The Heart of Pope Francis

By Diego Fares, Foreword by Antonio Spadaro, SJ

112 Pages, 5.25 x 8.25

Formats: Cloth, Mobipocket, EPUB

ISBN 9780824520748

“We must create a ‘culture of encounter’, a culture of friendship, a culture in which we find brothers and sisters.” — Pope Francis

“By reading the pages [in this book], we will take a journey through Bergoglio’s thought, we will touch upon the roots of his thought –in his life and intellect—and we will consider the fruits that his particular vision of a “culture of encounter” can bring to the world. One might say that Fares here has begun to sketch out the foundation for a Bergoglian political anthropology … Fares’s approach throughout, however, is personal, not dogmatic, and he interweaves his survey of Francis’s thought with observations of his personality, which often reveal previously unappreciated aspects of this Pontiff and give us deeper understanding of who he is.” –Antonio Spadaro, S.J.

Table of Contents

Preface by Antonio Spadaro, S.J.

  1. “We must go out of ourselves”
  2. Encountering the Other
  3. “God’s faithful people are infallible”
  4. The God of Pope Francis
  5. The New Ministry of Relationship
  6. A New Culture in the Church

Study Guide: Questions for Reflection and Sharing, Prayer and Practice

Reviews of The Heart of Pope Francis:

“Father Diego Fares, S.J. does a masterful job of explaining both the essence and genesis of the world view of Pope Francis, without falling into the politicized black holes that attracted so many of America’s TV “talking heads” during the Pope’s recent visit to the USA. As Father Fares reveals, the Pope’s message of striving for authentic encounters with others as a fundamental practice of our faith is not a new theme, but one honed from his early days of formation as a Jesuit priest dedicated to helping the poor and marginalized as a true path to a better world. But even 25 years ago, as the newly minted Auxiliary Bishop Bergoglio cautioned that one needs more than a mere charitable gesture: “If I simply toss him some coins … if I have not actually touched him, I have not encountered him.” And long before his words as Pope would take on instant global acclaim, in 1977, then Father Jorge Bergoglio told his Jesuit brothers: “By walking patiently and humbly with the poor, we will discover how we may help them, after first having welcomed them. Without this slow, patient walk alongside them, any action we might take on behalf of the poor and oppressed is contrary to our intention and instead we will impede them from fully feeling their own aspirations and from acquiring those tools they need to effectively assume responsibility for their own and collective destiny.”

And there is much more – all succinctly captured by Father Fares in this short, very readable edition.

– David Warden, Esq.

“As Antonio Spadaro informs us in the foreword, Diego Fares has been a friend of Pope Francis for over 40 years (10). Friendship begets knowledge, and there is no better way of knowing a person than by living with him day in and day out and sharing each days sorrows and trials as well as its joys and occasional triumphs. Here in this little book of scarcely over a hundred pages Fares deals with the formation of the mind of our new Pope, which is inseparable from his physical and material existence. Fares is eminently qualified to present the thought of his former provincial, sponsor, rector, and director, in short his beloved confrere in the Society of Jesus.”

– Brian Kerns, O.C,S.O., Abbey of the Genesee

“Diego Fares little book on Pope Francis’ “theology of encounter” will help put to rest any remaining misconceptions that Papa Bergoglio’s papacy is without a strong theological framework. Fares develops Bergoglio’s long development of a “culture of encounter” as the basis of authentic renewal in the Church and the World. Fares writes from the strong position of being a longtime friend, a respected professor of philosophy and theology and a priest daily engaged in ministering to the elderly poor.

One might well label Bergoglio’s developing pastoral theology as one in harmony and continuity with René Latourelle’s theology of encounter, Paul VI’s fostering of dialogue and Vatican II’s major theological thematic communio. The similar themes of fraternity, solidarity and closeness are also featured in this little work whose riches can be explored in groups with the help of the study guide that closes the text.”

— Andrew D. Ciferni, O.Praem, St. Norbert College