Pope Francis – Our Brother, Our Friend: Personal Recollections about the Man Who Became Pope by Alejandro Bermudez is much more than a typical biography. This book is a collection of interviews conducted with those who knew Pope Francis before he was elected Pope. Priests and Bishops, professors, journalists, laymen and even a beggar are those who were interviewed about their experiences when he was simply Jorge Bergoglio.
The idea of the book being filled with interviews to me, makes this a very insightful read. Unlike a biography, the interviews allow the reader to see an intimate portrait of the subject from those who had firsthand experiences with him. This is definitely a unique approach but in the case of Pope Francis it gives the reader incredible insight on the thoughts, views, and actions of our new Pope.
Rabbi Abraham Skorka (co-author of On Heaven and Earth), multiple priests (either students of, or professors of the Pope), friends, co-workers and even a beggar round out those who were interviewed. While reading through each of the interviews you see a pattern of common traits. The accounts of these traits which we see in Pope Francis today prove how genuine his actions truly are.
In this book you read about his compassion for the poor and his work in the slums. In another account from Father Ignacio Perez del Viso, you will learn the truth about the accusations against Jorge Bergoglio and the alleged handing over of two priests to the government.
Father Angel Rossi states his reaction when he first saw Pope Francis come out on the balcony of Saint Peter’s: “I was simply petrified, frozen a mixture of immense joy and of profound surprise, considering his advanced age and certain ailments. But I see him rejuvenated, and I believe that it has fallen very well into place, because he is at ease.”Edward Suarez answered when asked if the gestures from the pope surprised you?: “…..the gestures of his pontificate demonstrate in greater magnitude the person his disciples have always known. For example, for the pope, the humble of people are equally important as the most authorities of the famous.”
Other questions asked include:
What was your experience like working closely with Cardinal Bergoglio in the slums?
What characteristic trait would you highlight about Pope Francis?
What do you believe is going to most attract attention about Pope Francis in the immediate future?
This book is one that I highly recommend for anyone with interest on learning about what Jorge Bergoglio, now Pope Francis, is truly like. It is an intimate portrait of who the man really is and what he stands for. The multiple sources for interviews aid in giving a well rounded portrait of our new pope.
I received a copy of this book for this review from the publisher Ignatius Press and their Marketing/PR agency Carmel Communications.