Thursday, May 30, 2013

Book Review of Francis, Man of Prayer by Mario Escobar

Francis, Man of Prayer by Mario Escobar

Book Description from

First Jesuit. First Latin American. And a new pope who chose as his first act a simple request: please pray for me.
The recent resignation of Pope Benedict XVI took the world by surprise and for good reason. More than 600 years had passed since a pope last left his post.
Jorge Mario Bergoglio, now Pope Francis, is a man of prayer, a man of action, and a humble man who has always promoted others over himself. In fact, it was Bergoglio who bowed out of the running in the papal election of 2005 to facilitate the rise of Benedict XVI.
However, the new pope faces a Catholic Church in crisis—a church that has lost the media pull of John Paul II and is still hounded by pedophile scandals and the filtration of documents from former papal administrations. His first year may not be an easy one, but neither this man nor the church itself has ever shied away from the challenges thrust upon them.
Pope Francis is austere and simple but has vast theological training. He is a man of his time but one who also travels by subway and bus just like any other citizen. Tirelessly fighting poverty and marginalization, he is a beacon of hope for the poor, persecuted sectors of the church. Has a Catholic spring finally arrived after a very long winter?
Francis is the complete biography of a humble man who has suddenly become one of the most powerful and influential men on the planet.
My Review:

Acknowledgements (page ix)
Introduction (page xi)
Chapter 1 The Language of His Memories: A Family of Italian Immigrants (page 3)
Chapter 2 That Spring Day: Vocation and Surrender (page 90
Chapter 3 Difficult Days of Dictatorship (page 23)
Chapter 4 The Ascent of a Humble Man (page 33)
Chapter 5 The Jesuits: The Pope's Army (page 45)
Chapter 6 Supporting John Paul ll in His American Ministry (page 61)
Chapter 7 The Potential Pope Who Ceded to the German Candidate (page 69)
Chapter 8 The Conclave of 2013 (page 91)
Chapter 9 The First Pope from the Americas (page 111)
Chapter 10 The First Jesuit Pope (page 149)
Chapter 11 Facing Modernity and Globalization (page 157)
Chapter 12 Facing the Scandals of the Catholic Church (page 161)
Chapter 13 The Humble Pope, Friend of the Poor (page 165)
Conclusion (page 169)
Ten Quotes That Reveal What Pope Francis Believes (page 171)
Chronology (page 173)
Bibliography (page (177)
Notes (page181)
About the Author (page 199)
Such an informative book on Pope Francis. I knew little of the Jesuits but this book answered many of my questions. The author, Mario Escobar, has managed to put together a book very soon after the election, March 13, 2013.
Pope Francis was born December 17, 1936 in Buenos Aires, Argentina, the oldest of five children. His father was from an immigrant family from Italy. Pope Francis was named Jorge Mario Bergoglio.
Chapter 1 begins in 1934 and is about his mother, father and family. His mother was Regina Maria Sivori and his father was Mario Jose Bergoglio.
Chapter 2 is on his decision to become a priest. The education for Catholic seminarians, particularly the Jesuits (page 19-21), has four pillars. First pillar is spiritual life, second involves community life, third is intellectual life and fourth is apostolic life.
Chapter 5 gives the history of the Jesuits. Page 51 and page 52 has comments from John Adams and Abraham Lincoln and not kind remarks about the Jesuits.
Chapter 9 (page 111) lists the periods of the Popes who were not Italian (page 142). 1. Greek Period (97-418). 2. Syrian Period (685-705). 3. German Period (996-1075). 4. French Period (1057-1378). 5. Spanish Period ( 1455-1523). 6. Central European Period (1455-2013).The author also gives the names of the Popes in these periods.
On page 171 there are Ten Quotes That Reveal What Pope Francis Believes. 1.The Christian people must be the center of the Church. 2. Prayer is an instrument of service. 3 Jesus Christ is the center of the Christian message. 4. His style should continue to be simple and approachable. 5 Protecting creation is our responsibility. 6. Social media can be used to engage the faithful. 7. The pope is a servant to the people. 8. The New Evangelization can increase church growth and effectiveness. 9. Overcoming the vocational crisis is possible. 10. We must be wary of our emotions.
I found this a good read and it supplied me with new information. Some of the book dealt with problems of the Church and while we may not like that portion of the book, it happened.
I look forward to reading more about our new Pope and will possibly read more about the Jesuits.
I received a complimentary copy of Francis, Man of Prayer by Mario Escobar from and Thomas Nelson Publishers to read and review. The opinions are my own.
I give it a 5 star because I think it gives us an insight of some of the things Pope Francis will offer us and history of the past.
Mario Escobar may be reached at
Leona Olson

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