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The Great Reformer

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The Great Reformer
By Austen Ivereigh
Henry Holt
Retail Price $30.00
Amazon Price: $18.75

Book Description: 

A biography of Pope Francis that describes how this revolutionary thinker will use the power of his position to challenge and redirect one of the world’s most formidable religionsAn expansive and deeply contextual work, at its heart The Great Reformer is about the intersection of faith and politics–the tension between the pope’s innovative vision for the Church and the obstacles he faces in an institution still strongly defined by its conservative past. Based on extensive interviews in Argentina and years of study of the Catholic Church, Ivereigh tells the story not only of Jorge Mario Bergoglio, the remarkable man whose background and total commitment to the discernment of God’s will transformed him into Pope Francis–but the story of why the Catholic Church chose him as their leader.
With the Francis Revolution just beginning, this biography will provide never-before-explained context on how one man’s ambitious program began–and how it will likely end–through an investigation of Francis’s youth growing up in Buenos Aires and the dramatic events during the Perón era that shaped his beliefs; his ongoing conflicts and disillusionment with the ensuing doctrines of an authoritarian and militaristic government in the 1970s; how his Jesuit training in Argentina and Chile gave him a unique understanding and advocacy for a “Church of the Poor”; and his rise from Cardinal to the papacy.


I was born and raised Catholic but attend a non-denominational Bible-based church. Though I am not a practicing Catholic now, my Catholic roots run deep.  This is why I picked up a copy of this book.  Pope Francis intrigues me. The author does a good job of profiling Pope Francis and contrasting him with previous popes.   There is enough for Pope Francis fans to get a better understanding of his journey to becoming pope and how it all came to be. It covers the changes and reforms he is making and how he is ushering in even greater change, particularly when no one is paying attention.  The author paints a rich portrait of a pope who has a  commitment to a new course for Catholics.

~Reviewed by Mitch P.


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