The Tablet’s Vatican correspondent assesses the pontificate of Pope Francis
The Outsider: Pope Francis and His Battle to Reform the Church
(ORBIS BOOKS, 200 PP, £19.99)
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It’s very clear, within a few sentences of this lively book, that Christopher Lamb is a Franciscophile. And he makes it equally clear that what he’s writing is not a biography but an attempt to understand this extraordinary pontificate that began on the papal balcony on the evening of 13 March 2013 with an old man saying “Buona sera”.
Christopher Lamb has observed this man close-up, at home and abroad, since he became The Tablet’s permanently accredited Vatican correspondent in 2015. He’s watched Francis’ human touch and his political savvy; he’s seen him in good times and bad; he’s spoken to his friends and enemies; he’s witnessed the plots against him and the near adulation he can get from parts of the Catholic world often forgotten by the Vatican powerhouse; and, above all, he notes Francis’ impatience with the conservative mantra, so often used to oppose reform: “It has always been done like this.”