Earlier this week Pope Francis written by Matthew Bunson and published by Our Sunday Visitor was released. As I had written when reviewing Francis: Pope of a New World is that you expect some flaws and lack of depth for a book that quickly comes to market. In many ways this book gets passed some of those problems and is also a bit fuller when it comes to the life of Jorge Mario Bergoglio.
This book provides a detailed snapshot of the time leading up to the election along with the necessary coverage of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI resignation. The first chapters are rather detailed with both historical information, but also containing the full texts that the Pope Francis delivered. The rest of the book takes a deeper look at his roots and his years as a Priest, Bishop, Archbishop and then Cardinal.
I had heard the author of this book being interviewed concerning it and as I remember he said that one of his goals was to provide context concerning the life of our new Pope. I believe he succeeded at this since you get a much better sense of Argentina with its founding history and specifically the history of Argentina during the life of Jorge Mario Bergoglio. The context of his priestly vocation lived out in those years also gets a bit more depth than I have read before. Going beyond just the highlights that have been concentrated on to more of the concrete ways he lived his vocation and dealt with difficulties. This book also takes a look at the homilies he preached as the Cardinal of Buenos Aires and the responses to events that often informed them. You can clearly see the Pope’s style of a directness that punctuates while coming back to the central theme repeatedly.
Really I found both of these books to be nice companions to the other where each book had different strengths and they nicely balanced each other’s weaknesses.