Pope Francis’ autobiography: His Life in His own Words

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Pope Francis’ autobiography: His Life in His own Words



As we​​ all​​ continue​​ the​​ struggle to understand what this Pope is saying and why, it is useful to visit his writings which pre-date his papacy.


In 2010,​​ three years before​​ he was elected Pope,​​ Cardinal​​ Jorge​​ Bergoglio (now Pope Francis)​​ published a short-form of his autobiography, in the format of an interview with two Argentinian journalists, Sergio Rubin and Francesca Ambrogetti. ​​ The book was re-issued in 2013 after Cardinal Bergoglio was elected Pope, under the title, “Pope Francis: His Life in His Own Words”.1



I encourage you to​​ read the book. ​​ Amazon web link​​ is​​ below, if you are interested.1


The book is chock-a-block with revelations into this man’s psyche, beliefs,​​ moral norms,​​ and objectives. ​​ Remember, this book was published three years before he was elected Pope.


Here are a few verbatim excerpts.​​ They are​​ not only​​ revelatory, they are foreshadowings of the​​ Bergoglian Papal teachings now on the record (e.g. Amoris Laetitia Chapter 8). ​​​​ It will become obvious as you move through this book that this Pope’s novel teachings distantly pre-date his papacy. ​​ They did not suddenly strike him on the night of his 2013 election. ​​​​ He was who he is for many decades prior to being elected Pope.







As a young man, Jorge Bergoglio worked in a chemistry laboratory. ​​ In his words, “I had an extraordinary boss there, Esther Balestrino de Careaga, a Paraguayan woman and communist sympathizer… I loved her very much… Truly, I owe a huge amount to that great woman.” ​​ Page 14-15


As Jorge Bergoglio moved into young adulthood, he continued to be captivated by Communist thought. ​​ “I read​​ Our Word and Proposals, a publication by the Communist Party, and I loved every article ever written by Leonidas Barletta, one of their best-known members.”  ​​ ​​ ​​​​ Page 39



The Source of man’s dignity​​ is work,​​ not the Imago Dei


Work anoints a person with dignity. ​​ Dignity is not conferred by one’s ancestry, family life, or education. ​​ Dignity as such comes solely from work.”  ​​​​ Page 15




Competition in the workplace enslaves you​​ and causes suicide


When work does not yield to healthy pleasure, then it enslaves you because you are not working for dignity but to compete.” ​​ Page 20


One of the principal causes of suicide is failure at work in the face of fierce competition. ​​​​ Page 22




The purpose of human life is personal fulfillment and happiness


Our life’s vocation is fulfillment and happiness, and pain is a limitation in that search.” ​​ Page 24


(Chip comment: ​​ The truth is the opposite. ​​ Our life’s vocation is not personal happiness, but learning how to love and be loved, which is the willing sacrifice of self, frequently at great cost, for the welfare of others, and pain is a part of that process.)





Morality is situational. ​​ Good and evil are determined by personal conscience interpreting​​ different​​ situations


Answers (to moral questions) have to be thought our according to the different situations.”  ​​​​ Page 48


Question from interviewer: “So where should we go to find (moral) certainty?

Cardinal Bergoglio’s answer: “The starting point has to be the great existential truths… There are also cultural certitudes and social certitudes.” ​​ ​​​​ Page 56-57


It is essential to change with the times.” ​​ Page 60


If you try to educate using only theoretical principles​​ without remembering that the most important thing is the person in front of you, then you fall into a kind of fundamentalism.” ​​​​  ​​ ​​​​ Page 62-63 ​​ ​​​​ 

(Chip comment: ​​ by “theoretical principles, he means moral norms, like the Ten Commandments.)

(Chip comment: ​​ the person is more important than God’s moral norms?)


What matures is ‘time’.”  ​​​​ We should “allow time to rule and shape our lives.” ​​ Page 72


We should not go looking for the negative, what separates us,​​ (because)​​ Christ accepted everything.”  ​​​​ Page 88​​ ​​ 

(Chip comment: ​​ Christ​​ accepted everything?) ​​​​ 


We must not let ideology trump morality.”  ​​​​ Page 89 ​​ 

(Chip comment: ​​ by “ideology”, he means moral norms.)



Catholic structures and the Latin Mass


We (clergy) need to go to the people who want us but won’t come to outdated institutions and customs that don’t respond to their expectations.”  ​​​​ Page 85




The nature of God


The kerygma summarizes the core Christian tenets​​ (among which is the belief)​​ that God is in Jesus.”  ​​​​ Page 103 ​​​​ 

(Chip comment: ​​ God is not “in​​ Jesus”. ​​ Rather,​​ Jesus​​ is​​ God. ​​ A vast gulf separates these two statements.)




The nature of sin


The only glory we have, as St Paul says, is that of being sinners.”  ​​​​ 

Page 120  ​​​​ 

(Chip comment: ​​ I am unaware of anything in Scripture which says that man’s glory is found in being sinful.)


For me, sin is not a stain I need to clean (rather) sin is the privileged place of personally finding Jesus Christ.” ​​ ​​​​ Page 122



1Pope Francis: ​​ His Life in His Own Words






“We must love them both, those whose opinions we share and those whose opinions we reject, for both have labored in the search for truth, and both have helped us in the finding of it.”  ​​ ​​​​ ​​ - Aquinas,​​ Commentary on Aristotle



"Who is going to save our Church? Not our bishops, not our priests and religious. It's up to YOU, the people. You have the minds, the eyes, the ears to save the Church. Your mission is to see that your priests act like priests, your bishops act like bishops, and your religious act like religious."  — Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen, speaking to the Knights of Columbus, June 1972.


"In accord with the knowledge, competence, and preeminence which they possess,​​ [lay people] have the right and even at times a duty to manifest to the sacred pastors their opinion on matters which pertain to the good of the Church, and they have a right to make their opinion known to the other Christian faithful, with due regard to the integrity of faith and morals and reverence toward their pastors, and with consideration for the common good and the dignity of persons."                   - Catholic Catechism #907 and Code of Canon Law, Can. 212 #3


“If the faith is endangered, a subject ought to rebuke his prelate even publicly.”  ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​​​ -Aquinas, Summa Theologiae: Fraternal Correction (Secunda Secundae Partis, Q. 33)


“But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, he is, by that preaching, condemned.”  ​​ ​​ ​​​​ St. Paul, ​​ Galatians 1:8








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