Wounded Shepherd: Pope Francis and His Struggle to Convert the Catholic Church

Austen Ivereigh’s guide to a pope dedicated to people’s inherent dignity is indispensable

Pope Francis: his insistence on a merciful church is maybe the most remarkable characteristic of his papacy. Photograph:  Spencer Platt/Getty

Pope Francis: his insistence on a merciful church is maybe the most remarkable characteristic of his papacy. Photograph: Spencer Platt/Getty

Jorge Bergoglio was always an unlikely pope. In almost 500 years, no Jesuit had ever been chosen. Bergoglio had not cultivated Vatican connections or the conference circuit. Though his piety and intelligence were never in doubt, he had greatly contributed to radical divisions among the Jesuits in Argentina. When already over 50, his drive for power and control met with a savage rebuke. The Jesuit leadership in Rome dispatched him to the provincial city of Cordoba with no specific job and only occasional permission to say Mass in public.

Pope Francis is rightly viewed as a man of exceptional charisma. Yet how is it that those who met him at a Jesuit house in Dublin during a three-month stay in 1980 can scarcely recall him?

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