Vatican City, 12 January 2016 (VIS) – "The Name of God is Mercy", the book in the form of an interview with Pope Francis by the Italian journalist Andrea Tornielli, has been released today in 86 countries and was presented this morning in the Augustinianum Institute, Rome by Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin and the actor Roberto Benigni during a conference moderated by the director of the Holy See Press Office, Fr. Federico Lombardi, S.J. The event was also attended by Msgr. Giuseppe Costa, director of the Vatican Publishing House (LEV), and Zhang Agostino Jianquing, a detainee in the prison of Padua, Italy who has converted to Christianity and received Baptism, the Eucharist and Confirmation last year. An extract of one of the Oscar winner Roberto Benigni's readings dedicated to "The Ten Commandments" was used by the Pope in the homily he pronounced during the end of year Te Deum in 2014, in which he spoke of the weakness of the human being, who at times tends towards slavery and sin for fear of freedom.
The book, whose cover bears the signature of the Pope in the Italian, Spanish, French, English and Portuguese editions, is divided into nine chapters. It begins with "The Time of Mercy" and concludes with "How to live the Jubilee well". Throughout the other seven chapters Francis dialogues with Andrea Tornielli – whom during a four-hour interview this summer, in the Domus Sanctae Marthae, asked him forty questions on issues linked by the common thread of mercy, described by the Pope as "God's identity card". Confession as "neither a whitewash, nor a form of torture", based on listening rather than interrogation, recognising oneself as a sinner and the Church's condemnation of sin and embracing of the sinner, the Pope's acknowledgement that he too is in need of divine mercy, the need to get up again after a fall, the assertion that God's logic is a logic of love that scandalises the doctors of the Law and that formal compliance with rules leads to a decline in our wonder at the salvation God offers are some of the issues that the Holy Father considers. In Chapter 7 he notes that corruption is a sin raised to a systemic level, and also reiterates that compassion overcomes the globalisation of indifference, while shortly before the end of the book he emphasises that practising works of mercy is the cornerstone of Christian life.
In the book, considered by many to be a summary of Francis' teaching and papacy, the Holy Father explains to the Vatican commentator of the Italian newspaper "La Stampa", incorporating anecdotes from his youth and his experiences as a priest, the reasons why he chose to convoke a Holy Year of Mercy, the key word of his teaching.