Pope Francis must often get questioned about religion, heaven, hell and God. After all, being the leader of the global Catholic Church means having all the answers, doesn't it? Children from around the world too decided to send their queries to the pontiff wanting to know about the world, Jesus and miracles.
This led to his latest book Dear Pope Francis in which the pope responds to letters from them and tries his best to answer their questions.
Loyola Press in Chicago is set to release the book featuring 30 letters and Pope Francis's responses to each one of them, on 1 March. The book will also contain various illustrations sent in by children between the ages of six and 13.
Jesuit priest Antonio Spadaro, the director of La Civilta Cattolica, a Roman Catholic journal published in Rome, was instrumental in making the book a possibility. After coming up with the idea for the project, he contacted people around the world to get children to write in. Bringing 50 letters with questions to the pope, the two worked together to select 30 and respond to them.
Will the world be again as it was in the past? — Mohammed, 10 years, Syria
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.
No. When the time comes, the world will not be as it was; it will be far better than it was in the past.
— Pope Francis
"He loved the project right from the beginning," Tom McGrath of Loyola Press said. "He has this great affection for children, who have a great affection for him. He was surprised at the depth of the questions."
Recollecting how the pope responded to the questions, McGrath added: "At one point he mentioned, 'These are tough.' He realised that he owed the kids a deeper answer than right off the top of his head."
The book will be available in English and Spanish and will be published in Brazil, Indonesia, Slovenia, Mexico and India.
If you could do one miracle what would it be? — William, 7 years, USA
Dear William, 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. — Pope Francis
Loyola Press also plans to bring down to Rome 10 of the children whose questions are featured in the book so that they can meet the pope. They will make the trip from China, Ireland, Argentina, India, Canada, Kenya, Singapore, Australia, the United States and the Philippines.
I would like to know more about Jesus Christ. How did he walk on water? — Natasha, 8 years, Kenya
You have to imagine Jesus walking naturally, normally. He did not fly over the water or turn somersaults while swimming. He walked as you walk! ... Jesus is God, and so he can do anything! — Pope Francis