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Pope Francis Paperback – 1 Aug 2013

4.7 out of 5 stars 101 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Continuum (1 Aug. 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1472903706
  • ISBN-13: 978-1472903709
  • Product Dimensions: 13.4 x 1.9 x 21.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (101 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 198,788 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

Paul Vallelys biography of Francisstands, in terms of seriousness of purpose and depth of understanding, head and shoulders above other recent rushed cuttings jobs.,By the end of this stint of reviewing I have read through 10 biographies of one sort or another of the new Bishop of Rome. This emboldens me to say, without hesitation, that Vallely's is undoubtedly the most satisfactory of an otherwise lacklustre bunch...Vallely, as befits a long-time journalist, has done the legwork...Read this book, forget the rest.,Of the new literature rushed out to capitalise on the great interest and the extraordinarily long honeymoon period that Francis is experiencing, Paul Vallelys Pope Francis: Untying the Knots is perhaps the best in the English language..Vallely, with great insight, posits that this painting in some way represents the enigma of Bergoglio: a former provincial with a complicated legacy, but also a man spiritual and humble enough to recognise his mistakes and learn from them... The focus is on Bergoglio the Jesuit provincial, and then Bergoglio as bishopand cardinal. It is both challenging and illuminating...Vallely is an excellent, well-connected writer, and Pope Francis: Untying the Knots is an engaging and thoughtful read throughout.,No biography, however diligent, can capture someone's interior life. But what this book does demonstrate is that Pope Francis is a tougher, more complex figure than meets the eye...Anybody who reads this book will eagerly await his next move.,[an] absorbing portrait of the show-stopping new popeVallely invokes the image of untying the knots to explain his goal. --The Sunday Times

About the Author

Paul Vallely is a top-flight journalist with a international 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.


Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Untying the Knots is an exemplary work of biography and journalism. Rather than rush to print with Jorge Mario Bergoglio's election as pope Paul Vallely, the author, spent some considerable time travelling to Rome and Buenos Aires to meet friends and enemies of the new pope.

Despite being a relatively short book it is teeming with detail, including sketches of Argentinian politics, the origins and conduct of the "Dirty War", and the machinations of two papal elections, as well as the origins and career of the new pope, Francis.

The central issues of the book relate to Bergoglio's personal conduct during the Dirty War and what sort of a pope he will be. In relation to the first question Vallely explores in some depth the key question relating to Bergoglio's role in the kidnapping and torture of two Jesuit priests by the military junta when he was Provincial of that order.

The answer to that first question is fundamental in Vallely's assessment of the second. In the end Vallely paints a convincing picture of a man who was politically conservative and personally authoritarian in his youth, making some dreadful mistakes as a result. But while remaining quite conservative Bergoglio appear to be someone who, as a result of deep shame at past misconduct and misjudgement, has grown into a generous and courageous figure.

It will be interesting to see the sort of pope that Bergoglio becomes as Francis but Vallely presents considerable evidence to suggest a hopeful prospect based on his radical conduct in the first months of his pontificate.
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Format: Paperback
Just finished this book. It is superb. An excellent text, immensely readable, and in fact 'unputdownable'. It's Vallely at his very best. He throws light on the shadow years of the 1970s and asks all the right questions. He recognizes and seeks to explain the man who changed (and allowed himself to change) and who has now become Bishop of Rome - making a clear option, to the astonishment of many, of a church for the poor, in the style of Oscar Romero, Helder Camara and the 'Pact of the Catacombs'.
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Format: Kindle Edition
When he was in charge of the Jesuits in Argentina during the 1976-1983 military junta, Jorge Mario Bergoglio put the lives of two of his priests in mortal danger by not letting them say mass. This was taken as a signal by the junta that the two could be tortured (which they were) and killed (which they managed to avoid after five horrible months in captivity). It is Paul Vallely's thesis that recognising his terrible errors here helped make a humble, more compassionate man out of Bergoglio. It is a moving tale, and very convincing. Church leaders, including the last two Popes, can be off-putting to ordinary people because they appear as if they were born good. But one of the reasons that Bergoglio is so appealing is that he seems like us. He can do ordinary things like sing some risky Genovese songs which his uncle taught him or follow football or become obsessed temporarily by a woman, as he did many years ago...just like we might have done in his position. Reading this book made me happy, and I learnt a lot from it. Just to pick two ideas. Pope Francis is quoted as saying: "Guilt, without atonement, does not allow us to grow." And, in his last sermon in Buenos Aires before becoming Pope, he said that morality is not "a never falling down" but an "always getting up again". The last chapter of this book was clearly produced in a bit of a rush and, I guess, will be properly sub-edited when it is reprinted. But Paul Vallely has produced a great introduction to a wonderful man - and also given some fascinating insights into the discipline and determination of the mighty Jesuit order. It only takes one Jesuit to change a school or a country or a world, it seems.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A well written book which reads like a detective story piecing together the jigsaw of Bergoglio's past. Tells the truth about the Pope's murky past but ends with a powerful affirmation of him which suggests he is going to be a great Pope. Unputdownable and uplifting in the end.

A real page turner that keeps you reading right till the end.
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Excellent!!. This is a well researched and well written text. The analysis of Fr Jorge's journey is perceptive and asks the questions we all want answered.The passage being undertaken by the Pontiff is explored,critiqued and described in a manner that reflects the journey itself.
" Four years of Bergoglio would be enough to changes things" Cardinal Cormac O'Connor Murphy page 187
I await Vallely's 2017 edition !!!!!
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This book is very informative and a great read. It is no quickly cobbled together biography garnered from the cuttings library but a carefully researched study of people who know the man, first hand sources in Rome and Argentina. It sets the tumultuos affairs and damascene rebirth of the new Pope in a concise review of the recent history of his country. It is at times enthralling and always interesting. A deep analysis in a readable and gripping style. Even to me as a non-Catholic it unpacks the intricacies of this Church and of a man who could change it all.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Paul Vallely is always worth reading and this biography of Pope Francis is no exception. It has to be read in full because, by half-way through, Fr. Bergoglio looks like a rabid traditionalist but the transformation into a humble servant of the poor is beautifully sketched and described.
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