4.0 out of 5 stars
To the point and gathers the facts, 21 May 2013
The election of Pope Francis came at the end of a tumultuous time in the Catholic Church. The global child sex abuse scandal, the trial of Benedict XVI's butler and the subsequent resignation of Benedict XVI were all adding up to be a very shaky foundation for the church.
After Benedict's resignation the world looked on while waiting for the smoke to appear from the Sistine Chapel. Who would succeed Benedict, can anyone bring stability to the church?
Finally "Habemus papam" was declared and out came a kindly, paternal face, smiling and waving to the crowd. Instantly people began to warm to him purely because of this warm smile and apparent humility.
I was delighted to see this infectious smile looking out at me from the cover of this book. If Pope Francis' saintly smile on the cover doesn't sell this book then nothing will.
When Francis emerged most of us hadn't a clue who he was. Immediately the media machine got to work to feed the information to us and to try dig up the dirt. Information was flowing from every quarter, some accurate and some off the wall. Within 24 hours we had so much information on Jorge Bergoglio but it was nebulous and fractured.
In this book Fr. Michael Collins wonderfully untangles this mess of information to present us with a beautifully woven tapestry that is the life of Jorge Bergoglio. It presents us with a wonderfully humble Francis and tells us of the person behind that infectious smile
This is a short book; it took me three evenings to read. But this book doesn't hide from that fact, its subtitle attests to that. Yes there are times when the reader feels a little short changed and wanting more information. For example we learn very little about Francis' childhood, this being skimmed over in just 12 pages. But also its beauty is in its brevity. I would recommend this book for one reason; you get all the relevant information you need without the tediousness of a longer biography. Who do I think should read this? Anyone with an interest in religion and/or the humanities, whether peripherally or professionally, layman or academic, should read this book and have it to hand for its accessible facts. Tolle, lege!