The Heart of Pope Francis
The Heart of Pope Francis

The Heart of Pope Francis

How a New Culture of Encounter Is Changing the Church and the World

The Pope Francis Resource Library


100 Pages, 5.5 x 8.5

Formats: Hardcover, Mobipocket, ebook: EPUB

Mobipocket, $11.99 (US $11.99) (CA $13.99)

Publication Date: September 2015

ISBN 9780824520991


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A presentation of what lies at the heart of Pope Francis' pontificate, written by his friend and fellow Jesuit  At the heart of Pope Francis' vision lies a keen interest in people, and a passion for understanding the life experience of others. This book by a longtime friend of the Pope clarifies the underlying thoughts and choices Jorge Bergoglio has made throughout his life in developing a culture of encounter that he now proposes as the basis for the rebirth of the whole church, and the world. This little book is essential reading for anyone wanting to contribute to renewal in the Catholic Church.


"As a friend and pastoral companion of Jorge Mario Borgolio, S.J., for over forty years, Diego Fares, S.J., gives tremendous insight into the various texts of Pope Francis, written while both a provincial superior of the Argentinian Jesuits and as Archbishop of Buenos Aires, as well as the context of the pope's lived experiences in his native country. With care and precision, Father Fares explains the philosophical bases so important to an understanding of this particular pope: encounter, discernment, dialogue, closeness, and availability. Pope Francis, an extraordinary individual whose life is rooted in a love for Jesus the Christ, integrates within himself key dimensions–doctrinal, scriptural, practical, personal, ecclesial, and social— of what he expects of himself in his role as Bishop of Rome. Above all, he puts into practice what his fellow Jesuits have termed "a preferential option for the poor" and "the promotion of justice." The Heart of Pope Francis is a marvelous book!." —Patrick Samway, S.J. Professor Emeritus of English Saint Joseph's University Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

"Diego Fares's little book on Pope Francis's '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 Begoglio's developing pastoral theology as one in harmony and continuity with Rene 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 also feature 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, De Pere, WI

"I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a short (116 page) guide to Pope Francis' thought and his theology of encounter, which has motivated him from his early days as a Jesuit, through to Archbishop of Buenos Aires, and now Pope. We are led to an understanding of what has inspired Pope Francis' apostolic zeal in his accent on the encounter with 'the other', with our neighbor and, through him, with God, the ultimate other: ' . . . we must do what Jesus does: encounter others.' For an authentic interpersonal encounter, I have to present the real me in going out from self, both in prayer and in the service of others, in particular in my 'encounter with the wounded body of Christ in the poor.' The pope stresses the place of dialogue, which leads to peace. For this to be fruitful we are told that we must be people of integrity. We have a shining example of this in Pope Francis himself. There is a useful study guide and color photos throughout (including Pope Francis about to spin a basketball on his index finger, to the delight of the Harlem Globetrotters.)" —Br David Hodges, OCSO, Caldey Abbey, Wales, UK

"In 100 pages Fr. Fares deals with the formation of Pope Francis's mind, which is inseparable from his physical and material existence. Fares is qualified to present the thought of his former provincial, rector, director—his brother—in the Jesuits." —Br. Brian Kerns, O.C.S.O., Our Lady of The Genesee Abbey

"I recommend this guide to Pope Francis's thought and theology of encounter, in which we are led to understand what has inspired his apostolic zeal and pride of place of dialogue. We have an example of this in Francis himself." —Brother David Hodges, O.C.S.O, Caldey Abbey

"Diego Fares's book on Pope Francis's 'Theology of Encounter' will end any remaining misconceptions that Francis's papacy is without strong theological framework. Fares develops Bergoglio's long development of a 'Culture of Encounter' as the basis of renewal in the Church." —Rev. Canon Andrew Ciferni, O. Praem.

"Jesuit Diego Fares walks us through themes of Bergoglio's writings with short excerpts. The volume acts as an introductory conversation for some readers, others might consider them a Bergoglian sense of dialogue that has long been at the heart of his ministry." —Christopher M. Belitto, History Professor, Kean University

Author Biography

Diego Fares, SJ, is a Jesuit priest from Argentina. He is a professor of philosophy and theology, and the director of El hogar de San Jose, a home for the elderly living in the streets or in extreme poverty. He has known and worked with Jorje Bergoglio for more than 40 years. Antonio Spadaro, SJ, is a Roman Jesuit and a Vatican journalist.