Biographer says Pope Francis will bring reform and renewal to Church

2013-03-22 Vatican Radio

(Vatican Radio) With the election of Pope Francis, journalists everywhere are trying to discover more about the man who has become the new head of the Catholic Church. Dr Matthew Bunson is a Catholic journalist and author who is writing a biography about the new Pope and has been carrying out extensive research on his life. He spoke to Vatican Radio’s Susy Hodges about his findings.

Listen to the extended interview with author and journalist Dr Matthew Bunson who is a correspondent for the U.S. Catholic weekly, Our Sunday Visitor:

Asked about some of the most striking features about the new Pope, Bunson says the first two words “that spring to mind” are “authenticity and mercy.” He’s also a man, adds Bunson, who has “established a real connection with people all over the world” since he became Pope. Among his many qualities, Bunson points to Pope Francis’ capacity for deep pastoral leadership and “his thirst for holiness.”

Given that prior to his election to the papacy, the former Cardinal Bergoglio spent nearly all his life in his native Argentina, Bunson speaks at length about how he was perceived there. He says that Cardinal Bergoglio served “as the conscience of the nation” and was a “very powerful and prophetic voice and an immensely popular one.” Bunson says the Argentine Cardinal “proved very much a bridge-builder” among the different social classes in his homeland and in that sense “became the moral voice for the nation.”

Asked what will be the main message for readers in his forthcoming biography about the Pope, Bunson says: “the chief message is that we have in Pope Francis somebody who will bring reform but who perceives as well that reform must always be tied to spiritual renewal” and therefore “he stands in the rich tradition of the Church of reform and renewal.”