Movie Review: 'Pope Francis: A Man of His Word'

John Thomas

Giovanni di Pietro di Bernardone (informally known as Francis) was born into the privileged life of 12th century Assisi, Italy. His family was wealthy, Francis dressed well, traveled, and even joined the military. Along the way things changed – something didn’t feel right about his life. He began to believe that it was better to live among and serve the poor than to live above them. In July of 1228 he was canonized a saint.

If you take Catholic out of the equation, Pope Francis: A Man of His Word, is a documentary about a caring, loving, compassionate man whose sole goal in life is to bring peace to mankind. His beliefs are not solely directed to those of the Catholic faith, nor to any other organized religion, but to everyone living on planet earth.

Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina chose his Papal name of Pope Francis very well as he and St. Francis of Assisi share the same values. St. Francis is the patron saint of animals, merchants and ecology.

Religions often rely on mystery and the magic of the unknown to spread their messages and hold their followers – sometimes creating complex paths for believers to follow. As seen in the film, Pope Francis does not do that. His messages are simple and offer rewarding results in this life. Ideas from the Bible are mentioned as casually as if he were reading from a Boy Scout handbook. Do this and that and the result will be...

The love, caring and harmony in the family unit he teaches, is a most important thing to remember – family on both the small intimate scale and the global stage. Compassion for one another is primary to the leading of a happy, rewarding life.

He cautions against attempting to serve two masters – serve God or serve money, to serve both is impossible. Man must choose between the two. “Tenderness is not a weakness,” he proclaims. “Work is the most noble thing man has,” he continues.

Differences and challenges are not negative, but facing and dealing with them helps us to grow and be better human beings.

When questioned about alternate lifestyles, he replies: “God made us all.” His many messages are clear, and his simple presentation makes them compelling, beneficial, convincing and easy to practice. Just like reading from a scout handbook, the results are always positive not punitive. Of course you could contract poison ivy if you touched the wrong plant.

The two most important things in life [uh-oh, here comes the hell-fire sermon, I thought] are a smile and a sense of humor. These words are spoken by the Pope who has a sparkling glint in his eyes and a smile on his face. Those are two things nearly everyone can do, the cost is nothing but the rewards can be glorious.

Directed by Wim Wenders with credits of Buena Vista Social Club and Salt of the Earth, Pope Francis is a “must see” production of 96 minutes.


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