paul Vallely presents a wise and perceptive portrait of a man of whom many have high hopes and expectations.
Paul Vallely is a top-flight journalist with a national reputation as a commentator on religion, society and political issues. He was correspondent for The Times in Ethiopia during the famine of 1984-5 for which he was commended as International Reporter of the Year. He was the co-author of Bob Geldof's massive-selling autobiography, Is That It? and was later involved in the organisation of Live 8. In 2004 he was seconded to the Commission for Africa set up by the British prime minister, Tony Blair where he worked on the Commission's report Our Common Interest (later published by Penguin). He is the editor of The New Politics: Catholic Social Teaching for the 21st century and has advised the Catholic Bishops of England and Wales. He was created a CMG 'for services to journalism and to the developing world' in 2006 and is currently associate editor of the Independent newspaper.
Bloomsbury Acad & Prof
Religion & beliefs