In a book-length interview with an Italian journalist, Pope Francis describes how he imagines the face of God.
Interestingly, one of the book's biggest promoters is an Oscar-winning actor, who says he has already read the text several times.
"Holiness, you have given us a great gift. Thank you, thank you very much.”
In fact, Roberto Benigni took part in the book's official presentation in Rome, at a university close to the Vatican.
Actor and Director
"When I was little, and they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I always said, 'I want to be Pope.' And that would make everyone laugh. I knew that I should become a comedian. If they had kneeled instead, I would have been Pope.”
The Italian artist made people laugh and cry with his deep and personal interpretation of the Pope's pontificate.
Actor and Director
"He is bringing the Church, with all his strength, to a place we have almost forgotten. We don't remember it. He is taking us to Christianity, to Jesus Christ, to the Gospel. He is launching the Church toward Christianity. It is something incredible: The religion of the humanity of God, the divinity of man. He is bringing it. And how is he doing it? Through mercy.”
CARD. PIETRO PAROLIN
Vatican Secretary of State
"I believe that he does not want to deal with specific cases but instead broaden horizons. He wants to bring the desire to encounter the infinite love of the Lord to people's hearts, the desire to experience the divine gift in our lives. It is far from our human logic but it's necessary to sustain us, to encourage us, to raise us up, and to make us capable of starting over again.”
The other figure in the book is the journalist Andrea Tornielli, who for most of the nine chapters speaks with the Pope about the key themes of his pontificate. He got some surprising responses.
Author, "The Name of God is Mercy”
"I believe that the best parts of the book are when he shows his experience, with anecdotes and memories, when he shows the delicacy with which he approaches people in specific situations. It is not a theological or theoretical book. It is a book of experience. I hope that, as the Pope does when he communicates, it speaks from heart to heart.”
The dialogue between Tornielli and Pope Francis became this book. With passion, the Pope explains how he confesses, gives young people advice on how to live as Christians, reveals how he imagines the face of God, and shows where he is taking the Church.
It's a book meant to last.