Pope Francis: Untying the Knots

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Overview

From his first appearance on a Vatican balcony Pope Francis proved himself a Pope of Surprises. With a series of potent gestures, history’s first Jesuit pope declared a mission to restore authenticity and integrity to a Catholic Church bedevilled by sex abuse and secrecy, intrigue and in-fighting, ambition and arrogance. He declared it should be 'a poor Church, for the poor'.
But there is a hidden past to this modest man with the winning smile. Jorge Mario Bergoglio was ...

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Pope Francis: Untying the Knots

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Overview

From his first appearance on a Vatican balcony Pope Francis proved himself a Pope of Surprises. With a series of potent gestures, history’s first Jesuit pope declared a mission to restore authenticity and integrity to a Catholic Church bedevilled by sex abuse and secrecy, intrigue and in-fighting, ambition and arrogance. He declared it should be 'a poor Church, for the poor'.
But there is a hidden past to this modest man with the winning smile. Jorge Mario Bergoglio was previously a bitterly divisive figure. His decade as leader of Argentina’s Jesuits left the religious order deeply split. And his behaviour during Argentina’s Dirty War, when military death squads snatched innocent people from the streets, raised serious questions – on which this book casts new light.
Yet something dramatic then happened to Jorge Mario Bergoglio. He underwent an extraordinary transformation. After a time of exile he re-emerged having turned from a conservative authoritarian into a humble friend of the poor – and became Bishop of the Slums, making enemies among Argentina’s political classes in the process.
For Pope Francis – Untying the Knots, Paul Vallely travelled to Argentina and Rome to meet Bergoglio’s intimates over the last four decades. His book charts a remarkable journey. It reveals what changed the man who was to become Pope Francis – from a reactionary into the revolutionary who is unnerving Rome’s clerical careerists with the extent of his behind-the-scenes changes. In this perceptive portrait Paul Vallely offers both new evidence and penetrating insights into the kind of pope Francis could become.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Paul Vallely’s biography of Francis…stands, in terms of seriousness of purpose and depth of understanding, head and shoulders above other recent rushed cuttings jobs." – Peter Stanford, The Sunday Times, UK "By the end of this stint of reviewing I have read through 10 biographies of one sort or another of the new Bishop of Rome. This emboldens me to say, without hesitation, that Vallely's is undoubtedly the most satisfactory of an otherwise lacklustre bunch...Vallely, as befits a long-time journalist, has done the legwork...Read this book, forget the rest." - Michael Walsh, The Tablet

"With more research and a wider canvas than most high-speed biographies, this portrait of Jorge Bergoglio gives us depth. Vallely teases out the contradictions of a radical conservative and clarifies his task of renewal." - Independent, UK "No biography, however diligent, can capture someone's interior life. But what this book does demonstrate is that Pope Francis is a tougher, more complex figure than meets the eye...Anybody who reads this book will eagerly await his next move." - The Economist, UK

Library Journal
10/15/2013
After interviewing many people who have known Pope Francis over the years, journalist Vallely (senior military analyst, Fox News) deftly tells the story of a man who went from being a conservative and reactionary whose autocratic decrees caused dissension to a protector of the poor; from a man who condemned "slum priests" to one who encouraged them. Vallely presents contrasting views about Francis, critiquing those he considers biased and justifying those he sees as valid. He creates for the reader a picture of the man who immediately endeared himself to many by rejecting the trappings of the papacy but whose election was accompanied by unsettling tales from his past. The first Jesuit pope, the first to take the name Francis, and the first from the Americas is shown to be a man whose understanding of the role of bishop has developed over the years. VERDICT Unlike the more popular biographies of the new pope that have appeared (e.g., Matthew Bunson's Pope Francis), Vallely's work examines the criticisms that have been made of Pope Francis and puts them in context, clarifying, rather than denying. In the process, he offers insight into the roots of the new pope's leadership style. Readers looking for a fuller portrait of the prelate will be grateful for this volume.—Augustine J. Curley, Newark Abbey, NJ
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781472903709
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Academic
  • Publication date: 9/24/2013
  • Pages: 240
  • Sales rank: 54,126
  • Product dimensions: 5.30 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Paul Vallely is a top-flight journalist with a international reputation as a commentator on religion, society and political issues. He was correspondent for The Times in Ethiopia during the famine of 1984-5 for which he was commended as International Reporter of the Year. He was the co-author of Bob Geldof’s massive-selling autobiography, Is That It? and was later involved in the organisation of Live 8. In 2004 he was seconded to the Commission for Africa set up by the British prime minister, Tony Blair where he worked on the Commission's report Our Common Interest (later published by Penguin). He is the editor of The New Politics: Catholic Social Teaching for the 21st century and has advised the Catholic Bishops of England and Wales. He was created a CMG 'for services to journalism and to the developing world' in 2006 and is currently associate editor of the Independent newspaper.

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Customer Reviews

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 16, 2013

    Why can't I get this book from Barnes & Noble, either paperb

    Why can't I get this book from Barnes & Noble, either paperback or Nook? Amazon has it in paperback and Kindle!

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    Posted September 25, 2013

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