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Like Pope Francis? Wait Until You Meet His Predecessors


Jeffrey Bruno

Zelda Caldwell - published on 10/14/15

Cardinal Timothy Dolan’s book on the three most recent popes has just been released as a free download

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For anyone’s whose interest was piqued by Pope Francis’ visit to the United States, there’s a new, free resource available to learn more about the Holy Father and his two predecessors.

Our Sunday Visitor has just made Soul Mind and Heart, by New York’s Cardinal Timothy Dolan available as a free download. In this short book, Dolan explores the lives and thought of Popes, John Paul II, Benedict and Francis.

Dolan writes:

At the risk of an oversimplification, an easy way to think about these last three popes is this: the Soul, the Mind, and the Heart. The Church is meant to be the soul of the world, to put on the mind of Christ, and to reveal the heart of Jesus. I propose that we look at Pope John Paul II as emphasizing the soul of the Church, Pope Benedict XVI as highlighting the mind of the Church, and Pope Francis as giving priority to the heart of the Church.

Here are a few excerpts from this tribute and introduction to the three popes, much of which was based on personal reminiscences:

On Pope John Paul II:

It was Saint John Paul II’s mission to recover the priority of the spiritual. He, himself, had an extraordinarily vibrant life of the soul. In fact, many people — myself included — believe he was a mystic. You know what a mystic is? A mystic is one who periodically enjoys hereon earth the union with God that most of us can only hope for in heaven.”

On Pope Benedict XVI:

He reminded us of the ancient principle that reason and faith are friends, fighting against the misguided idea, unfortunately so common today, that faith and reason are in conflict. Far from it! They’re allies.

On Pope Francis:

About this time [after Pope Francis’ election], the Sistine Chapel doors had opened and all the attendants started coming in. Having been cooped up during the conclave, we had all sorts of questions. “Did the smoke work?” “What are the crowds like?” When someone asked what the weather was like, one of the Swiss Guards said it was raining, and at this the pope perked up immediately. He’d only greeted a few of us, but said: “My brothers, I hear it’s raining Soul, Mind, and Heart 31 outside. I’m going to be with you for supper, and we can talk then, but I don’t want to keep the people waiting. I should go out and greet them.” It was again spontaneous, simple, and sincere. It also reaffirmed what we cardinals had known: this was a man with an innate sensitivity.

Pope Benedict XVIPope FrancisPope John Paul II
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