Francis on mercy: first book published today

Pope Francis's book is a spiritual inspiration to both Christians and non-Christians
Pope Francis's book is a spiritual inspiration to both Christians and non-Christians

The Name of God is Mercy – Pope Francis’s first official book – is published today. In celebration of the Jubilee Year of Mercy, he addresses all humanity in an intimate and personal conversation with Vatican reporter Andrea Tornielli.

At the centre of the book is the subject closest to his heart—mercy. This has long been the cornerstone of his faith and is now the central teaching of his papacy. Francis explains—through memories from his youth and moving anecdotes from his experiences as a pastor—his reasons for proclaiming the Jubilee Year of Mercy. He reiterates that the Church cannot close the door on anyone—that, on the contrary, its duty is to find its way into the consciousness of people so that they can assume responsibility for, and move away from, the bad things they have done.

A Church that goes forth

"I often say that in order for this to happen, it is necessary to go out: to go out from the churches and the parishes, to go outside and look for people where they live, where they suffer, and where they hope,” Pope Francis tells Tornielli. “I like to use the image of a field hospital to describe this ‘Church that goes forth’. It exists where there is combat. It is not a solid structure with all the equipment where people go to receive treatment for both small and large infirmities. It is a mobile structure that offers first aid and immediate care, so that its soldiers do not die.”

To those who already count themselves among the ranks of the just, Francis counsels: “Even the Pope is a man who needs the mercy of God". On the subject of corruption, he warns against it being elevated to a mental habit or a way of living. “We no longer feel the need for forgiveness and mercy, but we justify ourselves and our behaviours,” he says. “When a sinner recognises himself as such, he admits in some way that what he was attached to, or clings to, is false. The corrupt man hides what he considers his true treasure, but which really makes him a slave and masks his vice with good manners, always managing to keep up appearances.”

The Name of God is Mercy is being published simultaneously in more than 80 countries around the world; the UK edition is translated by Oonagh Stransky and is published by Bluebird Books. It is available through Amazon from £13.48.