Many political pundits have weighed in on Pope Francis, particularly after his encyclical "On Care for Our Common Home" (Laudato si) was published. The Independent Institutes book-length contribution offers to intelligently further the conversation surrounding issues of the day on which the pope has been outspoken. It seems the contributors are like-minded, but it is important to note that this book is not a compassionate conservative screed (paleo- or neo-).
The publisher is a non-partisan think tank, albeit with somewhat libertarian leanings. Labels, however, should not discredit this book, which begins with ten pages of endorsements from disparate people, primarily academics, including the bishop of Oakland, California, where the institute is located.
Pope Francis and the Caring Society is a helpful collection of essays centered around what Michael Novak describes in his foreword as an effort to educate readers about the legacy and meaning of the natural law, moral and economic principles of liberty, personal responsibility, enterprise, civic virtue, family and community, and the rule of law. This may seem like a lot to take on in one modest tome, especially when it is also responding to current papal statements. Nonetheless, Pope Franciss call for deeper discussion of what it means to be a caring society in the modern world is the common thread to the book and the responses are not univocal. The essays offer a variety of well thought-out and interesting views that add to the dialogue that Pope Francis has asked to be sustained. The book employs footnotes, and there are extensive bibliographic references at the end of each chapter, including the substantial introduction by the editor. The best audience for this book would be well-educated individuals who are interested in the intersection of religion, politics, and economics. Recommended for college, university, and seminary libraries.