On Heaven and Earth: Pope Francis on Faith, Family, and the Church in the Twenty-First Centurydoes exactly what it sets out to do. It serves as a great introduction to the thought and approach of than Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, the man we now call Pope Francis.
This book is a collection of a series of talks held between Pope Francis and Rabbi Abraham Skorka. It was originally published in 2010 but this release by Image Books is the first time the book has appeared in English.
The book covers a wide range of topics arranged into 29 individual chapters. These chapters include Prayer, Death, Euthanasia, the Elderly, Divorce, Money, Poverty and the Future of Religion to name a few. The chapter lengths range from a few pages long to 18 pages. This book is not a hard read but the fact that some of the chapters are so short leaves you wanting some deeper thought on some topics.
One of the things that comes shining through is the humility of Pope Francis. His conversation flows easily and his responses are easily understood. In his responses Pope Francis does not beat around the bush. He delivers direct responses but does so with a mix of wit and wisdom. This is not a deep theological read nor do I think is it meant to be. Pope Francis has his own style and on the surface of this book his approach seems to be easily understood.
This volume is obviously being marketed as a book on the thought of Pope Francis and to Catholics in general. One bonus to this book was the commentary of Rabbi Abraham Skorka. I encourage you to not skip over Skorka’s responses. Firstly is you need to read what he says as the two gentlemen’s responses feed off each other. Additionally I learned a lot about not only the Rabbi’s thinking but the Jewish faith in general.
This book serves its purpose well. It is meant to be an introduction on where Pope Francis stands on various modern day issues. It gives good insight on where the newly elected Pope of the Catholic Church may lead us. From reading this book I think we can safely say, we are in good hands.
I received this book for from Image Books for this review.