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80 of 82 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspiring words from Pope Francis' first year
This Loyola Press paperback is the first Vatican-authorized collection of Pope Francis' writings released in the United States. It contains generous excerpts from the speeches and writings of his first year as head of the Catholic Church. Although there are a number of Pope Francis books floating around, mostly from his years before he became pope, this one is among the...
Published 8 months ago by Transcendental Thomist

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Pope Francis understands the poor.
This is a compilation of sermons given by Pope Francis. They are very simply written and would be great as a basis for a discussion group. It gave me a deeper understanding of the Pontiff's call for charity among all of God's people.
Published 6 months ago by F. Riotte


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80 of 82 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspiring words from Pope Francis' first year, April 24, 2014
This review is from: The Church of Mercy (Paperback)
This Loyola Press paperback is the first Vatican-authorized collection of Pope Francis' writings released in the United States. It contains generous excerpts from the speeches and writings of his first year as head of the Catholic Church. Although there are a number of Pope Francis books floating around, mostly from his years before he became pope, this one is among the most inspiring. The topical arrangements are particularly well-chosen and there is a careful editorial hand at work here. This volume is not a cheap rush job -- like many of the books released to the U.S. market in the months after his election -- but a carefully produced volume done by an American Jesuit publishing house for the Jesuit pope. It provides ideal bedside reading and reflection material. I highly recommend it to anyone who is looking for inspiration and a spiritual boost.
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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mercy: the Spirit of the Gospel or New "Aggiornamento" of Pope Francis, April 27, 2014
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This review is from: The Church of Mercy (Hardcover)
As I write this on April 27th, we are celebrating the historical event of two modern popes being declared saints in the Catholic Church. We are witnessing history in the making: the history of the Church and the history of the world. There were times in the Church when popes were always acclaimed as saints. This has not been true in our modern age. Pope Francis chose to celebrate this event on Divine Mercy Sunday, the Second Sunday of Easter, and a day that was established in the Church's calendar by Pope John Paul II.

The phenomenon of Pope Francis did not occur in a vacuum. It is a matter of men who became pope who would then stand on the shoulders of their predecessors. For this review, we need not go back any further than Pope John XXIII who began what he called the "aggiornamento"--the "breath of fresh air" that the Church needed; literally, the "modernization" that was called for; which began the process of the calling of the Second Vatican Council, which came after his death. It was during the papacy of Pope Paul VI that the Council actually happened. It was from there that the modern teaching on "evangelization" sprung from the document Evangelii Nuntiandi / On Evangelization in the Modern World. It was there that the Church began the process which first resembles the Apostles staying fearfully in the Upper Room, but after receiving and being moved by the Holy Spirit went into the streets to proclaim the Good News, after which numbers of people were being added daily to the small Church at its beginning.

It was Pope John Paul II who oversaw much of the implementation of the Council, and the recommendations of its many the Documents: Constitutions, Decrees, Declarations and More Post-Conciliar Documents, who coined the term "New Evangelization" as the direction of the Church must travel. Although Pope John XXIII was the one who brought the Church into the spotlight of the modern media, Pope John Paul II solidified the Church's use of the media as part of its mission and the transmission of the Good News. With this, and being the most travelled pope in history, he succeeded in bringing the Church and the Gospel to the ends of the earth. Pope Benedict XVI followed much in the same suit, although not as extensively. Although much good was done and much was accomplished in these efforts, this might only have been groundwork, preparing the way for the papacy of Pope Francis.

From Day 1, he was able to capture the hearts and the minds of the people of the world through the deliberate use he made of the media, not only TV, but the Internet and things like Facebook and Twitter. Although implementation might be considered a thing of the past, Pope Francis has an approach that we can say is "where the rubber meets the road" or better, "where the Gospel meets the road" in search of the Lost Sheep. He shows us how to live the "aggiornamento" that was begun by Pope John XXIII. For example, last week at the annual Chrism Mass at which the Holy Oils are blessed, he told priests, "If you don't go out from yourself, the holy oil grows rancid and the anointing cannot be fruitful. Going out from ourselves presupposes self-denial; it means poverty." He challenges the members of the Church at every level in this way.

This book is a composite look at many of the addresses we have in print that contain such challenges. He speaks about the message and the revolutionary nature of the Gospel with its power to transform, that can produce genuine joy, hope, and true courage with which to face obstacles. He speaks about this Good News in the context of the original context of the Church's founder, who came to find the lost, who came to bring mercy to all--the Church that is open to all--and welcomes all, but still remains the Church of the Poor--a Church that must be "hands on" in the manner taught by the Lord that the "servant cannot be above the Master" (Jn 13:16) who came "to serve and not to be served" (Jn 13:1-17). It's hard to misinterpret what he is getting at when he says things like "be shepherds, with the 'odor of the sheep,' make it real...." In this, he is also talking about motivation. Why do we do what we do? Are we just hired hands looking for a profit or managers who "have already received their reward" (Lk 6:24), or have we understood that there are other obligations pressed on us by taking on the discipleship of Christ. This is a message not only for the believer but the non-believer as well--or all who are caught up "in the world."

I suppose you will have to read it and find how this all jumps out at you. But with the release of this book and the canonization of these two saints coming together on Divine Mercy Sunday, I have been able to see something beyond just the book. There are workings of the Holy Spirit that are evident through the decades and are now being manifested in a whole new way through Pope Francis. The teaching of the Church remains the same. The mission continues as it always has. But, where the rubber meets the road, there are fine distinctions, tinges and shades of difference on what it means to live out the Gospel in this new millennium. Theologian Karl Rahner once said, "The Christian of the future will be a mystic or he will not exist at all." If that was a truly prophetic statement, then now might be the time for its fulfillment. Pope Francis sees that the future of the Christian means facing an additional challenge, which maybe we can call a new "aggiornamento." As stated in the Preface, the pope's aim "is to let people understand that an authentic Christianity, faithful to the spirit of the Gospel, is not achievable if the people in Christian communities have a weary and half-asleep faith, without any thrill of excitement, a faith shut up within the walls of their hearts or church buildings. This is the danger that might materialise if the Church grows old and accustomed to caring only about itself rather than flinging open its doors and facing the challenges of the world. It doesn't matter if the Church sometimes fails on the way. This is why Francis keeps sending out warnings that heavy-handedness, intransigence, hypocrisy and other shortcomings need to be abolished because they undermine Christian credibility. He is determined to reform and renew the Church so that it becomes better equipped to pursue its goals, with all that that involves," or maybe, what it simply involves: Mercy!

Enjoy!
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pope Francis on Mercy, May 26, 2014
This review is from: The Church of Mercy (Paperback)
The Church of Mercy is the latest book with a compilation of talks given by Pope Francis. Each book (by many different publishers) have chosen to address a certain audience. For example, Ignatius Press recently released a book on sin and humility, and Our Sunday Visitor has released one on hope and another on love. Loyola Press has chosen to focus on the theme of mercy. Drawing on talks given in 2013, this book addresses topics such as the Gospel, the Poor, advice for Pastors, and Mary. Each talk is designed to draw people closer to Christ who is the giver of mercy.

The parts which spoke to me the most were Part Two: A Poor Church for the Poor and Part Seven: The Choice of the Last. In these chapters, we see the heart of Pope Francis' papacy so far, the marginalized of society. He says, "Each individual Christian and every community is called to be an instrument of God for the liberation and promotion of the poor, and for enabling them to be fully a part of society." He also says, "The Church must step outside of herself. To go where? To the outskirts of existence, whatever that may be, but she must step out." These are just a sample of the depth of wisdom and love that Pope Francis contains.

If you're looking for an idea of what Pope Francis had to say his first year as pope, this is a very good starting place. Though you could find these talks online (if you looked hard enough), they would not be so neatly assembled and categorized all in one place. Another perk for this book is that you don't have to read it in order. Pick a topic that is interesting to you or speaks to you and read that. Then, move on to the next topic that speaks to you. Then, after you get done with this book turn to a practical layperson's guide on mercy entitled Mercy in the City.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Winsome Wisdom, May 22, 2014
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This review is from: The Church of Mercy (Paperback)
It is no wonder that all who are exposed to Pope Francis are captivated by his embracing love and caring nature. These and other attributes are completely accessible in the teachings expressed in this slim volume on Francis' vision for the Church. His language truly touches the heart, mind, and soul. It resonates with the human hunger for spiritual nourishment and growth. Read it with marker in hand. You will wish to go back and remind yourself of what he has shared.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Must read, May 16, 2014
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This review is from: The Church of Mercy (Paperback)
What a gift to have this amazing kind and pastoral pope. This book is stellar. It is all the pope's words from various times. He is a compassionate teacher. A terrific book and great to give as a gift. I am giving it to my adult godchildren.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderfully written very inspirational, June 7, 2014
By 
Arthur G. Grant "grantar2" (Mission Viejo, CA United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Church of Mercy (Hardcover)
I have to say I am not Catholic, I am evangelical. I most closely identify with Calvary Chapel. I am also an ordained minister, but I do not lead a church. With that background up front, I found this book amazing, and easy read, it is inspirational, thoughtful, and a blessing regardless of denomination. If you have a relationship with Jesus Christ, as LORD and Savior, and you can put aside the man made clock of denomination you will enjoy this book. Do I agree with every statement, no, but I haven't read a commentary yet and I have read hundreds, that I can completely agree with. I think the book is a great window into the heart of a very special man. The book is inexpensive, inspirational, and enlightening. You will be forced to ask yourself if your doing all you can to spread the message of redemption and grace. I highly recommend this book.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars His words reached my soul!, May 16, 2014
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I really loved this book! Thank you Pope Francis! He is truly a humble man of God and his words reached my soul. If you want to get to know our new pope better, read this book. It's an easy read, not heavy or complicated. It contains some of his homilies and writings from 2013. One quote I'd like to share: "...with our faith we must create a 'culture of encounter,' a culture of friendship, a culture in which we find brothers and sisters, in which we can also speak with those who think differently, as well as those who hold other beliefs, who do not have the same faith. They all have something in common with us: they are images of God; they are children of God. [We must be] going out to meet everyone, without losing sight of our own position." There are many pearls of wisdom in this book. It has challenged me to do good things with my life. It's definitely directed my focus. I definitely recommend this book. Every Catholic, active or not, should read it!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Church of Mercy review, May 24, 2014
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"The Church of Mercy" by Pope Francis only confirms my opinion that he may be most evangelical Pope in the past century. He is a humble and therefore powerful servant of our Lord & Savior Jesus.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The church of mercy has had a major impact on ..., August 2, 2014
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The church of mercy has had a major impact on my life..pope Francis is inspired and I'm sure we will see major changes in the church. I was a” fallen away Catholic” but have returned, a prodigal son.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding book!, May 24, 2014
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This review is from: The Church of Mercy (Hardcover)
Bought it as a gift for my wife and she loved it and found it very uplifting and inspirational. Thank you so much!
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The Church of Mercy
The Church of Mercy by Pope Francis (Paperback - April 25, 2014)
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