The Name of God Is Mercy, Pope Francis, 2016


For the Book about Theology challenge 2018 Reading Challenge, I chose The Name of God Is Mercy.

The text comes in at about 150 pages and Pope Francis’ speaking style is light and accessible, yet it’s proving to be a difficult book to review. It isn’t a narrative story, rather a Q&A between Pope Francis and Vatican reporter Andrea Tornielli to promote the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy, a yearlong event running from December 8, 2015 to November 20, 2016 celebrating the power of mercy.

As such, it reads more like an in-depth magazine article than a nonfiction story.  Following statements with examples from the bible, parables and his own experiences in the priesthood, Pope Francis extols the value of mercy as Jesus’ most important message.  But mercy is such an abstract subjective topic that many of the answers given feel less like concrete answers and more like theories or philosophies.

Since it isn’t a typical read, I’m doing an atypical review.

Here are the ideas or quotes I found the most compelling:

  • Pope Francis rejects the comparison of sin to a stain that can be removed. Instead he likens it to a wound that must be healed.
  • Corruption is the habit of sinning without repentance.
  • “That kind of compassion is needed today to conquer the globalization of indifference.”
  • Mercy is not the erasing of sins like forgiveness. Mercy is a gentle form of forgiveness, an alternative to condemnation.
  • “Jesus said he did not come for those who are good but for sinners.”
  • “…I derive consolation from Peter: he betrayed Jesus, and even so he was chosen.”
  • According to Pope Francis, a good confession requires reflection, humility and awareness of “wretchedness”.

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