"The Vatican Diaries: A Behind-the-Scenes Look at the Power, Personalities and Politics at the Heart of the Catholic Church", is a revealing expose of the reign of pope Benedict XVI. In this text, a vivid picture of the Vatican is painted. A picture in which Cardinals fight private wars with one another, scandals undermine the authority of the pope, and the battle between traditionalism and relevancy rages on.
In addition to addressing the reign of pope Benedict, The Vatican Diaries also provides details on the papal election process known as the Conclave, and offers insight into the history of what is perhaps the oldest institution still in existence. It offers some light-hearted insights into daily life in the Vatican, such as debates over how to correctly light the stove in the Sistine Chapel. But it also does not shy away from difficult subjects, such as the Catholic sex scandals which shocked the world in recent memory.
All this adds up to a book which seeks to dispel the 'popular image of the Vatican,' which the author claims is 'largely a myth.' And does it ever succeed! After reading this book, you will no longer be able to look at the Catholic Church or the Vatican as a well-oiled monolithic machine which functions perfectly. You will, instead, have an insider's understanding of just what kind of place the Vatican is, and may even agree with the author that what the place really needs, more than a pope, is a good CEO. Whether or not you are a practicing Catholic, this book is sure to challenge many of the assumptions you currently hold about the Vatican.
John Thavis, a native of Minnesota, spent more than twenty-five years as a journalist covering the Vatican, and eventually rose to the position of Catholic News Service Bureau chief. In addition to his service to the Vatican, Thavis has worked as a journalist for the Associated Press, ABC News, and the Wine Spectator. He retired in 2012 to return to the United States and devote his full attention to writing. The Vatican Diaries is the first product of that retirement.
A revealing inside
look at one of the world’s most powerful and mysterious institutions
For more than twenty-five years John Thavis held one of the
most fascinating journalistic jobs in the world: reporting on the inner
workings of the Vatican. His daily exposure to the power, politics, and personalities
in the seat of Roman Catholicism gave him a unique, behind-the-scenes
perspective on an institution that is far less monolithic and unified than it
first appears. Thavis reveals Vatican City as a place where Curia cardinals
fight private wars, scandals threaten to undermine papal authority, and
reverence for the past is continually upended by the practical considerations
of modern life.
Thavis takes listeners from a bell tower high above St.
Peter’s to the depths of the basilica and the saint’s burial place, from the
politicking surrounding the election of a new pope and the ever-growing sexual
abuse scandals around the world to controversies about the Vatican’s stand on
contraception and more.
sharply written, and witty, The Vatican Diaries will appeal not only to
Catholics—lapsed as well as devout—but to anyone interested in international
diplomacy and the role of religion in an increasingly secularized world.
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