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On Heaven and Earth: Pope Francis on Faith, Family, and the Church in the Twenty-First Century (Random House Large Print) Paperback – Large Print, May 14, 2013


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On Heaven and Earth: Pope Francis on Faith, Family, and the Church in the Twenty-First Century (Random House Large Print) + Pope Francis: Conversations with Jorge Bergoglio: His Life in His Own Words + Open Mind, Faithful Heart: Reflections on Following Jesus
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Product Details

  • Series: Random House Large Print
  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Random House Large Print; Lrg edition (May 14, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0804121168
  • ISBN-13: 978-0804121163
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.6 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (168 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #275,778 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

This remarkable book wonderfully demonstrates the warm and positive relationship Pope Francis has developed with Jews and Judaism. These honest and respectful exchanges between then-Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio and Argentinian Rabbi Abraham Skorka on a wide range of sensitive and complex topics - God, religion, fundamentalism, politics, and the Holocaust - is a model not only for Jews and Catholics but for all those seeking productive interfaith dialogue in helping to repair a broken world. -- Rabbi Eric J. Greenberg, Director, Department of Interfaith Affairs Anti-Defamation League

Whether or not they agree with everything that is said, readers of all religious backgrounds will be impressed by the substance and frankness of these conversations between Cardinal Bergolio and Rabbi Skorka. They clearly enact the call of the Second Vatican Council for "fraternal dialogues"  between Catholics and Jews. This is how religious leaders should speak to one another: on the basis of sincere friendship and respect.  This book will also encourage anyone who wondered if a pope from a non-European country could be personally committed to the Catholic Church's new relationship with Jews. --Philip A. Cunningham, Ph.D., Professor of Theology and Director of the Institute for Jewish-Catholic Relations, Saint Joseph's University, Philadelphia

About the Author

JORGE MARIO BERGOGLIO, POPE FRANCIS, is the first Latin American to be elected to the chair of Peter. A native of Buenos Aires, Argentina, he was ordained as a priest in 1969. He served as head of the Society of Jesus in Argentina from 1973 to 1979. In 1998 he became the archbishop of Buenos Aires, and in 2001 a cardinal. Following the resignation of his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI, February 28, 2013, the conclave elected Bergoglio, who chose the papal name Francis in honor of Saint Francis of Assisi. He is the first pope to be a Jesuit, to come from the Americas, and to come from the Southern Hemisphere.

ABRAHAM SKORKA is an Argentine rabbi, biophysicist, and book author. He is rector of the Seminario Rabinico Latinoamericano in Buenos Aires, the rabbi of the Jewish community Benei Tikva, a professor of biblical and rabbinic literature at the Seminario Rabinico Latinoamericano, and honorary professor of Hebrew law at the University of Salamanca.

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Customer Reviews

On Heaven and Earth is a wonderful insight into the views of Pope Francis I and Rabbi Abraham Skorka.
FireBird28
There ability to exchange thoughts shows how much Christians and Jews share in their faiths and how dialogue brings us closer together.
J. L. Rector
It is easy to read and a great book to pick up if you only have a short time to read, as you can cover a chapter or two easily.
E. Conners

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

69 of 72 people found the following review helpful By Nick Zinos on April 20, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I received this book in the mail yesterday and I am almost finished with it. It is a series of conversations between then-Cardinal Bergoglio, Archbishop of Buenos Aires, and a Rabbi of the area named Abraham Skorka. They discuss frankly and respectfully many different topics including Interreligious Dialogue, the Holocaust, Abortion, Same-Sex Marriage, Nationalism, and many more. However, the theme that seems to be a constant in the book is an honest evaluation of religious leaders and institutions in general, with each author often times pointing out how those who speak in the name of God can be more of a hindrance than a help to true religion. It is certainly a call for purification of religious sensibilities among all believers, but especially among the pastors of the flock.

I am a Catholic, and I must admit that the only reason I purchased this book was to learn more about the personality and opinions of our new Pope. I even started the book by skipping over all of Skorka's comments, just to focus on Pope Francis' words. But occasionally I would glance at Skorka's comments and I began to realize that they were fascinating and profound in their own right. His knowledge of Talmudic lore or Jewish folk stories (such as the story of the Golem of Prague) was extremely interesting. For someone not well versed in Jewish theology, it was a delight to learn more about this religion. It is evident from these conversations that Judaism can enrich Christian thought and vice-versa.

I recommend this book as a good introduction to the personality of Pope Francis, but also as a fascinating encounter between two of the great world religions. It failed to achieve the full five-star rating because although it is a good book, it is not a great book. It is casual in tone, with each author sometimes getting slightly off topic, and does not always delve as deep as one would like into the issues. However, these flaws are not unusual among this genre of writing.
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Lorraine V. Murray on April 27, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
There is so much misinformation circulating about what Pope Francis believes on various hot-button issues, and this book lets you find the truth easily, since each chapter covers a different topic. The book is a dialogue between him and a Rabbi, so it is fascinating to see all the points of agreement between the two men, and, of course, the areas where their beliefs diverge. They discuss the devil, the reality of sin and other theological topics, along with social issues such as feminism, homosexuality, the importance of the traditional family, and many others. A good read!
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Stuart Dunn TOP 500 REVIEWER on May 23, 2013
Format: Hardcover
On Heaven and Earth is a book of dialogue between Pope Francis (then Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio) and Rabbi Abraham Skorka. Both men are Argentinian and both are respected religious leaders as well as brilliant minds. In these conversations, which read like brief letters back and forth to one another, various subjects such as God, the Devil, Science, Education, are covered. My initial impression was that it was nice to see subjects other than religion covered. This has potential to attract a wider, perhaps secular audience, who would otherwise never read a book by the Pope.

Each chapter reads like a friendly debate (for lack of a better word). One man gives his and his religion's viewpoint on a specific subject, and the other replies with their viewpoint. The tone is never harsh, and you can tell that these men have a good deal of respect for each other. If you are looking for fireworks or one party to declare the other wrong, you need to find a different book. I must admit there are times when I wish Pope Francis would have told Rabbi Skorka that he was wrong, but that is not how dialogue, especially religious dialogue works. Both men exhibited what a religious dialogue is supposed to look like - loving, respectful, willing to listen, and willing to share.

Some chapters were more appealing to me than others. For example, the first chapter, "On God," was very interesting. I'm not sure what exactly I expected them to discuss as it related to God, but Rabbi Skorka's explanation of Nimrod and the Tower of Babel, according to Talmudic tradition, was very interesting and a perspective I had never heard before. The chapter "On the 1970s" had a hard time keeping my interest because I wasn't alive during that time.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Daniel Brosky on April 24, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A very nicely arranged book. 29 Chapters covering a diverse range of topics that are insightful and should lead every Catholic to a deeper introspective contemplation on their place in the world and how they view the world and themselves. Only disappointment is the somewhat cheap binding of the book - pages glued in, not bound; hard paperboard cover, not cloth-bound. Also, glaringly silent on the issue of the use of the death penalty. All-in-all, though, much enrich one's meditative and prayer lives.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By John Ring on July 23, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
First, it is well written/the dialogue is intelligent and thoughtful. It touches on many of the problems in our society/culture in a mature way. It clearly shows the approach of Catholic and Jewish thought and shows how close we are to one another.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Smiley42 on April 27, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Very few books by Pope Francis are available. I pre-ordered "On Heaven And Earth. I am delighted with this book documenting many meetings /discussions between Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio , Archbishop of a Buenos Aires and Rabbi Abraham Skorka. They discussed many different theological and worldly topics over a number of years. They decided to document these discussions resulting in this book. It is a easily understandable, beautifully written book by two very intelligent men of different religions. Unlike many books on religion you do not have to have a degree in Theology to understand and enjoy this wonderful book.
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