When I began writing my book, Jorge Mario Bergoglio: una biografia intellettuale, one thing was already clear to me. Pope Francis’ thinking is both original and profound, and it drives and colours all his speeches and documents – but it does so in such a way as to remain mostly hidden from view. It is a kind of underground torrent that seldom breaks through to the surface.
Biographies and profiles tend to characterise Pope Francis as a charismatic man of vibrant faith: an eloquent preacher, forceful leader and maestro of the dramatic gesture, but someone not inclined to extended intellectual reflection. They have given legitimacy, often unwittingly, to the image common among his critics: someone who, whatever his virtues, lacks the cultural, theological and philosophical hinterland of his recent predecessors.