The Pope in dialogue with former homeless people

From the poor to the pope, from the pope to the world,

of Pope Francis

Threshold, 120 p., €13.50

It is a text from the pope of a somewhat particular kind, the fruit of a singular dialogue between François and members of the Lazare association, which has been developing since 2010 shared accommodation between young working people and former homeless people. And it is precisely to these latter that the Bishop of Rome agreed to answer, and whose sometimes disarmingly simple questions reveal a little-known facet of Pope Francis.

The pope discusses some points of his personal life, describing himself as “any man”sometimes ” Milk soup “ Where “impatient”and even “poor guy” who gets up at 4 a.m., not without difficulty (“The first half hour is a real zombie! »said the pope speaking of him), before praying and then working. ” I’m a day dreamer “also says François, using a word he has often used in recent months in his speeches. “I sometimes make decisions in haste, in a feeling of self-sufficiency”he also says.

If Francis does not reveal any really new information, it is the tone used by the pope that makes this book endearing. Returning for example to the first hours of his pontificate, he remembers having been “secretly” moved, and not really understanding, nine years later, why he was elected. “I didn’t campaign, I didn’t pay anyone, I don’t have great academic titles, I’m old. In short: a real donkey! »

But above all, during these several hours of interview conducted in 2020 and 2021 by “eight poor people”, here condensed into a hundred pages, the pope reveals himself as a man worried by “this world saturated with injustice, arrogance, dictatorships, where the particular dictatorship of exclusion and segregation is everywhere widespread”. “The great social sin of the world is the maldistribution of wealth”he says again.

But in these pages, he is also the one who advises those who have gone through the ” gallley “as the members of Lazare themselves say at the very beginning of the book. “I know that discouragement always threatens, but we can help, reach out to this poor man, ask him to take a step and accompany him until he has done so. It’s our duty “, says the pope. Like a grandfather consoling those who confide in him.


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