cover image The Great Reformer: Francis and the Making of a Radical Pope

The Great Reformer: Francis and the Making of a Radical Pope

Austen Ivereigh. Holt, $30 (464p) ISBN 978-1-62779-157-1

Pope Francis is a complex human being, as Catholics are discovering. Ivereigh, a journalist, Catholic commentator, and former advisor to Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, is the ideal papal biographer. He provides a detailed and well-written examination of Pope Francis, starting with his youth in Argentina. Young Jorge, the child of Italian immigrants, was strongly influenced by his grandmother Rosa. She provided him with an ideal example of an intelligent, prayerful woman, and she believed it important to live one’s faith by working for social justice. This relationship, as well as several others, helped the future pontiff open his heart to the poor in his country and, eventually, world-wide. Bergoglio has developed into a pope who shakes things up, does not put up with complacency, and truly believes that faith, lived authentically, can change the world. With its wealth of biographical information that offers an in-depth look at formative influences, this is the best examination of the current pope to date. (Nov.)