Let Us Dream – Review
Let Us Dream: The Path To A Better Future, by Pope Francis, December 2020. Simon and Schuster, ISBN: 978-1398502208, 160 pages. RRP £10.99 (hardback)
This is a book which I never imagined a pope would write, one which links personal experience with the signs of the times and Catholic Social Teaching (a body of principles which now fully includes care of the earth). His honesty in describing three periods of crisis in his life is both moving and humbling. One of these was his removal from his role as head of the Jesuit order in Argentina which led him into almost two years of self-isolation, prayer, reflection and study. This book is full of wisdom and surprises.
Its three sections follow the See, Judge, Act structure developed in Latin America during the time of Liberation theology; a methodology used to interweave the way of Jesus in the Gospels with the reality of poverty and oppression experienced by the vast majority of the continent’s mainly Catholic population. Liberation became recognised as not only spiritual but for the whole person, the community, the nation and beyond.
Throughout the book Francis brings an approach which I rarely find in Catholic clerics in the materially rich countries, an openly expressed belief in the ongoing presence of the Holy Spirit. He writes with an authenticity which indicates his familiarity of closeness to the Spirit. Speaking about discernment he says: “most of all we need prayer, to hear the prompts of the Spirit and cultivate dialogue in a community that can hold us and allow us to dream.” He continues his outspoken critique of the neo-liberal global economy and the damage it does to the “Common Good” of people and to the Earth: “The obsession with profit weakens the institutions that can protect a people from reckless economic interests and the excessive concentration of power.”
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