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Pope Francis to be subject of new book (already)

It seems like the smoke had barely cleared from the Sistine Chapel before news came that a book about the new pope is on the way. The as-yet-untitled book about Pope Francis is to be published by Image Books, a Catholic-focused imprint at Random House.

"This is an exciting time not only for the Church but for the world," Gary Jansen, Image Books' editor, said in a release. “The election of the world's first Latin American pope, a man of Italian heritage, means a bridging of the Northern and Southern hemispheres in a way we've never seen and signifies a new global vision for the 1.2 billion people who call themselves Catholic."

A 76-year-old Italian-born Jesuit, Francis was, before Wednesday, Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Buenos Aires. There, he was known for living a frugal life -- taking the bus and preparing his own meals -- in contrast with others of his station.

Yet that humility did not lead him to support the liberation theology popular with his Latin American colleagues in the 1960s and '70s. Some have called into question his actions -- or lack thereof -- when dissidents were kidnapped and murdered during Argentina's "dirty war."

Like the pope who preceded him, Francis is known to be committed to conservative, traditional doctrine. The Times' Tracy Wilkinson reports, "He was a staunch opponent of abortion and same-sex marriage, issues that an increasingly secular Argentina has embraced. He once said allowing gay couples to adopt constituted discrimination of the children."

The possible downsides of Francis' tenure as pope don't seem to have much of a place in the upcoming book. The publisher plans for it to "give readers an insight into the spiritual vision of the new pontiff with a look at his most inspirational teachings on God, Jesus, marriage and family, life, prayer, religious freedom, and more."

Dr. Robert Moynihan, founder and editor of the magazine Inside the Vatican, is writing the book, which is scheduled to be released on April 30.

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Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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