Featured Reviews, VOLUME 6

Michel Cool – Francis: A New World Pope [Feature Review]

[easyazon-image align=”left” asin=”0802871003″ locale=”us” height=”333″ src=”http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51zb%2BL0rPlL.jpg” width=”216″ alt=”Michel Cool” ]Pope Francis and the Future of the Church
A Feature Review of

Francis: A New World Pope

Michel Cool

Paperback: Eerdmans, 2013
Buy now:  [ [easyazon-link asin=”0802871003″ locale=”us”]Amazon[/easyazon-link] ]
Reviewed by Tim Høiland


Ever since Jorge Mario Bergoglio was elected by the papal conclave this past March, becoming the 266th pontiff and the first to take the name Francis, it seems the whole world has been abuzz with prognostications about what new directions the Catholic Church will take with the “People’s Pope” at the helm.


Indeed, from the moment he first appeared on the balcony at St. Peter’s it became clear that Pope Francis was serious about trying to live up to his medieval namesake. Notably absent was the regal dress of his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI. And before he blessed the people, he instituted a powerful reversal by asking the people to pray for him.

As stories about the life of the new Bishop of Rome started to emerge, we saw that while these demonstrations of humility and simplicity may have broken with tradition for the papacy, they were nothing new for the former Archbishop of Buenos Aires. For years he had regularly visited the poor and the outcasts in his native Argentina, taking public transportation and walking through mud to get there. And just as he seemed determined to do in the Vatican, he had lived for many years in a relatively austere apartment. With “street cred” like this, the buzz surrounding Pope Francis has been understandable.


In his slim new book Francis: A New World Pope, French journalist and religion writer Michel Cool paints a portrait of Bergoglio’s path to the papacy and seeks to put the election of the new Pope into perspective.

As Cool demonstrates, Francis is seen by many as an outsider, and in important ways, he is. There has never previously been a Pope from the so-called “New World” and never before has the Pope been a Jesuit. Accompanying these unprecedented changes, some critics of the Vatican’s perceived stodginess hope he will bring sweeping changes, not just in style, but also in doctrine. Catholic faithful who recognize the Vatican’s failures and grieve over the recent sex abuse scandal, meanwhile, hope Francis will restore the Church to health and respectability.


Commentators have latched onto sound-bytes from Francis’s surprisingly candid interviews in which he has said, for example, that the Church can no longer be “obsessed” with the issues of abortion and same-sex marriage. Some of those commentators have, however, conveniently ignored his statements affirming the Church’s long-held teachings on these matters. For those outside the Church, the Pope’s seemingly contradictory comments have been vexing, but needlessly so, in my opinion.

CLICK HERE to continue reading on Page 2



Reading for the Common Good
From ERB Editor Christopher Smith

"This book will inspire, motivate and challenge anyone who cares a whit about the written word, the world of ideas, the shape of our communities and the life of the church."
-Karen Swallow Prior

Enter your email below to sign up for our weekly newsletter & download your FREE copy of this ebook!
We respect your email privacy

In the News...
Understanding Christian Nationalism: Essential Books [A Reading Guide]
Most Anticipated Books of the Fall for Christian Readers!
Ten Theology Books to Watch For – September 2022
Journalist Barbara Ehrenreich died earlier this month. Here's a few video clips that introduce her work
Hilarious One-Star Customer Reviews of Bibles

Comments are closed.