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Cover book detail. Source: Libreria editrice Vaticana
Cover book detail. Source: Libreria editrice Vaticana

'A Protestant in the Pope's Newspaper': The book about the last six years of Francis' pontificate

Argentina's Marcelo Figueroa, Pope Francis' first Protestant priest, wants to emphasize that ecumenism is more alive than ever.

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Last Monday, March 14, the book Diversities Reconciled. A Protestant in Pope Francis' Newspaper (Libreria Editrice Vaticana), written by Argentina's Marcelo Figueroa, the first Protestant priest of Francis' pontificate, was presented in Rome. 

The book chronologically collects the articles, contributions and interviews the presbyter of the Argentine Presbyterian Church, a personal friend of Pope Francis for more than 20 years and senior editor of the newspaper Osservatore Romano since 2016.

"The book is the case of me as a presbyter of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church working in the newspaper of the Holy See. That in itself is something historic, unpublished and a gift from God for me," Marcelo Figueroa said in an interview with COPE, a Spanish Catholic radio station. 

Published in Italian under the title Le Diversità Riconciliate: Un protestante nel giornale del Papa, the book is scheduled to be published in English and other languages in the near future. The book shows how reconciled differences between Christians become an eloquent sign of prophecy and witness in a world torn apart by discord and tension.

"My work within the newspaper and my vision within the Church is to work the ecumenical and inter-religious aspect and we all know that it is one of the most important and trunk lines of Francis' pontificate," added Figueroa, married to Emilse, a lawyer and daughter of a Baptist pastor, with whom he has two children.

Figueroa became a committed member of the Evangelical Church in Argentina at the age of 25. After graduating with a degree in economics from the University of Buenos Aires, he began working with the United Bible Society, first as an accountant and then as national director. He was convinced that it was important to have an ecumenical relationship with the Catholic Church and believed that this could develop around the Bible. When Jorge Mario Bergoglio became Archbishop of Buenos Aires in 1998, Figueroa proposed that he "work together" on Bible-related initiatives.  

The last six years working for Pope Francis, he stresses that they have also involved "a personal pilgrimage, trying to understand, codify and deepen the changes, the evolution and the different looks that the Pope has had in the term of ecumenism."

The Argentine writer is clear that ecumenism is more current than ever: "The meeting for the 500 years of the Reformation at the World Council of Churches, the Pope's meeting with Patriarch Kirill in Havana, the two encyclicals that begin with a quote to Patriarch Bartholomew and the Great Imam, Ahmad Al-Tayeb, everything has an ecumenical core."

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