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message 1: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44207 comments Mod
This is the thread which will be devoted to the discussion of the history of Catholicism and related topics.

message 2: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited Sep 15, 2010 10:31PM) (new)

Bentley | 44207 comments Mod
Papal visit: Pope to begin historic UK trip

The first state visit by a Pope to the UK gets under way later when Benedict XVI flies into Edinburgh.

He will meet the Queen at Holyrood House and parade through the city before an open-air Mass in Glasgow.

Tens of thousands of people are expected to line the streets to catch a glimpse of the Roman Catholic leader.

Some ticketed events during the four-day trip have not sold out and protests are planned over Vatican policies on birth control, gay rights and abortion.

The visit is the first to the UK by a Pontiff since John Paul II in 1982.

Remainder of article on BBC News:

Jesus of Nazareth by Pope Benedict XVI God Is Love (Deus Caritas Est) (Benedict XVI) by Pope Benedict XVI Saved in Hope Spe Salvi by Pope Benedict XVI The Spirit of the Liturgy by Pope Benedict XVI Introduction To Christianity (Communio Books) by Pope Benedict XVI Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church by Pope Benedict XVI Pope Benedict XVI Servant of the Truth by Brian McNeil Salt of the Earth The Church at the End of the Millennium An Interview With Peter Seewald by Pope Benedict XVI Truth And Tolerance Christian Belief And World Religions by Pope Benedict XVI God Is Near Us The Eucharist, the Heart of Life by Pope Benedict XVI Love in Truth Caritas in Veritate by Pope Benedict XVI In the Beginning... A Catholic Understanding of the Story of Creation and the Fall (Resourcement) by Pope Benedict XVI The Apostles The Origin of the Church and Their Co-Workers by Pope Benedict XVI Called to Communion Understanding the Church Today by Pope Benedict XVI Without Roots The West, Relativism, Christianity, Islam by Pope Benedict XVI Milestones Memoirs 1927-1977 by Pope Benedict XVI Ratzinger Report An Exclusive Interview on the State of the Church by Pope Benedict XVI The Dialectics of Secularization On Reason and Religion by Pope Benedict XVI Christianity and the Crisis of Cultures by Pope Benedict XVI God and the World A Conversation With Peter Seewald by Pope Benedict XVI Mary The Church at the Source by Pope Benedict XVI The Sacrament of Charity Sacramentum Caritatis by Pope Benedict XVI Theology Of Pope Benedict Xvi by Frederic P. Miller What It Means to Be a Christian Three Sermons by Pope Benedict XVI Maria Pope Benedict XVI on the Mother of God by Pope Benedict XVI Thought of Pope Benedict XVI An Introduction to the Theology of Joseph Ratzinger by Pope Benedict XVI Charity in Truth (Caritas in Veritate) by Pope Benedict XVI Saint Paul by Pope Benedict XVI The Fathers by Pope Benedict XVI Behold the Pierced One by Pope Benedict XVI Values in a Time of Upheaval by Pope Benedict XVI Eschatology Death and Eternal Life by Pope Benedict XVI Eschatology Death and Eternal Life by Pope Benedict XVI Mary God's Yes to Man Pope John Paul II Encyclical Letter Mother of the Redeemer by Pope Benedict XVI Pilgrim Fellowship Of Faith The Church As Communion by Pope Benedict XVI On Conscience Two Essays by Pope Benedict XVI On the Way to Jesus Christ by Pope Benedict XVI Feast of Faith Approaches to a Theology of the Liturgy by Pope Benedict XVI Many Religions, One Covenant Israel, the Church, and the World by Pope Benedict XVI Daughter Zion Meditations on the Church's Marian Belief by Pope Benedict XVI Jesus, the Apostles and the Early Church by Pope Benedict XVI The Yes of Jesus Christ Exercises in Faith, Hope, and Love by Pope Benedict XVI Introduction to the Catechism of the Catholic Church by Pope Benedict XVI The Meaning of Christian Brotherhood by Pope Benedict XVI The Nature and Mission of Theology Essays to Orient Theology in Today's Debates by Pope Benedict XVI The Church, Ecumenism and Politics New Endeavors in Ecclesiology by Pope Benedict XVI The Legacy of John Paul II Images & Memories by Pope Benedict XVI Gospel, Catechesis, Catechism Sidelights on the Catechism of the Catholic Church by Pope Benedict XVI Seek That Which Is Above Meditations Through the Year by Pope Benedict XVI Images of Hope Meditations on Major Feasts by Pope Benedict XVI Breakfast with Benedict by Pope Benedict XVI Europe Today and Tomorrow by Pope Benedict XVI Theology of History In St. Bonaventure by Pope Benedict XVI The Fathers, Vol. II by Pope Benedict XVI New Outpourings of the Spirit by Pope Benedict XVI Dogma and Preaching by Pope Benedict XVI The Blessing of Christmas Meditations for the Season by Pope Benedict XVI Handing on the Faith in an Age of Disbelief by Pope Benedict XVI The Church Fathers From Clement of Rome to Augustine by Pope Benedict XVI

by Pope Benedict XVI Pope Benedict XVI

Note: He must be very prolific otherwise he has a lot of ghost writers and/or assistants.

message 4: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44207 comments Mod

A Concise History of the Catholic Church by Thomas Bokenkotter Thomas Bokenkotter

The Compact History of the Catholic Church by Alan Schreck Alan Schreck

A Popular History of the Catholic Church by Carl Koch Carl Koch

message 5: by 'Aussie Rick' (new)

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) I've just ordered a copy of John Julius Norwich's new book which is a history of the Popes. I'm a great fan of John Julius Norwich and I have seen excerpts of this book and it looks pretty good.

The Popes A History by Rt Hon/Viscount Viscount John Julius Norwich by Rt Hon/Viscount Viscount John Julius Norwich
Well known for his histories of Norman Sicily, Venice, the Byzantine Empire and the Mediterranean, John Julius Norwich has now turned his attention to the oldest continuing institution in the world, tracing the papal line down the centuries from St Peter himself – traditionally (though by no means historically) the first pope – to the present Benedict XVI.

Of the 280-odd holders of the supreme office, some have unques­tionably been saints; others have wallowed in unspeakable iniquity. One was said to have been a woman – and an English woman at that – her sex being revealed only when she improvidently gave birth to a baby during a papal procession. Pope Joan never existed (though the Church long believed she did) but many genuine pontiffs were almost as colourful: Formosus, for example, whose murdered corpse was exhumed, clothed in pontifical vestments, propped up on a throne and subjected to trial; or John XII of whom Gibbon wrote: 'his rapes of virgins and widows deterred female pilgrims from visiting the shrine of St Peter lest, in the devout act, they should be violated by his successor.’

Others earned respect, including Leo the Great who protected Rome from the Huns and the Goths, and Gregory the Great who struggled manfully with the emperor for supremacy. After calamitous crusades, and 70-year exile in Avignon, came the larger-than-life pontiffs of the Renassiance – the Borgias and the Medicis ('God has given us the papacy; let us now enjoy it'). Pius VII had to contend with Napoleon, Pius IX to steer the papacy through the storm of the Risorgimento. John Julius Norwich brings the story up-to-date with lively investigations into the anti-semitism of Pius XII, the possible murder of John Paul I and the phenomenon of the Polish John Paul II. From here the glories of the Byznatium to the decay of Rome, from the Albigensian Heresy to sexual misbehaviour within the Church today, the pace never slackens.

John Julius Norwich, an agnostic with no religious axe to grind, has a thrilling and important tale to tell – and in this rich, authoritative book he does it full justice.

"Norwich certainly has an eye for the tiny detail that illuminates a whole character." - Daily Mail

"While this is a big book on a complex topic, it is a manageable one, displaying urbane literary skill." - The Tablet

"A highly readable book." - The Sunday Times

"Rattlingly stylish." - Tribune Magazine

"light spring reading for the serious-minded." - The Spectator

"to keep such a light touch, without sacrificing academic seriousness, is a distinct achievement." - The Independent

"sharp, fun and wonderfully energetic." - The Scotsman

"entertaining." - The Sunday Telegraph

"..'charming and learned'...'The prose is elegant, the witticisms are plentiful, and the volume's enthusiasm is addictive'." - BBC History Magazine, Jonathan Wright

"One of the most bizarre and enjoyable history books I've ever read." - Daily Express, Duncan Fallowell

"Stylish and enjoyably opinionated." - Observer, Diarmaid MacCulloch

message 6: by Becky (last edited May 20, 2012 06:47PM) (new)

Becky (httpsbeckylindrooswordpresscom) | 1217 comments The Kidnapping of Edgardo Mortara by David I. Kertzer by David I. Kertzer (no photo)

In 19th century Italy little crimes were committed involving young Catholic maids to Jewish families. The girls would secretly baptize the babies and then, to make matters worse, they would tell their parish priest. The priest would sometimes inform his Bishop and the Bishop would inform Rome. Rome would have no option - the then Catholic child would be kidnapped.

This is what happened to young Edgardo Mortara and it set off a firestorm across Europe fanned by a public now reading political pamphlets and newspapers.

David Kertzer has gone on to write many books on the issues of 19th and 20th century Italy but this book is classic, incredibly well researched, wonderfully well written and I highly recommend it.David I. Kertzer

message 7: by 'Aussie Rick' (new)

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) I came across this book today and bought a copy as it looks like an interesting account of the Papacy:

Keepers of the Keys of Heaven A History of the Papacy by Roger Collins by Roger Collins
One of the most enduring and influential of all human institutions, the papacy has also been amongst the most controversial. No one who seeks to make sense of modern issues within Christendom—or, indeed, world history—can neglect the vital shaping role of the popes.

In Keepers of the Keys of Heaven, eminent religion scholar Roger Collins offers a masterful account of the entire arc of papal history—from the separation of the Greek and Latin churches to the contemporary controversies that threaten the unity of the one billion-strong worldwide Catholic community. A definitive and accessible guide to what is arguably the world’s most vaunted office, Keepers of the Keys of Heaven is essential reading for anyone interested in the role of faith in the shaping of our world.

"Keepers of the Keys of Heaven is an immensely readable treatment of one of the world’s most important institutions. Few historians write as engagingly and wittily as Roger Collins. There is not a dull word in this spectacular triumph of accessible scholarship." - Alexander McCall Smith

"Drawing on Vatican archives, accounts from papal ambassadors, spies and historians, the character and policies of the popes, from the obscure to the celebrated, are explained. Collins also addresses the crisis of the Reformation and current debates on the future of the Church, and presents an objective, revealing account of the impact and growth of the pope’s power." - History Magazine

"The book is a good read; its prose is vigorous and limpid. [Collins] has a good eye for some types of narrative detail, such as delightful factoids of papal history, the ins and outs of papal elections and the maneuverings of cardinals." - Theological Studies

message 8: by 'Aussie Rick' (new)

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) Here is another very interesting book covering the history of the Popes:

Saints and Sinners A History of the Popes (Yale Nota Bene) by Eamon Duffy by Eamon Duffy
“A sumptuous feast of popes and kings, nimbly prepared by historian Duffy, a fellow at Magdelen College, Cambridge. This book is intended as a tie-in to a six-part British television series on the history of the papacy, scheduled to appear on the History Channel in the spring of 1998. For a companion volume, this history is surprisingly dense and sophisticated. More important, although Duffy certainly remarks on the papacy's more salacious past (like Boniface's comment that sex with boys or women was no more sinful than ``rubbing one hand against another''), he never stoops to a tabloidesque fascination with the all-too-human foibles of the pontiffs. Rather, Duffy uses the evolving institution of the papacy from Peter to John Paul II as a lens through which to view two millennia of Western civilization. He profiles the missionary activity of the early Church, the consolidation of power with the bishop of Rome (who became the acknowledged pope), the emergence of monastic reform, the schism with Constantinople, the ``Babylonian Captivity'' of the papacy in 14th-century Avignon, Luther's protest, and the Catholic Reformation that met his challenge. If the last third of the book seems to lose some of its energy, it might be because, as Duffy subtly observes, the modern papacy is a quite different institution than its predecessor. Shorn of political power and the most obvious signs of avarice, it now commands a holy respect. Duffy claims that the current pope asserts ``a spiritual status . . . greater than at any time since the high Middle Ages.'' With its 150 well-chosen illustrations, 100 of them in color, this is a coffee-table book that transcends its genre.” - Kirkus Reviews

"A minor masterpiece which is everything good, popular history ought to be... The most comprehensive single-volume history of the popes in print." - John Adamson, Sunday Telegraph

"... will intrigue the faithful as well as the skeptical." - Economist

"Duffy enlivens the long march through church history with anecdotes that bring the different pontiffs to life... Saints and Sinners is a remarkable achievement." - Piers Paul Read, 9The Times, London)

"Will fascinate anyone wishing to better understand the history of the Catholic Church and the forces that have shaped the role of the papacy." - Gloria J. Tysl, Christian Century"

message 9: by Alisa (new)

Alisa (mstaz) Reading this now and it is quite interesting, about exorcism and the Catholic Church. There is controversy about this within the Catholic church, and the author points out some of those differences, among other things.

The Rite The Making of a Modern Day Exorcist by Matt Baglio Matt Baglio
In 2005 a Vatican-run university opened its doors to priests from around the world, running a course for would-be exorcists. Looking for a story, Rome-based investigative journalist Matt Baglio attended the class, and there met Father Gary Thomas - a Californian priest who had been chosen to attend by his bishop. Father Gary was concerned that many of the 'possessed' were in reality suffering from psychological disorders best left to the care of doctors. How and why his view changed is the subject of this book. We follow Father Gary's year-long training with a senior exorcist as he is transformed from a doubter into a believer. Baglio gained unprecedented access to this world, including participating in exorcisms and culminating with Fr. Gary's own fearsome confrontation with the Devil. Woven into his story is the fascinating history of exorcism, its rites and rituals, and the ways and reasons that people become possessed. Matt Baglio speaks to psychologists and detectives, as well as Vatican clergy, to wrinkle out the truth about this most Gothic of subjects. THE RITE is proof that the truth about demonic possession is not only stranger than fiction, but far more chilling.

message 10: by 'Aussie Rick' (new)

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) Hi Alisa, I've ordered a copy of this book for my daughter after we watched the recent movie, an interesting tale :)

The Rite The Making of a Modern Exorcist by Matt Baglio by Matt Baglio

message 11: by Jill (new)

Jill Hutchinson (bucs1960) I will be adding that one to my TBR listing....thanks for the synopsis. I had the idea that the movie was just another horror film and did not know that it was based on the book you cited. Although a member of the Church, I have mixed feelings about possession and will be interested in the research done by the author.

The Rite The Making of a Modern Exorcist by Matt Baglio byMatt Baglio

message 12: by 'Aussie Rick' (last edited Dec 25, 2011 03:27PM) (new)

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) I have just stumbled across this book which isn't in my normal field of reading but it looks like a very interesting piece of history:

Entity by Eric Frattini by Eric Frattini
The Holy Alliance, later 'The Entity', a secret spy service, has been used by the Vatican for over five centuries to carry out its will. Forty popes have relied on it to carry out their policies. Yet it has played a hitherto invisible role while it has been involved in de-Christianisations and schisms, revolutions and dictators, colonialisations and explusions, persecutions and attacks, civil wars and world wars, assassination and kidnappings. For the first time in English, Eric Frattini tells the comprehensive tale of this sacred secret service and its involvement in the killings of monarchs, poisonings of diplomats, financing of South American dictators, protection of war criminals, laundering of mafia money, manipulation of financial markets, provocation of bank failures, and financing of arms sales to combatants even as their wars were condemned, all in the name of God. As remarkable as it is powerful, the history of this organisation that holds the motto 'With the Cross and the Sword' will shock and amaze.

"A true story that surpasses any novel by John le Carre" - El Pais

"A must read." - El Universal

"Through his meticulously documented research into five centuries of history, Eric Frattini gives us an exclusive look at the hidden face of the papacy - revelations that send a chill up the spine." - Le Monde

message 13: by Geevee (new)

Geevee 'Aussie Rick' wrote: "I've just ordered a copy of John Julius Norwich's new book which is a history of the Popes. I'm a great fan of John Julius Norwich and I have seen excerpts of this book and it looks pretty good...."

Just starting this The Popes A History by John Julius Norwich by John Julius Norwich John Julius Norwich, and is described by the author as a political, cultural and social history for the average reader: believer or unbeliever.

message 14: by Scott (last edited Feb 24, 2012 09:20AM) (new)

Scott | 134 comments I recently finished Absolute Monarchs A History of the Papacy by John Julius Norwich John Julius Norwich John Julius Norwich

It covered the same topic as your book, and it was entertaining and balanced.
Also, after the discussion of iconclasts in the the Byzantine Empire.Judith Herrin Judith Herrin Byzantium The Surprising Life Of A Medieval Empire by Judith Herrin .
I read a book on the history of the mariology of the Roman Church:

Alone of All Her Sex by Marina Warner Marina Warner Marina Warner

It explained the originals of dogma such as the Immaculate Conception of Mary's birth; and the Domation of Mary, that is, that she never died, but was taken into Heaven as was Jesus and Isiah. There was not too much on the recent movement to make Mary the Co-Redemptrix along with Jesus.Marina Warner[

message 15: by Scott (new)

Scott | 134 comments Becky wrote: "The Kidnapping of Edgardo Mortara by David I. Kertzer by David I. Kertzer David I. Kertzer

In 19th century Italy little crimes were committed involving young Ca..."

This goes on my TBR list. I just order "The Rite" and The Entity".

message 16: by Alisa (last edited Feb 24, 2012 09:55AM) (new)

Alisa (mstaz) Scott, remember that when you mention a book to cite it using the book cover, author photo (when available) and author link. it is important for others to see which specific books you are referring to, even if you are referring to books posted earlier in the thread. In the case of The Entity I took a guess, so please check it.

The Rite The Making of a Modern Exorcist by Matt Baglio by Matt Baglio
The Entity Five Centuries of Secret Vatican Espionage by Eric Frattini by Eric Frattini Eric Frattini

Great additions.

message 17: by Geevee (last edited Feb 24, 2012 12:24PM) (new)

Geevee Thanks Scott - I'm 100 pages into it and finding it very interesting.

The Popes A History by John Julius Norwich by John Julius Norwich John Julius Norwich

message 18: by Jill (new)

Jill Hutchinson (bucs1960) Pope Pius XII has been the center of controversy regarding his actions during WWII. Below are two books which show two sides of the collaboration questions.

The Myth of Hitler's Pope

The Myth of Hitler's Pope Pope Pius XII And His Secret War Against Nazi Germany by David G. Dalin by David G. Dalin

In 1999, John Cornwell excoriated Pope Pius II as "Hitler's Pope." In this book, Rabbi David G. Dalin provides a ringing defense of the wartime pontiff, arguing that Holocaust-era Jews justly regarded Pius as their protector, not their tormentor.


A Special Mission

A Special Mission Hitler's Secret Plot to Seize the Vatican and Kidnap Pope Pius XII by Dan Kurzman by Dan Kurzman


In September, 1943, Adolf Hitler, furious at the ouster of Mussolini, sent German troops into Rome and ordered SS General Karl Wolff, who had been Heinrich Himmler’s chief aide, to occupy the Vatican and kidnap (and, perhaps, kill) Pope Pius XII. At the same time plans were being made to deport Rome’s Jews to Auschwitz, Wolff began playing a dangerous game: stalling Hitler’s plot against the pope, whom he hoped would save him from the noose in case Germany lost the war. To save Pius, Wolff and fellow conspirators blackmailed him into silence when the Jews were rounded up, hoping that Hitler would rescind his order. This tale of intrigue and betrayal is one of the most important untold stories of World War II. Dan Kurzman was the first journalist to have interviewed General Wolff following his release from prison after the war. And this is the only book to tell the full behind-the-scenes story of the plot against the Vatican and its far-reaching consequences

message 19: by Jill (new)

Jill Hutchinson (bucs1960) We have all seen things in everyday objects but this book concentrates on holy images that appear in the strangest places. It is humorous without casting aspersions on the faith of those who see these images.

Look! It's Jesus

Look! It's Jesus! Amazing Holy Visions in Everyday Life by Harry Choron by Harry Choron


Every day, Jesus, the Virgin Mary, and Mother Teresa appear to people in the most unlikely of places. From grilled cheese sandwiches to beehives to frying pans, these 100% authentic visions are enlightening and always amazing. Featuring an eye-catching lenticular cover as well as testimony from the real people who discovered these miraculous images, Look! It's Jesus! reminds us that a miracle can happen at any moment.

message 20: by Alisa (new)

Alisa (mstaz) Picked this up recently, am very curious about this . . .

Hitler's Pope
Hitler's Pope by John Cornwell by John Cornwell
This devastating account of the ecclesiastical career of Eugenio Pacelli (1876-1958), who became Pope Pius XII in 1939, is all the more powerful because British historian John Cornwell maintains throughout a measured though strongly critical tone. After World War II, murmurs of Pacelli's callous indifference to the plight of Europe's Jews began to be heard. A noted commentator on Catholic issues, Cornwell began research for this book believing that "if his full story were told, Pius XII's pontificate would be exonerated." Instead, he emerged from the Vatican archives in a state of "moral shock," concluding that Pacelli displayed anti-Semitic tendencies early on and that his drive to promote papal absolutism inexorably led him to collaboration with fascist leaders. Cornwell convincingly depicts Cardinal Secretary of State Pacelli pursuing Vatican diplomatic goals that crippled Germany's large Catholic political party, which might otherwise have stymied Hitler's worst excesses. The author's condemnation has special force because he portrays the admittedly eccentric Pacelli not as a monster but as a symptom of a historic wrong turn in the Catholic Church. He meticulously builds his case for the painful conclusion that "Pacelli's failure to respond to the enormity of the Holocaust was more than a personal failure, it was a failure of the papal office itself and the prevailing culture of Catholicism."

message 21: by Jill (new)

Jill Hutchinson (bucs1960) I wonder how that book compares to the two I mentioned in post #18. There seems to be a divergence of opinion as to the role Pope Pius XII played during WWII.

message 22: by Alisa (new)

Alisa (mstaz) Yes, you would expect the topic to be controversial, that's for sure. Do we ever really know what happens at The Vatican? Makes you wonder.

message 23: by Alisa (new)

Alisa (mstaz) The Vatican Diaries: A Behind-the-Scenes Look at the Power, Personalities, and Politics at the Heart of the Catholic Church

The Vatican Diaries A Behind-the-Scenes Look at the Power, Personalities, and Politics at the Heart of the Catholic Church by John Thavis by John Thavis

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.

message 24: by Jill (last edited Feb 28, 2013 11:08AM) (new)

Jill Hutchinson (bucs1960) Today Pope Benedict made his last public appearance and will step down as leader of the Catholic Church at 8:00 Rome time. This is only the second time that a Pope has ever retired, the last being over 600 years ago. The retirement of the Pope has the world asking questions about "why". What are your thoughts about the reason for this historic move?

message 25: by Alisa (new)

Alisa (mstaz) I suspect there is a lot we don't know about the real reasons he is "retiring", which may or may not have any relation to his health.

message 26: by Daniel (new)

Daniel | 22 comments Jill wrote: "Today Pope Benedict made his last public appearance and will step down as leader of the Catholic Church at 8:00 Rome time. This is only the second time that a Pope has ever retired, the last being ..."

A lot of ex-catholics (in Europe and North America) are wondering about the ability of the Church to renew itself. Both Jean-Paul II and Benedict XVI have maintained very conservative positions such as being against: condoms (a major health issue), marriage of the priests, contraception, women being accepted in the priesthood, divorce...Church hierarchy lives in another age. Do they have the courage to reform or do they prefer to continue losing market share? As a footnote 30% of Quebecers believe in God compared with 60%+ in the USA. That is the challenge.

message 27: by Jill (new)

Jill Hutchinson (bucs1960) Very well put, Daniel. The Church needs a proactive Pope who will begin to address some of the issues that you mentioned. It is faced with a hard choice.....modify some of the current policies/beliefs which would bring new and lapsed members back into the fold....or continue the conservative stance and continue to lose membership. It will be extremely interesting to see what type of Pope is elected when the white smoke rises.

message 28: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44207 comments Mod
There have been some interesting articles on the BBC which I will post here because I would love to hear some comments.

Benedict XVI resignation: The two-pope problem
By Michael Walsh
Papal historian

The Pope has resigned because he felt he was no longer up to the demands the office made on him.

That hasn't happened in 600 years.

In 1294 the hermit Pietro da Morrone, elevated to the papacy with the title of Celestine V because the cardinals couldn't agree on anyone else, felt likewise after only six months in the job, and gave up.

He wanted to return to his hermitage, but Boniface VIII, his successor, thought it wiser to lock him up in a convenient castle for the rest of his life, fearing he might become a rallying-point for the disaffected.

And, as it turned out, there was no shortage of disaffection during Boniface's pontificate.

One of the arguments marshalled by Boniface's many enemies was that, because popes could not resign, he wasn't the legitimate heir to St Peter.

Electing an antipope?

That may have been a long time ago but the same arguments are beginning to appear.

Benedict will continue to wear white robes - but not red leather loafers
Two distinguished Italian theologians have called on Benedict XVI to withdraw his resignation, one arguing he ought not to resign, the other claiming a pope cannot resign.

In the latter case, when the cardinals proceed to elect a successor they are, according to Enrico Maria Radaelli, electing an antipope, an impostor on the chair of St Peter.

There are those in the Church who well might exploit such ambiguities were the new pontiff to choose a very different path from that of his predecessor on, for example, the role of women in the Church or - rather less contentious - the promotion of the traditional Latin liturgy.

And outside the Church, a schismatic group called the Society of St Pius X has long been on the verge of declaring a "sede vacante", of claiming that the pope was not a legitimate successor to St Peter because he had accepted the teachings - as they do not - of the Second Vatican Council of the early 1960s.

Benedict laboured hard to bring them back into the Catholic Church, far too hard in the eyes of some, but finally failed.

The collapse of negotiations occurred not long before Benedict announced his resignation, and may have contributed to his sense of weariness.

The Society of Pius X remains a separate Church, attracting disaffected Catholics, yet another division within Christianity.

Papal status

Very oddly, the Vatican, in conjunction with Benedict himself, has decided to make matters unnecessarily complicated.

A (very) short lesson in Catholic theology is necessary here: the rank of deacon, priest and bishop is regarded as sacramental, on a par with baptism or marriage. A bishop can resign his job, as can a priest, but theologically, says the Church, they are still bishops or priests.

But being pope, however, is an office, it is not a sacramental status.

The pope is pope because he is bishop of Rome. He can stop being bishop of Rome (all other bishops are expected to submit their resignation at 75), and therefore can stop being pope.

No problem there.

Many people expected that Papa Ratzinger would revert back to being Cardinal Ratzinger, which is what happened to two rival popes in 1415.

Instead of that sensible solution, it has been announced he will be "Pontiff emeritus", dress in white and be called "Your Holiness", hopelessly muddying the waters and making him appear a quasi, alternative pope.

What about Georg?

The confusion gets worse. Benedict is keeping his private secretary, Archbishop Georg Gaenswein.

But Archbishop Gaenswein is also currently head of the papal household and therefore papal gatekeeper, though it is likely the incoming pontiff will make a new appointment. Benedict will continue to live in the Vatican.

The new pope may well find such proximity uncomfortable, feeling obliged to consult him especially on subjects Benedict made his own, the creation of the "Ordinariat" to receive Romeward-bound Anglicans, for example, or the controversial reintroduction of Latin into the Catholic liturgy.

Benedict has indicated that he will henceforth live in seclusion: he was always happier with his books (and cats) than with people, so that should not be too much of a burden.

He intends to write. He was always insistent, as Pope, that his theological writings came from the pen of Joseph Ratzinger rather than that of Benedict XVI, though one can't help feeling the office helped the sales.

And perhaps there is no realistic alternative to the Mater Ecclesiae convent in the Vatican grounds for his residence.

Were Benedict to leave the security of the Vatican City and return, say, to his beloved Regensburg, some might attempt to sue him with failing to handle properly the clerical abuse cases which came before him, while others might turn his residence into a shrine, a rallying place for dissent from any new departure by the incoming pontiff.

But there are legitimate questions about his title of pontiff emeritus. It opens him to accusations of pride, when he has hitherto been widely praised for his humility.

Source: BBC - Michael Walsh is a papal historian and author of several books about the Papacy, including The Popes: 50 celebrated occupants of the throne of St Peter

message 29: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44207 comments Mod
50 Celebrated Occupants of the Throne of St. Peter

Popes 50 Celebrated Occupants of the Throne of St. Peter by Michael J. Walsh by Michael J. Walsh


The papacy is as old as the Christian Church itself, and a crucial influence on the political history of medieval and modern Europe.

Pope Leo III's coronation of Charlemagne established the first real imperial power in the West since the fall of Rome and created the model for what would become the Holy Roman Empire; Pope Gregory VII's dispute with the German Emperor over the appointment of church officials exerted a huge influence on the course of medieval German history; the preaching of Pope Urban II led to the First Crusade and centuries of war between the Christian West and Islam; in the 20th century Pope Pius XI signed the Lateran Treaty with Italy, establishing the Vatican City as a sovereign state. And even today, the Roman Catholic Church's teaching - as expressed through papal pronouncements on matters as diverse as abortion, contraception, terrorism and the problem of global poverty - continues to impact on the lives of billions of people around the world. The 256 occupants of the throne of St Peter have included saints, visionaries, voluptuaries, rogues and cowards; papal lives have embraced a moral spectrum from priestly abstinence and rectitude to worldly excess and depravity.

The history and mystique of the papacy exerts a profound fascination for Christians and non-Christians alike. The Popes contains 50 lively biographical essays profiling the greatest occupants of the throne of St Peter, from St Peter himself to John Paul II. Each papal life dovetails with the next, creating an integrated overview of some 2000 years of papal history.

The essays can be read as self-contained portraits of individual papal lives, or as a larger narrative chronicling the history of the most important institution of the Christian Church. The Popes is a richly rewarding introduction to an engrossing subject.

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Papal conclave: Cormac Murphy-O'Connor's insider's view

By Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor
Archbishop Emeritus of Westminster

When you go into the Conclave it's very strange: you're cut off, you can't bring a telephone and you are guarded.

During those days you have secret meetings with other cardinals to discuss names of possible Popes - what challenges there are for the Church and who might be most suitable to face them.

So it was in that way I came to a conclusion as to who I'd vote for - at least in the beginning.

Without giving anything away, I can say certainly there were Third World, Latin American concerns - not so much candidates but concerns - regarding poverty, and the Church on the side of the poor.

These were very much on a lot of the cardinals' minds.

The most momentous bit was processing into the Sistine Chapel, which is quite dramatic with all the cardinals dressed in scarlet.

Someone says "Extra omnes" - which means "Everyone out" - leaving just the cardinal-electors before the door closes with a thud.

I remember looking around at all of the other 114 cardinals and thinking: "One of us will be going out with a white cassock on."

'Do you accept?'
Three cardinals are elected to be scrutineers and one by one we'd go up with our voting slip and place it in a golden urn.

And that's a solemn moment, as above you is Michelangelo's Last Judgement.

It's very moving and something I'll always remember.

The votes are read out by the scrutineers after they've examined them.

When the majority was reached, after 77 or 78 votes, there was sort of a gasp all around, and then everyone clapped.

Cardinal Ratzinger had his head down. I think he must have said a prayer.

The senior cardinal went up to him and said: "Do you accept?"

So we all waited with bated breath.

I remember that moment very well and the silence that reigned. He looked very solemn, and not only lucid, but also calm.

And once he had said "Yes, I accept as the will of God" - that's it. He was Pope.

Dinner and songs

When he was asked what he'd call himself, he said Benedict - he must have thought about it beforehand. I think every cardinal had a name up his sleeve.

(I had two or three in mind, like Adrian, the only English Pope, or Gregory who sent Augustine to the UK - or, in fact, Benedict.)

Then he went out and there was a papal tailor outside with three white cassocks - large, medium or small.

After 10 minutes or so, Benedict came back in to the middle of the room and we all went up and kissed his ring.

And it doesn't matter how you voted - he's the Pope.

After the conclave, Benedict said, "I'd like you all to stay for dinner and we'll have a convivial dinner together."

And indeed we did... and in he comes, all dressed up. I often wondered what he felt, really. So anyway, we gave him a great clap, we had a very pleasant dinner with some champagne to drink a toast.

Then we tried some songs. It was very difficult when you have about 100 different languages to get one song... and then he went to rest.

Last conclave, the voting was over quickly. This one might take a bit more time.

Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor is the archbishop emeritus of Westminster. He voted in the conclave that elected Benedict XVI as Pope in 2005 but, as he turned 80 last August, he will be too old to vote for Benedict XVI's successor.

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All those not involved with the election are expelled from the Sistine Chapel before voting takes place

The 115 cardinal electors will file in solemn procession into the Sistine Chapel

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Daniel | 22 comments Bentley wrote: "There have been some interesting articles on the BBC which I will post here because I would love to hear some comments.

Benedict XVI resignation: The two-pope problem
By Michael Walsh
Papal hist..."

Excellent postings Bentley. Thank you

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Bentley | 44207 comments Mod
Glad you like them - what do you think the chances are for one of the Cardinals from your neck of the woods?

Archbishop of Quebec, head of Congregation for Bishops - Marc Ouellet

message 34: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44207 comments Mod
Here is one of many, many articles with what the author of these articles considers to be the front runners:

This is from USA today:

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Inside the Vatican

Inside The Vatican The Politics And Organization Of The Catholic Church by Thomas J. Reese by Thomas J. Reese


There are one billion Catholics in the world today, spread over every continent, speaking almost every conceivable language, and all answering to a single authority. The Vatican is a unique international organization, both in terms of its extraordinary power and influence, and in terms of its endurance. Popes come and go, but the elaborate and complex bureaucracy called the Vatican lives on. For centuries, it has served and sometimes undermined popes; it has been praised and blamed for the actions of the pope and for the state of the church. Yet an objective examination of the workings of the Vatican has been unavailable until now.

Drawing on more than a hundred interviews with Vatican officials, this book affords a firsthand look at the people, the politics, and the organization behind the institution. Reese brings remarkable clarity to the almost Byzantine bureaucracy of congregations, agencies, secretariats, tribunals, nunciature, and offices, showing how they serve the pope and, through him, the universal church. He gives a lively account of how popes are elected and bishops appointed, how dissident theologians are disciplined and civil authorities dealt with. Throughout, revealing and colorful anecdotes from church history and the present day bring the unique culture of the Vatican to life.

The Vatican is a fascinating institution, a model of continuity and adaptation, which remains constant while functioning powerfully in a changing world. As never before, this book provides a clear, objective perspective on how the enormously complex institution surrounding the papacy operates on a day-to-day level, how it has adapted and endured for close to two thousand years, and how it is likely to face the challenges of the next millennium

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Beautiful photo image of the Cardinals inside the Sistine Chapel

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List of Cardinals of Voting Age for the Next Conclave

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Daniel | 22 comments Bentley wrote: "Glad you like them - what do you think the chances are for one of the Cardinals from your neck of the woods?

Archbishop of Quebec, head of Congregation for Bishops - Marc Ouellet


I would not know, he is an ultra conservative person and most people here (Quebec)do not support his candidacy. He made a lot of controversial statements as archbishop of Quebec; surveys showed that the vast majority of people strongly disagreed with him. Catholicism has been strongly declining here over the last fifty years and most people do not really care. My own feeling is that the Church is unable to adapt as an institution and its processes are not conducive to nominate a tranformational leader.

message 39: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited Mar 09, 2013 04:23PM) (new)

Bentley | 44207 comments Mod
That is interesting. Wow. Do you think it is because of his being so conservative? Or were his statements off the wall about other things?

Many say he is a top contender - other than the Italian cardinal Scola and one other Italian.

I like the cardinal from the Philippines myself but they never pick someone who is more liberal or even moderate.

message 40: by Alisa (last edited Mar 09, 2013 04:45PM) (new)

Alisa (mstaz) I really wonder who will emerge. Benedict was among the most conservative and look at the huge decline during his reign to say nothing of the poor handling of the scandals. I have to think they would be smart to elect someone who has a chance at uniting and reinvigorating the following and restore the image of the church and the papacy. Long overdue and Daniel I think you are spot on in your observation that the ability of the church to adapt is suspect at best. We will see if they seize the opportunity they have now or squander it.

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Bentley | 44207 comments Mod
I wish - but the Vatican is rumored and probably rightly so to be rife with intrigue and politics. And with the old Pope right there looking over his shoulder - I would think that the leash will be short.

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Bentley | 44207 comments Mod
I found this article which may explain what Daniel was alluding to:

From The Globe and Mail (a couple of good videos too)

message 43: by Alisa (new)

Alisa (mstaz) No matter who it is, the clothes and shoes are ready and according to this article will be on site at the Vatican on Tuesday when the conclave begins. Leave it to the Italians, of course the clothes are ready!

Papal tailors prepare robes and shoes for the next Catholic leader

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Jill Hutchinson (bucs1960) Sean Patrick Cardinal O'Malley of Boston seems to be getting a lot of attention for the Papacy.

message 45: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited Mar 09, 2013 06:19PM) (new)

Bentley | 44207 comments Mod
Goodness - that would be difficult to get rid of the old Father O'Malley jokes which had or have nothing to do with the Cardinal Sean Patrick O'Malley. I think the jokesters picked the name out of hat.

Don't remember any of these awful jokes - here is one: PLEASE - THIS HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH CARDINAL O'MALLEY - JUST ONE OF THOSE OLD JOKES.

Father O'Malley was driving down to Boston when he got stopped for speeding in Medford. The highway patrol officer smelled alcohol on the priest's breath and then saw an empty wine bottle on the floor of the car.

He said, 'Father, have you been drinking?'

'Only water', replied Father O'Malley.

The policeman asked, 'Then how come I can smell wine?'

The priest looked at the bottle and said, 'Good Lord! He's done it again.'

message 46: by Alisa (new)

Alisa (mstaz) Bentley wrote: "I found this article which may explain what Daniel was alluding to:

From The Globe and Mail (a couple of good videos too)"

That's right, and I think consistent with some of the press reports this week during the cardinal meetings (before they were all told to quit talking to the press) which suggests they are looking for someone who is strong spiritually but also lauded for their managerial skills and accessibility. "Jesus with and MBA" was one reference I heard in the news. According to this article that would rule out the cardinal from Quebec, according to this article, as I see it.

message 47: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited Mar 09, 2013 06:21PM) (new)

Bentley | 44207 comments Mod
Yes, I agree Alisa after reading that article - here is a serious article about Cardinal O'Malley who Jill mentioned:

Maybe he is a dark horse if he is mentioned in the Italian Papers:

This is what the article stated:

If the readers of Italy’s paper of record, Corriere della Sera, had any say in the matter, the choice for the next pope would be clear: Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston.

Corriere today asked eight contributors, including their own Vatican beat writers as well as noted Vatican-watchers, to name their top three picks to be the next pope. O’Malley was mentioned by five of those eight experts, putting him in a tie with Odilo Pedro Scherer of Brazil, and just one mention ahead of Angelo Scola of Milan.

Two other Americans, Timothy Dolan of New York and Donald Wuerl of Washington, got one mention apiece.

Where O’Malley really separated himself from the pack was in an on-line readers’ poll on theCorriere web site. There O’Malley drew 36.7 percent of the vote, as of roughly 6:30 this evening Rome time. The Boston prelate far outpaced Scola with 17.9 percent and Luis Antonio Tagle of the Philippines with 14.3 percent.

What’s the appeal?

First of all, O’Malley is a Capuchin Franciscan, and the Franciscans are wildly popular in Italy. They’re considered the closest religious order to the poor and to ordinary people, the guys you can rely upon when the chips are down.

They’re also considered the polar opposite of the usual clerical stereotypes – not haughty or imperial, but simple, honest, and utterly unpolitical.

Second, the brief profile offered by Corriere della Sera to help voters make up their minds describes him as “one of the principal exponents of the policy against sexual abuse in the Catholic church.” At a time when the Vatican once again finds itself fighting off criticism related to the abuse scandals, that reputation looks pretty good.

His Blog:

He sounds like a wonderful guy but maybe too liberal for Italy (the Vatican). We will see.

message 48: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44207 comments Mod
An article about Cardinal Dolan (another dark horse)

message 49: by Jill (new)

Jill Hutchinson (bucs1960) Thus the problem, Bentley. The new Pope is going to have to take a serious look at reform of the Church which O'Malley would do........but the Vatican will not stand for anything that indicates liberalism and the politics within the Vatican are brutal, I would be delighted if he became Pope since the Church has got to change to bring back lapsed members and bring in new ones. In our Diocese, this is being viewed as one of the most important Papal elections in years.

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Bentley | 44207 comments Mod
I think it still might be an Italian - Scola or Ravasi (safe choices and they get along with Benedict who will still be there looking over their shoulder)

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