God Is Young

In this slim conversational volume, Pope Francis brings his spiritual wisdom and hallmark vivacity to a number of pressing matters. Translated by Anne Milano Appel, God Is Young relays a long conversation between the pontiff and Italian journalist Thomas Leoncini. The title derives from the way Pope Francis describes divinity. Rather than emphasizing Catholic dogma, he constantly conceives of God as a youthful, rejuvenating force that resists rigidity. "The Holy Spirit brings freshness, imagination, innovation," he says. To gather the young and old together, he calls for a "revolution of tenderness" in which "there are no hierarchies, each must seek the other out."
 
Pope Francis proves to be a formidable social critic. He tackles climate change, immigration, cyberbullying, drug addiction and a host of other issues. He uses his moral authority and erudition to promote stewardship of the environment and compassionate policy towards immigrants and refugees. He criticizes nationalism and unbridled capitalism that, in his words, has led to a "culture of discarding." As pointed as he can be on specific policies, the pope always returns to his greater vision of compassion. The most memorable lines in the book are aphorisms that arise naturally from the man's eloquent discourse. "A chink of hope in the heart is enough to let God in," he says when asked about the "machinery of corruption" in the world. At a later point, he tells the journalist "the darker it is, the more perceptible a tiny glimmer can be."
 
God Is Young will appeal to both believers and nonbelievers, a window into the mind of an important world leader. --Scott Neuffer, writer, poet, editor of trampset