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. Read more...
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The revealing "New York Times" bestseller examines the reign of Pope Benedict, the papal conclave, and the history of one of the world's oldest and most 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 readers 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.
Perceptive, sharply written, and witty, "The Vatican Diaries" will appeal not only to Catholics (lapsed as well as devout) but to any readers interested in international diplomacy and the role of religion in an increasingly secularized world.
- ISBN-13: 9780670026715
- ISBN-10: 0670026719
- Publisher: Viking Books
- Publish Date: February 2013
- Page Count: 336
- Reading Level: Ages 18-UP
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2013-02-25
- Reviewer: Staff
"I'm convinced that the backstage reality at the Vatican is infinitely more interesting than the caricature of power and authority that dominates the mainstream media," writes Thavis, former Rome bureau chief at the Catholic News Service. His entertaining and readable book proves his point. Focusing on the reigns of John Paul II and Benedict XVI (neither of whom come off well here), Thavis reveals a great deal about how the Vatican bumbles along. Each chapter focuses on a particular mishap, so readers are sure to be intrigued, whether by "Bones"—the story of how a priceless archeological find almost fell to the expansion of the Vatican's parking spaces—or a profile of Father Reginald Foster, the Vatican's rebellious, mouthy (and deeply gifted) chief Latinist. The controversies surrounding the sainthood of Pope Pius XII, the ultra-conservative Society of St. Pius X, and the Catholic church's struggles with birth control, AIDS, homosexuality, and celibacy are also all included, revealing just how political the Vatican really is. Given such insight, readers may wish that Thavis had provided his own perspective on if, and how, he kept his own faith while working in such an environment. (Mar.)