New book by Jesuit @antoniospadaro about Francis

Those of us who watch closely what is going on in the Church need to pay attention to happenings local and Roman and papal.  When it comes to papal, we also have to watch the dicta et facta of those who surround the person of the Roman Pontiff.   The close the intimate collaborator, the closer we watch.  These are the people who not only execute and report on what Popes do, they help Popes determine their policies and emphases.

Hence, when one of Francis’ closest collaborators puts out a book, we at least take notice.   Mind you, I am not saying we should read it.  But we should take notice of it.

Jesuit Fr. Antonio “2+2=5” Spadaro, SJ, whose great interest in Pier Vittorio Tondelli is now more widely known, clearly one of Francis’ most important and intimate sherpas, has a book coming out with Bloomsbury.

In the spirit of openness Spadaro blocks me on Twitter.

Here is the cover of the book, and the blurb with my emphases and comments.

The blurb:

About Open to God: Open to the World
Pope Francis’s impact on the modern world has already proved extraordinary. It is no surprise that he was voted Time magazine’s Person of the Year (in 2013), joining the likes of Martin Luther King (1964) and President John F. Kennedy (1961). [What a curious thing to include.  Weren’t MLK and JFK both adulterers?  One might counter that Hitler (1938) and Stalin (1939) were included.  Of course TIME didn’t choose only the “good guys”, but – to be fair – significant figures.  But, since these folks think that history and the Church began in the 1960’s, Time also had Richard Nixon (’71 &’72), Deng Xiaoping (’78 & ’85), Khomeini (’79), and… significantly in 2002 – WHISTLEBLOWERS! and in 2017 SILENCEBREAKERS] Francis has turned the Catholic Church upside-down, flung open the windows of the Vatican and started to purge the church of corruption, nepotism and financial skulduggery. But above all he is engaged with the poor, the starving and the marginalised. He has made important visits to troubled spots in the world and invariably people say his appearances change everything.  [History is still to be written.  But the best part is to come…]

Pope Francis is in constant dialogue with the outside world and with the universal Catholic Church. He likes being asked questions, finding it easy to respond, and maintains a good relationship with the press. In this new book are some of his most valuable engagements in dialogue form with people of all sorts and kinds. On the one hand, there is his recent engagement with priests in Colombia who are locked in a struggle for human rights. In another lengthy piece, he talks about the importance of scripture, in a way which shows how this is a living source of inspiration. Also included are the texts of the Pope’s most recent addresses in Myanmar, Peru and Chile.

Open to God: Open to the World offers a fascinating glimpse into the mind and workings of this entirely different Pope. As we see in these conversations the Franciscan revolution is under way and, in spite of Francis’s critics, the revolution will roll on and new horizons will be opened for the one and a half billion Catholics in the world today.

“He likes being asked questions, finding it easy to respond…”.

I think we might be permitted a dubitation about that, at least when it comes to certain issues.


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Anneliese says:

    What a silly man. Here is something considerably more enlightening:

    I think we need another Mother Pascalina in the Vatican.

  2. Chris Garton-Zavesky says:

    What does it tell us, when the Pope’s most influential advisor uses as his selling point precisely what his critics have highlighted about him: he is turning the Catholic Church upside down.

  3. Akita says:

    I expect this ridiculous book to hit the bargain bins pronto like Wicked Witch Clinton’s “What Happened”.

  4. Dan says:

    I have remarked before how there is a rush to canonize every post VII pope, and it seems at though some are prematurely writing Francis cause already with books like this, and this headline caught my eye the other day.

    “…By their fruits ye shall know them.”

  5. robtbrown says:

    Perhaps the title should be: Open to the God of Hegel

  6. The goofiest thing about this is the implicit suggestion that flinging the doors of the Vatican open to the world is the means whereby one purges the Church of corruption, nepotism and financial skullduggery. As if the world is the real home of pristine purity, disinterestedness and honesty. As if the idea even originated with the world that these are virtues, and their opposites are morally wrong! If there is one thing we should have learned from the last couple of centuries, it’s that it’s not the Church that needs to get with the times, but the times that need to get with the Church.

  7. LeeGilbert says:

    Do you suppose there is the least chance that this book went to press without a close reading and suggested improvements by its subject?

  8. The Astronomer says:

    “He likes being asked questions, finding it easy to respond…”

    Except if it involves decades of secretive episcopal sodomy networks (all the way up to the Vatican) and the covering up therein…

  9. benedetta says:

    His fawning fealty to Francis lies in one issue and one issue only. Absent that, he’d be absent here.

  10. ChrisP says:

    The blurb reads like a work of fiction in the spirit of Tondelli. If sin makes you stupid, the audience could be lobotomised after reading this.

  11. Q7 says:

    “He likes being asked questions, finding it easy to respond…”

    Unless you’re Cardinals Burke, Brandmuller, Caffarra, Meisner doing the asking and the simple and highly public questions are otherwise known as ‘the dubia’

  12. tzard says:

    What is that a picture of on the cover of the book. Towel art? I still can’t make it out.

  13. ThePapalCount says:

    It’s sad to think that some trees had to be sacrificed to make this book possible.

  14. FrAnt says:

    I find the title troublesome. “Open to God. Open to the World.” Does that mean that the world at times knows better than God?

  15. jazzclass says:

    It would be interesting to see you and Fr. Spadaro in a debate concerning all of these issue facing the Church. So often people like Spadaro like to close themselves up in their Twitter accounts, blocking any dissenters from their own liberal doctrines. How great it would be to see discourse in a time of disorder.

    Lord, send us another Catherine of Sienna.

  16. jazzclass says: you and Fr. Spadaro in a debate

    I would rather see a new Catholic of Siena with 2+2.

  17. e.e. says:


    “What is that a picture of on the cover of the book. Towel art? I still can’t make it out.”

    If one zooms in, it appears to be a picture of the pope from above. I wonder why they selected that angle for the cover art.

  18. Late for heaven says:

    The image is of Pope Francis taken from above, bird’s eye view. I have no idea what that is supposed to mean.

  19. Akita says:

    I hope the cover art means the reader will fancy himself a pigeon having just engorged himself on
    breadcrumbs left by Vatican tourists (splat!).

  20. Atra Dicenda, Rubra Agenda says:

    “He likes being asked questions, finding it easy to respond,…”

    Hahahhahahhhahahhhahha. That’s a great one.

  21. Benedict Joseph says:

    No one reads Time magazine.
    Does he not realize that?
    These men are seriously out to lunch. It is as if they are in a drug haze. No one cares about them. Those that might be termed their “base” have turned from them. That means they are without an audience. Given that they are media staples, those who spot their coverage flip past quickly or mock.
    They are clueless. The show is over.

  22. tho says:

    He should have titled the book “my struggle”. Or better yet, how a Peronist changed 2000 years of settled teaching.
    I remember reading about St. Thomas of Aquinas. at the University of Paris, where questions concerning the church and it’s teaching, could be brought before true scholars, and the subject was debated thoroughly. Now to pose a question about Pope Francis, and his pronouncements is akin to bringing fire and brimstone down upon your head. I would love to see true scholars debate his edicts about divorce, remarriage and capital punishment. Of course in todays world, the only people allowed to speak before a crowd of university students, must be an impeccable leftist gender bender, who believes, that belief in a Supernatural Being, can be cured by four years of intensive brainwashing.

  23. Malta says:

    “Francis has turned the Catholic Church upside-down, flung open the windows of the Vatican…” Yeah, let more of that smoke of satan enter the Church..

  24. Chris Garton-Zavesky says:

    Likes to answer questions…. like Dubia which even a First Communion student should be able to answer?

  25. Midwest St. Michael says:

    Late for heaven says:

    “The image is of Pope Francis taken from above, bird’s eye view. I have no idea what that is supposed to mean.”

    Um, well… for a *bird* maybe it’s a bird’s eye bulls-eye? ;^) [you know, white cassock and all…]

    Just kidding now – just kidding!

  26. clare joseph says:

    Many thanks to Anneliese for posting the link to Paul Kengor’s article (dated today, Sept 5) in Crisis magazine. I read the whole article, which is VERY much worth reading, and followed the link in that article to an earlier article of his on the unpublished anti-communist documents of Vatican II, and read that one also. I had not known of Paul Kengor before. He’s a valuable discovery.

  27. OldProfK says:

    The words of this wizard stand on their heads.

  28. maternalView says:

    @clare joseph
    I recommend Dr. Kengor’s latest book titled A Pope and A President. Interesting story about JPII’s and Reagan’s intertwining history and collaboration to free Poland and the influence of Fatima on it all.

  29. Dismas says:

    I simply cannot see myself bored enough to crack this book open, even for research purposes.

  30. JohnNYC says:

    “What a curious thing to include. Weren’t MLK and JFK both adulterers?”

    Reverende Pater,
    When you or any of your readers have a moment, please give the link to the documented proof that MLK cheated on his wife. I have been unsuccessful in finding any online documentation of verifiable evidence. Gratias tibi tuisque lectoribus ago.

  31. JustaSinner says:

    After this guy gets done reading an excerpt from his book, three Cardinals burst in screaming, “No one expects the Spanish Inquisition!”

  32. Kerry says:

    The book is fiction, yes? Or perhaps, “Based on real events!”

  33. scotus says:

    “Francis has …. started to purge the church of corruption, nepotism and financial skulduggery.”
    In their place he has put slyness, cronyism and the promotion and protection of homosexualists and heretics.

    “his appearances change everything.” Now, let’s see, where has Francis been?
    Ireland. Yep, since his visit the pro-gay, heterodox priests have been put in their place and hardly anybody in Ireland now misses Mass on Sundays. Not to mention the Irish Prime Minister falling on his knees and begging forgiveness for introducing abortion and redefining marriage. Everything changed.
    Israel/Palestine. Yep, since Francis’s visit Netanyahu has publicly asked the Palestinians for forgiveness over the way Israel has treated them and agreed that they shall have their own state. Everything changed.
    France. Yep, you just could not fail to notice how French churches are now bulging at the seams with Mass-goers. Everything changes.
    Philippines. Yep, Poverty is no more. All gone. And the President says he will now do as the Church wishes. Everything changed.Kenya. According to Wikipedia, Francis ‘answered some of the youth’s testimonies regarding issues faced by the Kenyan youth, including corruption, issues on tribalism, religious fanaticism, and radicalization.’ Thankfully these issues are all resolved. There is no more tribalism, religious fanaticism or radicalisation in Kenya. Everything changes.
    And so, thank you Fr Spadaro for highlighting how ‘everything’ changes wherever the Pope goes.

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  35. comedyeye says:

    I haven’t read a good fiction book in quite awhile.

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