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All the Pope's Men: The Inside Story of How the Vatican Really Thinks
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All the Pope's Men: The Inside Story of How the Vatican Really Thinks

3.84  ·  Rating details ·  107 Ratings  ·  17 Reviews
A fascinating and enlightening look at the world’s oldest and most mysterious institution, written by an American journalist with unparalleled knowledge about the Vatican's past and present.

The sexual abuse scandals that shook American and British Catholicism in 2002 brought to light a long-standing cultural gap between the English-speaking Catholic world and the Vatican.
Paperback, 400 pages
Published October 17th 2006 by Image (first published July 13th 2004)
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keong nakal
Aug 13, 2007 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: all
and the truth shall set you free...
Feb 28, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: academic
A very matter-of-fact approach to the operations of the Vatican that is designed to act as a guide for the culturally Anglo-Saxon. It is a very human institution and Allen Jr doesn't necessarily seek to justify mistakes made, but explain the different operating reference that produced it and remind his (mostly American audience) that the world, as far as the Vatican is concerned does not revolve around the United States.
May 26, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Read this in prep for my trip to Rome, Italy and wanted to understand the catholic religion better.
Mar 03, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
OK, to begin with: I LOVE a Conclave. Always have. Always will. Not totally sure where this fascination comes from -- I'm not Catholic, etc. but I have been fascinated by Conclaves since 1978 when we had two, sadly. I still remember who I wanted both times (Cardinal Benelli) and who I did NOT want (Cardinal Siri). That interest in Conclaves extends to an interest in the Curia, in the Vatican bureaucracy. And this is where this book comes in.

But it is so much more than that, and that is what mak
Roger Buck
Jun 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have reviewed this book in great depth with long quotes at my website here:

It seems too much to paste in this huge review, but here are the first few paragraphs, which hopefully give an idea as to why I believe this is book is both great and necessary

"It is hard to contain my enthusiasm for John L Allen’s book: All the Pope’s Men. It represents exactly what is most needed in the tragic situation of the Catholic Church’s communication with our media-satu
Mary Norris
Oct 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Though this book took a while to engage my interest because of numerous pages of definitions and interrelationships of structures and ranks within Catholic governance, the remainder of the book easily kept my interest. I was intensely interested in Allen's detailed and even-handed reasoning about differences in the ways the American church and the Vatican responded to the crisis caused by sexual abuse of children by U.S. Catholic priests. This was a long part of the book but very en
Marsha Altman
Sep 25, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the best book on the modern Vatican (as opposed to the many history books on the previous centuries, which had many more exciting scandals and bad Popes) as it is in the 21st century. Interestingly, the author spends a good deal of time on Ratzinger, who when he wrote it was only a Cardinal because John Paul II was still alive, making the text even more important now that Ratzinger is Pope. Lengthy discussions on the Vatican's philosophy, how it actually works financially, and how it vie ...more
Nancy Jurss
Informative book on how the Vatican functions. The first half gives an overview of the the departments and their functions and how they are structured.

The second half uses the sexual abuse crisis and the Iraq war as examples of how the Vatican works more specifically.

John Allen has covered the Vatican closely for a very long time and gives a very balanced account of why the reacted as they did.
Catherine McClelland
The uthor gives a good overview of how the Vatican operates and thinks. The author himself is a Catholic and his bias in favor of the Vatican is evident. That being said, the Catholic hierarchy is an antiquated system that works from the premise of being the only organization in the right. Though the author defends Catholic response to the child abuse scandal, I am horrified by their misinterpretation of what had happened. That is at least the opinion I take away from this book.
Nov 01, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone wanting to know more about the Vatican, specifically
Shelves: spirituality
Reading this book allowed me to understand the world from the Vatican's perspective, especially in light of the fact that we're speaking of a 2,000 year old institution with a rather fixed set of traditions and norms. Being Catholic, I'm glad I read it and it actually helped me cope better with some of the things I perceive as off-base and out-of-touch about my own church.
Beth A
Jul 29, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Terrific book if you want to learn how the Holy See really works in the Vatican. Enjoyed a guest lecture by John Allen while in Rome last week. He's a great speaker and this is a great book--tons of insider views and knowledge.
Anne Roat
Oct 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great information on Opus Dei...very balanced
Jan 05, 2010 is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
Easy-to-read nonfiction on the inner workings of the Vatican: structure, how things work, ...
Apr 04, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Too much dry information!!
Jun 30, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Allen is the Vatican correspondent for NPR and CNN. Here he covers how the Vatican thinks and operates, dispelling and debunking many a myth and stereotype in the process.
Jul 08, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Good book about trying to bridge the specifically American thinking to the Vatican thinking. But repetitive. Reading about half-way is enough.
Raul Ubieta
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Oct 10, 2011
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Francis Baraan IV
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John L. Allen, Jr. (born 1965) is an American journalist serving as associate editor of the website Crux: Covering all things Catholic, specializing in news about the Catholic Church in partnership with the Catholic fraternal organization the Knights of Columbus.
More about John L. Allen Jr....