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Pope Francis opens up about personal life, health in new memoir

Pope Francis opens up in new memoir
Pope Francis opens up in new memoir 02:34

Pope Francis is known for his words spoken from the pulpit, where he makes urgent calls for peace and advocates for migrants and to protect the environment, but a new memoir is revealing another side of the pontiff.

The new book, "Life: My Story Through History" chronicles the 87-year-old's life through major historic events, such as his joy at the end of World War II and cheering the fall of the Berlin Wall. But he also delves into the more intimate, like when he was briefly "dazzled" by a woman so much that it became "difficult to pray."

Co-author Fabio Marchese Ragona got a close look at the personal side of Pope Francis through hours of interviews and revisions.

He told CBS News the memoir was his idea. 

"I said that there are many people in the world that don't know him, especially in America, in the states," Ragona said, noting the U.S. was a particular focus because "It's a great country."

Conservative Catholics in the U.S. are among this pope's most vocal critics.

Father Sam Sawyer, a Jesuit like Pope Francis and the editor of the Catholic magazine America, told CBS News he thinks the portion of the book dealing with Pope Benedict XVI and his resignation will get a fair amount of attention.

But Ragona said that, despite Benedict's resignation and Francis' own health concerns, the pope only thinks about resignation because journalists ask about it.

"In the book, we talk about the resignation," Ragona said. "He said, 'I am good right now, I don't think resignation.'"

Francis writes in the book that during hospital stays and medical treatments, he knows others speculate about the next conclave and a new pope.

"Relax. It's human. There's nothing shocking about it," he writes.

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