News / Arts & Entertainment

    Pope Francis Answers Children's Questions in New Book

    FILE - Pope Francis holds a child as he leads the weekly audience in Paul VI's hall at the Vatican, Jan. 20, 2016.
    FILE - Pope Francis holds a child as he leads the weekly audience in Paul VI's hall at the Vatican, Jan. 20, 2016.
    Associated Press

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

    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.

    Publishing house

    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.

    Preteen children

    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."

    English and Spanish

    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 traveling 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?"

    'He can do anything'

    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."

    You May Like

    US Leaders Who Served in Vietnam War Look Back and Ahead

    In New York Times opinion piece, Secretary of State John Kerry, Senator John McCain and former Senator Bob Kerrey say as US strengthens relations with Vietnam, it is important to remember lessons learned from war

    Trans-Adriatic Pipeline to Boost European Energy Security

    $4.5 billion-pipeline will become operational in 2020 and will deliver gas from Azerbaijan’s Shah Deniz II field to southern Italy

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Annual festival showcases the region's harvested agriculture, fine wines and offers opportunities to experience the gentle breeze in a hot air balloon flight

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora

    New in Music Alley

    Take It From The Top: Stanley Jordani
    || 0:00:00
    ...  
     
    X
    May 17, 2016 5:01 PM
    Jazz fusion artist, Stanley Jordan is known for his touch technique which allows him to play melodies and chords simultaneously. He can also play two different guitars or a guitar and piano at the same time.

    Jazz fusion artist, Stanley Jordan is known for his touch technique which allows him to play melodies and chords simultaneously.  He can also play two different guitars or a guitar and piano at the same time.

     

     

     

     

    Blogs

    African Music Treasures