"Donna Schaper finds in Pope Francis a model for an engaged, inclusive spirituality that offers a fierce critique of corrupt political and economic institutions that cheapen individual life globally and pose a serious threat to the planet. In these seven letters she beautifully voices an impassioned plea for love—at once both a radical return to the teachings of Jesus and a new imagining of how the church might step into a lively, prophetic leadership voice for twenty-first century life."
Everyone is paying attention to Pope Francis, and that includes the most unlikely of admirers: a female United Church of Christ and Baptist pastor. Veteran minister and social justice advocate Donna Schaper has become a fan of the pope, covering him for Religion Dispatches, traveling to see him speak, and taking up many of his issues. Schaper says that Francis is a pope for all of us, and she has written him a series of letters—love letters, of a sort. She agrees with him on the environment, climate change, love of animals, and concern for the poor. But she has a lovers’ quarrel with him on the issues of women’s ordination and LGBT rights.
Schaper’s letters to Pope Francis are intimate and ornery, affirming and challenging. She has high hopes that he can heal the church and the globe, and she prods him to be even more inclusive than he already is. In the end, in spite of their disagreements, Pastor Donna loves Pope Francis, and she calls us all to join him in loving the world.
See the letter Donna Schaper received from Archbishop Christophe Pierre, the Pope's ambassador to the United States, with a message from Pope Francis!
- Publisher Fortress Press
- ISBN 9781506408613
- Format Paperback
- Dimensions 5 x 7
- Pages 180
- Season/Occasion Christmas
- Publication Date December 1, 2016
Interview with author Donna Schaper on Reasonablycatholic.com
At once both a radical return to the teachings of Jesus and a new imagining of how the church might step into a lively, prophetic leadership voice for twenty-first century life
This book has the potential to inspire hope and to establish justice in this world.
"With an unbridled wit, Donna Schaper has revisited the Catholic roots of her Protestant faith. In those roots, she has found a promise and a pope that still have the potential to inspire hope and to establish justice in this world."
Every Christian needs to eavesdrop on this conversation, whether they heart Francis or not.
"Reading I Heart Francis I felt a bit like a voyeur or one who uncovered a stash of a great aunt’s correspondence with her beau during the War. And I’m the better for it. Donna Schaper’s imagined conversations with Pope Francis invite the reader not just to appreciate this Pope’s place in the religious landscape (both Catholic and Protestant) but also to remind him and us all of critical issues in our society that need to be addressed. Every Christian needs to eavesdrop on this conversation, whether they heart Francis or not."
I loved reading this book. I hope Francis will, too.
"Donna Schaper, in a witty, no-holds-barred style reminiscent of Anne Lamott, shares her personal experiences of faith and struggle in a kind of ecumenical memoir that allows us to eavesdrop on her overtures to her spiritual crush, Pope Francis. She takes on the injustices of the climate crisis and capitalism (where she and Francis agree), but also the Catholic Church’s unrelenting and problematic stances on women's ordination, GLBTQ rights, Christian supremacy, and the doctrine of priestly celibacy. Compelling and conversational, this book is not just her words to the most important Christian leader of our time – she has spoken my own heart-felt thoughts as well. I loved reading this book. I hope Francis will, too.”
A love letter that fights. I hope he answers back.
"Not everyone should be ordained, but no one should be refused ordination because of their orientation or their gender,” Donna Schaper tells Pope Francis. Likewise not everyone should write love letters to the leader of one of the world’s most patriarchal institutions, but Schaper gets away with it, praising his views on poverty, while politely picking apart his positions on gender, sexuality and sex. I’d rather have Donna for a leader than Francis, myself (and a secular leader at that), but this is a cheeky route to a making some strong, serious arguments. A love letter that fights. I hope he answers back."