The new book, “Light of the World,” which features an interview with Benedict XVI, is a chance to know a Pope who walks with us, says a Vatican spokesman. Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, director of the Vatican press office, said this on the latest episode of “Octava Dies.”

He spoke about the book, released Tuesday by Ignatius Press, which featured a lengthy interview with the Pontiff by German journalist Peter Seewald. Father Lombardi noted, “The Pope seen up close, known better not only as Pontiff but also as a man, attracts the sympathy of a great number of people, who appreciate his kindness and sensitivity, his humility and humanity, and the attentiveness to those he meets, small and great.”

He explained, “The enthusiasm of ordinary people during many foreign trips — like those to Malta, to Portugal, the United Kingdom or to Spain — is largely explained by a better knowledge of the person of Joseph Ratzinger, Benedict XVI.” And now thanks to this new interview-book “we have a new opportunity to know our Pope better,” the priest affirmed.

He continued, If “the news that accompanied the publication [of the book] often focused on a few pages and very few issues,” in reality “from the six long hours of conversation from which the book was born the Pope touched on countless questions that might interest the people of today; and he did so with simple and spontaneous language and style, with a sincerity at times almost disconcerting.”

Father Lombardi stated that this is “a new original service of his, then, to all of us, answering many questions that we would like to ask him — from the deepest and most important ones about the meaning of our life, to those about the problems that trouble the Church, to the dramatic crisis of today’s world, and also those more personal questions about him and his sentiments.”

This Pope, he concluded, “speaks to us not only from the ‘cathedra’ of his solemn magisterium or during the course of great liturgical celebrations,” but “lets us see that he walks with us, brother and friend, with feet well planted on this earth of ours — fascinating but dramatic — and thus he helps us better to look ahead, with simple and firm faith, and lively hope.”

VATICAN CITY, NOV. 24, 2010 (