Thursday, September 19, 2013

On Heaven and Earth

On Heaven and Earth: Pope Francis on Faith, Family, and the Church in the Twenty-First Century by Jorge Mario Bergoglio and Abraham Skorka, April 19, 2013. 256 pages. Published by Image. Source: This book was received from Waterbrook Multnomah Publishers for an honest review.
From the man who became Pope Francis, Jorge Mario Bergoglio shares his thoughts on religion, reason, and the challenges the world faces in the 21st century with Abraham Skorka, a rabbi and biophysicist.

For years Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, archbishop of Argentina, and Rabbi Abraham Skorka were tenacious promoters of interreligious dialogues on faith and reason. They both sought to build bridges among Catholicism, Judaism, and the world at large. On Heaven and Earth, originally published in Argentina in 2010, brings together a series of these conversations where both men talked about various theological and worldly issues, including God, fundamentalism, atheism, abortion, homosexuality, euthanasia, same-sex marriage, and globalization. From these personal and accessible talks comes a first-hand view of the man who would become pope to 1.2 billion Catholics around the world in March 2013.

Even though I tend to focus more on fiction here at The Haunting of Orchid Forsythia, I enjoy reading books centered around my faith as a Roman Catholic. So, when I was given the opportunity to read and review On Heaven and Earth by Jorge Mario Bergoglio, now known as Pope Francis, and Abraham Skorka I could not pass up the chance.

One of the things that makes On Heaven and Earth such a phenomenal read is that one is able to see the dialogue of two very intelligent men of faith as they discuss things ranging from God, guilt, fundamentalism, the Holocaust, and communism and capitalism and to where they stand on such monumental subjects.  While all of these subjects are interesting, what really sets this book apart is that you can see the immense respect that they have for each other’s faith and thoughts. It is not often that one can read a book like this and feel like you have walked away with a better knowledge of two people you may never actually meet.

For myself, I enjoyed reading this one for two reasons. The first being that I was curious to read to see what the new Pope had to say on certain topics, and why he personally believes in what he does. I really enjoyed seeing how he shared his point of view on everything while still civil and firm in his beliefs. The second reason I enjoyed it, well, that would have to be for the readability of it. While the title may lead one to think that this is a dry book, it is anything but that.

If there were just two chapters that women/girls should read in On Heaven and Earth, I would tell them to read “On Women” and “On Abortion” because…I cannot put into words why those two chapters should be read by females other than to say that it well make you think.

Why do I think everyone should read On Heaven and Earth, well, that would be because I think those of other faiths, and even those who call themselves agnostics or atheists, well find that they-if they approach the book with an open mind-a better understanding as to why those of the Catholic, Jewish, and Christian faiths believe the way we do.
   As this is a book of discussions between Jorge Mario Bergoglio and Abraham Skorka, I think is more people were to read it, it could open up some much need dialogue between those who believe and those who don’t and maybe, just maybe, we can begin a more productive dialogue that will bring about change in, not only, our country but the world.

On Heaven and Earth earns 5 out of 5 pineapples.

This book was received from Blogging for Books for an honest review.

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