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Pope Francis in His Own Words

Pope Francis in His Own Words

by Julie Schwietert Collazo (Editor), Lisa Rogak (Editor)

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The moment the identity of the newly elected 266th pontiff was revealed, it was clear to the thousands gathered in St. Peter’s Square, and to the watching world, that this pope was different in fascinating and exciting ways — the first from Latin America, the first Jesuit, and the first to take the name Francis, in honor of St. Francis of Assisi.



The moment the identity of the newly elected 266th pontiff was revealed, it was clear to the thousands gathered in St. Peter’s Square, and to the watching world, that this pope was different in fascinating and exciting ways — the first from Latin America, the first Jesuit, and the first to take the name Francis, in honor of St. Francis of Assisi.

When Pope Francis, formerly Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Buenos Aires, spoke from the balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica, he greeted his audience colloquially: “Brothers and sisters, good evening.” Downplaying his power and position, he proceeded not to bless the crowd but to ask them for their blessing: “I ask a favor of you,” he said, bowing humbly. “Let us make, in silence, this prayer: your prayer over me.”

Francis has repeatedly foregone the fancy dress, lavish accommodations, and other luxuries of his position, emphasizing pastoral work with the sick and the poor and always seeking to empower the underdog. This revealing collection of his own words, gathered from sermons, interviews, and the Pope’s books, prompts understanding and insight into his way of being and believing — and inspires goodwill, love, and hope.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Quotations from Pope Francis in His Own Words:

“The person who is most high among us must be at the service of the others.”
Pope Francis, as he washed, dried, and kissed the feet of young prisoners on his first Holy Thursday as pontiff

“We never lose if we imitate Jesus, if we serve our suffering brothers.”

“To recognize, accept, and live with all ways of thinking and being does not imply the renunciation of one’s own beliefs.”

“A little bit of mercy makes the world less cold and more just.”

“In a society where lies, cover-ups, and hypocrisy have caused people to lose basic trust in the social contract, what could be more revolutionary than the truth?”

“Human history, our history, the history of every one of us is never ‘finished’; it never runs out of possibilities. Rather, it is always opening to the new — to what, until now, we’d never even had in mind. To what seemed impossible.”

Library Journal
It is not difficult to understand the eagerness and even the anxiety of much of the Roman Catholic world as it anticipates the actions and policies of the man so recently elevated to the See of Rome; hence this publication, one of the first to attempt to collect and understand the public utterances of Father Bergoglio, who is now Pope Francis. In truth, there is relatively little to find: most of his words here are either banal or boilerplate prelatry. Not the scholar or the writer his predecessor was, Francis remains largely unguessable. VERDICT For parishes, seminaries, and devout readers—the latter will cling to this little book for clues to the Holy Father's character as leader, but only time will tell. Readers will find more substance in Bergoglio and Rabbi Abraham Skorka's On Heaven and Earth: Pope Francis on Faith, Family, and the Church in the Twenty-First Century.

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New World Library
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5.10(w) x 7.20(h) x 0.60(d)

Read an Excerpt


"I’ll just go with the guys on the bus."

What the newly-elected Pope told his limo driver and security driver after his initial introduction to crowds in Rome

With the election of Argentina’s Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio as the new Pope of the Catholic Church in March 2013, attention has turned worldwide not only towards what he will do as Pope but how he has lived – and preached – in the past. So far, it’s very clear that compared to other Popes, he has led a humble and unconventional life. For instance, as a cardinal, instead of asking to be addressed as ‘Your Eminence’, he preferred to simply be called ‘Father Jorge.’

Some of the first photos to be published after he was introduced to happy throngs of worshippers in St Peter’s Square reveal that humility and the desire to serve the poor is deep in his blood. One in particular showed him kneeling to wash the feet of a woman, while other news reports had him performing the same service for AIDS patients. It’s hard to imagine his predecessor at the Vatican doing likewise.

It’s clear that his humility and desire to meet with the people on their level – whether they’re Catholics or not – has already won him huge numbers of fans. He cracks jokes, doesn’t hesitate to challenge his country’s leaders on their inequities, and pushes away chauffeurs and luxury transport in order to press the flesh with commoners. And numerous news stories have shown that he offers great compassion towards those who have long been ostracized by churches of all stripes.

At the same time, he shows that he’s a real person, with human desires that he indulges wholeheartedly (well, at least a few…). After all, when’s the last time you heard of a Pope who admits to loving tango and who’s pledged his undying loyalty to one Buenos Aires football club since childhood?

He also walks the walk, which instantly won him respect and admiration around the world. During his tenure as a cardinal in Buenos Aires, Bergoglio refused to live in the luxury accommodation in the palace that previous cardinals called home. Instead, he rented a Spartan one-bedroom apartment where he cooked his own simple dinners and took the bus to work, and persuaded the diocese to allow a group of poor missionaries to live in the official residence.



Is it true that Argentineans don’t want to dialogue? I wouldn’t put it that way. Rather, I think we’ve become victims of attitudes that don’t permit us to dialogue: arrogance, the inability to listen, an exasperation with language... and so many others.

Sobre El Cielo y La Tierra


We believe that the steps taken by the justice system in clarifying these events must serve to renew the efforts of all citizens toward reconciliation, and are a call to distance ourselves not only from impunity but from hatred and rancor as well. [Any Catholic who participated did so] on his own responsibility, erring and sinning gravely against God, against mankind, and against his own conscience.

Interpress Service, October 11, 2007


I would like to give you a blessing, but first I want to ask you for a favor. Before the bishop blesses the people, I ask that you pray to the Lord so that he blesses me.

Reuters, March 13, 2013


The child has absolutely no responsibility for the state of his parents’ marriage. And often a baptism can be a new start for the parents as well.

Hindustan Times, March 14, 2013

In our ecclesiastical region, there are priests who don’t baptize the children of single mothers because they weren’t conceived in the sanctity of marriage. These are today’s hypocrites. Those who clericalize the church. Those who separate the people of God from salvation. And this poor girl who, rather than returning the child to sender, had the courage to carry it into the world, must wander from parish to parish until her child can be baptized!

New York Daily News, March 14, 2013


As you know the duty of the conclave is to give Rome a bishop. It seems that my brother cardinals went almost to the end of the world. But here we are.

Reuters, March 13, 2013

May God forgive you. (said to the Cardinals after being elected.)

The Telegraph (U.K.), March 14, 2013


For many, Buenos Aires is a factory of slaves...a meat grinder which destroys their lives, breaks their will, and deprives them of freedom.”

Vatican Insider, December 15, 2011


The cardinalate is a service, it is not an award to be bragged about.
America Magazine, March 13, 2013

Cardinals are not NGO representatives, but servants of the Lord, inspired by the Holy Spirit, which is the One who is really able to differentiate charismas, unifying them in the Church. A cardinal must be able to differentiate between charismas and at the same time look towards unity, aware that the creator of difference and unity is the Holy Spirit itself. Cardinals who do not enter this frame of mind, in my view, are not cardinals in the way Benedict XVI would like them to be.

Vatican Insider, February 24, 2012


When one does not walk, one halts. When one does not build on stone what happens? That happens which happens to children on the beach when they make sand castles, it all comes down, it is without substance.

Homily, First Papal Mass, March 14, 2013

To walk, to build/construct, to confess. But the matter is not so easy, because in walking, in building, in confessing, at times there are shocks, there are movements that are not properly movements of the journey: they are movements that set us back.

Homily, First Papal Mass, March 14, 2013


What world are we leaving our children? Maybe it would be better to ask: ‘What children are we giving this world? Homily, January 9, 1999

LifeSiteNews.com, October 5, 2007

Children are mistreated, and are not educated or fed. Many are made into prostitutes and exploited. And this happens here in Buenos Aires, in the great city of the south. Child prostitution is offered in some five star hotels: it is included in the entertainment menu, under the heading ‘Other.’


We have to avoid the spiritual sickness of a self-referential church. It’s true that by straying from its path, as can happen to any man or woman, accidents can happen. But if the Church stays enclosed within itself, self-referential, it will grow old. And between a Church that accidentally strays off its path and one that is sick because of self-reference, I have no doubt: I prefer the former.

El Mundo, March 14, 2013

I must not be scandalized by the fact that the Church is my mother: I must look at its sings and shortcomings as I would look at my mother’s sins and shortcomings. And when I think of her, I remember the good and beautiful things she has achieved, more than her weaknesses and defects. A mother defends herself with a heart filled with love before doing so with words. I wonder whether there is any love for the Church in the hearts of those who pay so much attention to the scandals.

Vatican Insider, February 24, 2012

Meet the Author

Jorge Mario Bergoglio was born in Flores, Buenos Aires, Argentina, on December 17, 1936, to an Italian immigrant father and an Argentinian mother. He graduated high school with a diploma in chemical technology and at age twenty-two, during a severe case of pneumonia, had part of one lung removed. Once fully recovered, he decided to devote himself to the priesthood and joined the Jesuits as a novice. After ten years of study, he was ordained a priest in 1969. In 1973, he became the regional leader for the worldwide Jesuit order. In 1992, Father Jorge, as he preferred to be called, was appointed Auxiliary Bishop in Buenos Aires, and he became Archbishop of Buenos Aires in 1998. Pope John Paul II appointed Bergoglio Cardinal in 2001.

Following the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI, the Conclave met to elect a new pope. On March 13, 2013, after two days and five ballots, they elected Bergoglio, who became Pope Francis I.

Julie Schwietert Collazo has written for a variety of magazines including Time, National Geographic Traveler, and Latina, reporting widely on Latin America. She lives in New York, though she has called San Juan, Puerto Rico, and Mexico City home as well.

Lisa Rogak is the New York Times bestselling author of more than forty books and hundreds of newspaper and magazine articles. Her books have been published in more than two dozen languages. She lives in New Hampshire.

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