Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Review of The Name of God is Mercy

Book #21 The Name of God is Mercy, by Pope Francis. Unabridged audio.

In early 2015, The Pope declared a “Holy Year of Mercy” to occur from late 2015 to late 2016. The purpose is for the church to contemplate and celebrate God’s mercy and forgiveness.

This book, his first book published as Pope, was produced in conjunction with the Year of Mercy. It is actually the transcripts of a series of interviews with Vatican reporter Andrea Tornielli. Presented in a question-and-answer format, Francis invites people into dialogue on the subject of mercy. He explains that mercy has long been a major aspect of his faith, and why it is among the central teachings of his papacy.

The theme of mercy is discussed in detail, and the Pope’s specific “take” on the word is explained. By bringing in many examples from his own life, the Pope manages to make the book personal, which can be hard to do in an interview-style book. 

I have read books by the prior two Popes, and their differences in emphasis and style are noteworthy. Pope John Paul II was a poet, and wrote with the heart of an artist. Pope Benedict brought academic rigor and intellectual dynamism to his writings. Pope Francis writes like a pastor. A pastor of a worldwide flock, but a pastor nonetheless. His concerns are personal, wanting people around the world to experience and demonstrate the mercy of God.

The book also contains the papal bull that announced the Holy Year. Reading that was an interesting experience, and added context to the conversation in the body of the book.

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