“The novel, literature, you see, reads the human heart. It helps us embrace desire, splendor and misery. It is not theory. It is helpful for preaching to know the heart…” That is what Francis told me when I interviewed him in 2016, near the end of our meeting. Ten years after his election to the papacy (March 13, 2013), we want to go in search of the formation of his thinking and pastoral attitude. We are doing so by retracing his readings. It will be a way to understand Jorge Mario Bergoglio’s pontificate from a different perspective.
Pope Francis has always been passionate about literature. Novels and poetry accompanied him in his formation. In a 2009 interview, he said that literature, from a young age, me gustaba mucho. In fact, his memories as a reader go back to childhood, when his father read books aloud after dinner. There was no television.
In this article I would like to reconstruct the path of his reading along with the literary references scattered throughout his texts and interviews. I will try to give some pointers to build a map, a path among the texts that have shaped his way of thinking.