In March, Pope Francis will celebrate 10 years on the Throne of Peter. Here are 10 of his heartfelt prayers, as recounted in a new book, "I Ask You in the Name of God"
“I Ask You in the Name of God: Ten Prayers for a Future of Hope” (“Os ruego en nombre de Dios. Por un futuro de esperanza,” not yet available in English) is the title of a new book by Pope Francis, edited by Argentine journalist Hernan Reyes Alcaide. It was written on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of Francis’ pontificate, which he will celebrate in March 2023. (As the English edition has yet to be announced, the translations of his words below are our own.)
The text is a pious, contemplative, prayerful decalogue that aims, through 10 petitions, to give certain hope to humanity. “I want to convoke all men and women of good will to join me in having hope for the world to come,” he writes. “May we be part of a process of change.”
The following are 10 pleas from the Pope “in the name of God” for humanity to recover hope, take care of our common home, put an end to poverty, put an end to abuses, put an end to hate-filled discourse, not use the name of God to foment wars, and avoid a nuclear catastrophe, among other topics. Pope Francis writes:
During my first almost 10 years as pope, you heard me every week make a constant plea. I’ve told you in audiences, Angeluses, and speeches, “Pray for me.” You have accompanied me, and your prayers – in the case of believers – or your good will – in the case of those who do not believe – are a permanent source of energy for me to move forward with my pontificate. So, first of all, I want to thank you. But I would also like to tell you that today I am a little more demanding than usual, and I would like to share with you 10 requests that I make in the name of God so we can face the world to come with hope.
The fifth petition reads, “In the name of God, I ask that the madness of war be stopped.” Here we have placed this petition first in our presentation, given the topicality of the war in Ukraine and the Pope’s denunciation of “a world war fought piecemeal.”
1“In the name of God, I ask that the madness of war be stopped.”
In this petition, Pope Francis shows his utmost concern at what he calls the “third world war fought piecemeal” that society is witnessing, made of regional conflicts “which threaten to grow larger and larger until they take the form of a global conflict.”
He rejects this violence completely because war is not justified and never solves the problems it’s intended to overcome.
“Do we see that Yemen, Libya, or Syria, to cite some contemporary examples, are better off than before the conflicts?” he asks. Faced with the war in Ukraine and other wars, he calls for “dialogue, negotiations, listening, creative diplomacy, and far-sighted politics which can build a system not based on the power of arms or deterrence.”
Indeed, regarding the idea of nuclear deterrence, he says that “(t)he existence of nuclear and atomic weapons jeopardizes the continuity of human life on Earth […].” He goes on to say, “The Reverend Martin Luther King, […] expressed clearly in his last speech before he was assassinated that the choice today is no longer between violence and non-violence. It is either non-violence or non-existence.’ It is up to us to choose,” Francis maintains.
2“In the name of God, I ask that the culture of abuse be eradicated from the Church.”
Calling in the first chapter to “uproot from the Church the culture of abuse,” the head of the Catholic Church asks for forgiveness, recognizing that “we have sinned gravely.”
Any reparation for the evil committed within the Church “will never be enough” in the face of how “little we have done in the past,” he laments, professing that a single case of abuse “is already in itself a monstrosity,” a “heinous crime.”
One of the “most serious errors” was not taking seriously the accounts of the victims, according to the Pontiff, who now asks that anonymous complaints not be dismissed and that negligent bishops be removed from office.
The Pontiff on the other hand defends the presumption of innocence until justice has issued its sentence.
3“In the name of God, I ask that we protect the common home.”
Another plea of the author of Laudato Si’ regards the protection of the environment – because “there is no Planet B,” he says, referring to the title of best-seller “There Is No Planet B” by Mike Berners-Lee.
He criticizes “gluttony of natural resources,” but also the tendency to “get lost in chatter” or big speeches at the international level, and repeats that “the time to act is today, not tomorrow.”
“We will have to take the step of introducing sin against the environment into the Catechism,” the Pontiff says. He urges governments to adopt measures to limit the increase in the planet’s average temperature, and praises young people’s creativity and resilience, which “neither their grandparents, nor my generation, nor their parents” had.
4“In the name of God, I ask for communication that combats fake news and avoids hateful discourse.”
The new missionary frontiers of which the Gospel speaks are “digital nowadays,” writes the Pope, who encourages the Church to be present in the digital world, without, however, “replacing our Mass with a live ‘Tiktok’ broadcast or making ‘memes’ of our martyrs to spread them on the internet.” Likes “cannot replace human contact,” he says in the third chapter.
“Likes” cannot replace human contact …
In the name of God, the Pope calls for “communication that combats fake news and avoids hateful discourse.” He points a finger at anonymous Internet “trolls,” “phantom” users who work to influence and manipulate opinion.
He advises the media, “the fourth estate,” to evaluate their independence from shareholders and their freedom from potential conflicts of interest, and he expresses concern regarding “lawfare” aimed at discrediting opponents.
A defender of the “right to change, to reparation, and to conversion,” he opposes “monolithic thought” that wants to deny or rewrite history, and which thinks it can “judge the mistakes of the past with Monday’s newspaper in hand.”
5“In the name of God, I ask for politics that work for the common good.”
Pope Francis addresses politicians. While recognizing that they aren’t “supermen,” he asks them not to fall into corruption. The Pope goes further, suggesting that while “it is not illegal for a human being to be attracted by money, by first-class travel,” a politician must nevertheless live with “sobriety” and “austerity.”
6“In the name of God, I ask that the doors be opened to migrants and refugees.”
“I have never forgotten you,” the Pope says to migrants and refugees in a chapter dedicated to them. He believes that the “conscience” of developed countries “should weigh every death of a brother or of a sister who crosses the desert or the ocean.”
7“In the name of God, I ask that the participation of women in society be promoted and encouraged.”
The Pope wishes for professional growth and motherhood not to be considered “incompatible projects” for a woman. He calls to mind “all the women murdered simply because they are women” and those who are considered “second-class citizens.” “Our world needs more women leaders,” the Pope said.
8“In the name of God, I ask that the growth of poor countries be allowed and encouraged.”
In a “sick” and “unsustainable” economic system, which “kills and excludes,” the Pontiff dismantles the trickle-down theory based on the profits of the very rich, a system from which the poorest should expect “drops” of charity. “What has happened to us, as humanity, such that we don’t begin each day asking ourselves how to include, feed, care for and clothe the least of society, instead of excluding them?”
9“In the name of God, I ask for universal access to health care.”
Dedicating a chapter to the “right to health for all,” the Pope resolutely defends the value of coronavirus vaccines, which according to him should be considered “a common good of humanity.” He reproaches vaccine objectors for “a selfish and unempathetic approach.”
10“In the name of God, I ask that his name not be used to foment wars.”
At the end of the book, in the last chapter, the Pope calls on religions to unite “in unanimous condemnation of any attempt to use the name of the Almighty to justify any kind of violence or aggression.”
“May it not occur to anyone to use God as a shield when planning and carrying out acts of violence and abuse,” he said, for “violence in the name of God is a betrayal of religion.”
In general, the Pope comments that there are “no magic formulas” to solve the issues addressed in the book, but certain “attitudes towards life” can help. Thus, “he who has no hope goes nowhere.”
“Unlike optimism, hope never betrays us.”