Pope Francis answers questions from children in new book

NEW YORK -- "Dear Pope Francis," 10-year-old Mohammed begins, "Will the world be again as it was in the past?"

See Full Article

Signed "Respectfully yours," the boy wrote from a Jesuit-run school for refugee children in Syria and was treated to a long and personal answer from the pope himself. So were 29 other children who posed questions to Francis in letters from around the globe for a new book poignantly illustrated with their own artwork.

The book, "Dear Pope Francis," is out March 1 from Loyola Press in Chicago. It's a project that likely wouldn't have materialized without the help of Father Antonio Spadaro, a Jesuit like the pope and the director of La Civilta Cattolica, a Roman Catholic journal published in Rome.

Tom McGrath of the Jesuit-founded publishing house co-edited the book with Spadaro after reaching out to the priest for help. Spadaro brought about 50 letters with questions to the pope so he could select 30. Spadaro sat with the pope as he responded to each. Francis often complimented the artwork of the children.

"He knows Pope Francis very well," McGrath said of Spadaro. "We tried to make it as easy for the pope as possible."

The pope's response to Mohammed spoke in part of suffering and the people who inflict it.

"There are those who manufacture weapons so that people fight each other and wage war. There are people who have hate in their hearts. There are people who are interested only in money and would sell everything for it. They would even sell other people," he wrote.

More to Mohammed's point, Francis answered: "No, when the time comes, the world will not be as it was. It will be far better than it was in the past."

Once the pope agreed to participate in the project, Loyola reached out to priests and lay people around the world to connect the publisher with children to write the letters.

The 30 kids in the book range in age from 6 to 13. In all, about 250 letters were received in 14 languages from 26 countries around the globe. The pope wound up with about 50 letters from which to choose.

"He loved the project right from the beginning," McGrath said. "He has this great affection for children, who have a great affection for him. He was surprised at the depth of the questions."

There was no condensing or editing of the pope's responses. In a 90-minute session with Spadaro last August in Rome, Francis responded verbally in a mixture of Italian and Spanish. Spadaro served as transcriber in addition to connecting Loyola Press with the Vatican.

"These are the pope's exact words," McGrath said. "At one point he mentioned, 'These are tough.' He realized that he owed the kids a deeper answer than right off the top of his head."

Spadaro said via email that the pope truly pondered when answering the children.

"Often he looked off into space and tried to imagine the child in front of him," he said. "And in his gaze I saw care, love."

Loyola will publish the book in English and Spanish. As an international Jesuit project, it will also be published simultaneously around the world, including in Brazil, Indonesia, Slovenia, Mexico and India.

Arrangements were still being made but Loyola Press plans to bring 10 of the children included in the book to Rome to meet the pope in person, hopefully in February before its March publication date.

"The pope is eager to meet them," McGrath said. "He was quick to say he would like to make that happen."

They'll be travelling with their parents from China, Ireland, Argentina, India, Canada, Kenya, Singapore, Australia, the United States and the Philippines.

Mohammed will not be among them, but 8-year-old Natasha from Kenya will make the trip to Rome. She asked the pope in her letter: "I would like to know more about Jesus Christ. How did he walk on water?"

The pope's response?

"You have to imagine Jesus walking naturally, normally. He did not fly over the water or turn somersaults while swimming," he wrote. "He walked as you walk! ... Jesus is God, and so he can do anything!"

While one child wanted to know why parents fight and another why the pope wears such a tall hat, 7-year-old William of the United States asked: "If you could do one miracle what would it be?"

"Dear William," the pope said. "I would heal children. I've never been able to understand why children suffer. It's a mystery to me. I don't have an explanation."

------

Online:

http://loyolapress.com/



Advertisements

Latest Entertainment News

  • Ford Nation blasts Filth City star

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    Pat Thornton has dealt with hecklers before — but usually in person. “This weekend was full of interesting death threats on Twitter,” says the comic actor who plays fictional crack-smoking mayor Tom Hogg in Filth City, the crime comedy that closes out the Canadian Film Fest at the Scotia Saturday. Source
  • So-called 'Rob Ford movie' not a documentary

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    As I’ve been told by many a filmmaker, usually defensively, “it’s not meant to be a documentary.” That’s Filth City, the so-called “Rob Ford movie” that closes the Canadian Film Fest Saturday at the Scotiabank Theatre. A first feature by director Andy King, it’s an over-the-top grindhouse crime-comedy that, between scenes, even copies the “scratched film” gimmick of the Tarantino/Rodriguez co-feature Grindhouse. Source
  • Harrison Ford says he was distracted when he flew over plane

    Entertainment CTV News
    LOS ANGELES -- Actor Harrison Ford said he was distracted and concerned about turbulence from another aircraft last month when he mistakenly landed on a taxiway at a Southern California airport after flying low over an airliner with 116 people aboard, according to an audio recording released Friday. Source
  • Shailene Woodley strikes plea deal in protest arrest case

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    Actress Shailene Woodley has struck a plea deal for trespassing during a Dakota Access Pipeline protest. The Divergent star will plead guilty to one count of disorderly conduct in return for a year of unsupervised probation, according to legal documents obtained by TMZ. Source
  • Jay Z developing Trayvon Martin documentary

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    Rapper Jay Z is reportedly reteaming with producer Harvey Weinstein to develop a documentary and film about slain African-American Trayvon Martin. The teenager lost his life in 2012 when Neighbourhood Watch zealot George Zimmerman mistook Trayvon for a burglar and shot him during a scuffle in Florida. Source
  • Gwyneth Paltrow tackles anal sex in website guide

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    Gwyneth Paltrow has tested fans with a new study on anal sex in her latest Goop website post. The actress and contributors to her online lifestyle hub have often been criticised for testing the bounds of decency and offering up bizarre beauty and wellbeing techniques, and now Paltrow has raised eyebrows again by talking about the taboo sex act in The Sex Issue of her newsletter, which was first published on Thursday. Source
  • Are ’gay moments’ in ’Beauty and the Beast’ and ’Power Rangers’ progress?

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    LOS ANGELES — A hug. A wink. A dance. A non-answer. These are the so-called gay moments in a handful of recent high-profile studio movies that have sparked both rapturous celebration and startling backlash. From Sulu in “Star Trek Beyond” to LeFou in “Beauty and the Beast” and now Trini in “Power Rangers,” the latest Hollywood fascination is the subtle nod that a once straight or undefined character is now or has always been gay. Source
  • Mindy Kaling's Newark joke leads to dinner with Cory Booker

    Entertainment CTV News
    FILE - In this combination photo, Mindy Kaling, left, arrives at the 41st annual Gracie Awards Gala on May 24, 2016, in Beverly Hills, Calif., and Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., addresses supporters during an election night victory gathering on Nov. Source
  • Netflix re-ups with Sandler, plan 4 more films together

    Entertainment CTV News
    NEW YORK -- Netflix is doubling down on Adam Sandler. The streaming giant has extended its deal with the comedian for four more feature films. As part of a previous four-movie deal, Sandler has already produced and starred in two films for Netflix. Source
  • Are 'gay moments' in 'Beauty' and 'Power Rangers' progress?

    Entertainment CTV News
    LOS ANGELES -- A hug. A wink. A dance. A non-answer. These are the so-called gay moments in a handful of recent high-profile studio movies that have sparked both rapturous celebration and startling backlash. From Sulu in "Star Trek Beyond" to LeFou in "Beauty and the Beast" and now Trini in "Power Rangers," the latest Hollywood fascination is the subtle nod that a once straight or undefined character is now or has always been gay. Source