Loyola Press released The Church of Mercy: A Vision for the Church by Pope Francis on Easter Sunday, April 20, 2014, the first collection of writings from his first year as pope. Arranged thematically to provide a coherent narrative of his papacy thus far, it expresses the Pope’s clear and urgent desire for “a church that is poor, and for the poor.”

The Church of Mercy shows why millions of Catholics and non-Catholics worldwide are drawn to this Pope. His humility, openness, invitational tone, deep concern for the world’s suffering people, and the infectious joy of his faith are evident on every page.

Pope Francis describes a welcoming Church that “steps outside herself,” to meet people where they are. “She calls everyone to allow themselves to be enfolded by the mercy, the tenderness, and the forgiveness of the Father.”

He encourages “a culture of encounter and friendship” and returns often to the theme of solidarity. “The word solidarity frightens the developed world. People try to avoid saying it, solidarity to them is almost a bad word. But it is our word! Serving means recognizing and accepting requests for justice and hope, and seeking roads together.”

Pope Francis addresses the constant need to struggle against the idols of power, money, and for clergy, careerism. Calling us to resist the dehumanizing force of a culture where “money commands all,” he reminds us that for God, “we are not numbers, we are important; indeed we are the most important thing to him.”

The Church of Mercy is much needed because its message of compassion and hope speak to us with a prophetic urgency,” says Paul Campbell, S.J., publisher at Loyola Press.

The Pope’s homilies, speeches, and essays were organized by Giuliano Vigini, professor at The Catholic University of Milan, who has edited books by Pope Paul VI, Pope Benedict XVI, and Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini. “The keyword of (Pope Francis’s) program, which signposts the way, is sealed in the title: mercy,” writes Professor Vigini in the preface.

Loyola Press is a Jesuit ministry serving the Catholic community since its founding in 1912. They are a nonprofit apostolate of the Chicago-Detroit Province of the Society of Jesus.

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Kelly Hughes
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