Dear Pope Francis Dear Pope Francis: The Pope Answers Letters from Children Around the World, Pope Francis, Loyola Press, 2016.

I’m a Pope Franics fan. No doubt about it.

There has always been something different about this Pope. In a time when our culture is hyper self-focused, it is refreshing to have a religious leader who not only advocates, but lives, an other-centered life.

Dear Pope Francis is a children’s book that shows just how far the Pope’s influence reaches. The Pope answers received letters from children all around the world. This is the simple basis for the book. The letters are kept in their original condition, complete with art work. A typed translation is provided. On the next page is Pope Francis’ response to the question. 

Some of the questions are basic questions like “Do you like to dance?” Others, however, are more theological, asking the Pope about violence and miracles.

If only we adults were so willing with our questions.

I like this project for a number of reasons. One of them being that it makes it okay to ask a spiritual leader like Pope Francis the questions that are heavy on our hearts. Questions are part of our spiritual maturing.

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The other reason I like this project is the simplicity of Pope Francis’ answers. Imagine Yoda writing us a book. All of the Jedi Master’s responses would be classic one-liners. Yet, each line shows a depth of meaning. For example, one child asks the pope what God was doing before creating the world. Pope Francis’ reply: “Before God created anything, he loved.”

A simple answer to a complex question. Theologians and scholars fill books (books that we need) with explanations, yet Pope Francis can sum it up in a way that is assessable to children and adults alike. It is like the Pope is sharing his children’s messages with us. Messages that reveal that there is still a mystery to faith.

The final reason I like this project is that it is a hardcover book, bright and colorful. I like that they kept the original drawings and handwriting of the children. A great idea would be to have children in your children’s ministry write letters to the Pope, your pastor, or a religious leader in your denomination.

You can purchase your own copy by clicking on the image below:

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for a digital review copy.