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The biographer of Pope John Paul II (Witness to Hope) chronicles the transition between John Paul's papacy and that of his successor, Pope Benedict XVI, in this blend of history, biography, analysis and forecasting. Readers familiar with John Paul's papacy will be tempted to skip over the first three chapters summarizing the late pope's life, plunging instead into what Weigel has to say about the new pontiff and how he was elected in one of the shortest conclaves in papal history. Of particular interest is Weigel's diary of the conclave, which combines his own observations with those of journalists, Vatican officials and cardinal-electors, none of whom, he attests, violated the oath of confidentiality in talking with him. His insights into Benedict are compelling and defy the caricature of the former cardinal as "God's Rottweiler." In a look toward the future church Benedict has the potential to shape, Weigel suggests the new pope is not likely to bring about revolutionary change in the area of liturgy and theological dissent, but could introduce reforms in such areas as Vatican diplomacy, the curial structure and the selection of bishops. The author's access to sources in and around the Vatican paired with his accessible writing style make this good reading for a broad audience.
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ISBN-10:  0066213312
ISBN-13:  978-0066213316
Author:  George Weigel
Genre:  Religion & Spirituality
Publisher:  HarperCollins
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review by . January 01, 2006
I've read a number of books about the conclave that elected Pope Benedict XVI, and they clearly have a common template: chronicle John Paul II's final illness; describe the state of the Church at the time of his death; review the history of conclaves and the changes introduced by John Paul; recount the events of the conclave itself; provide a capsule biography of Joseph Ratzinger; assess the future of the Church with particular emphasis on the challenges the new pontiff faces. George Weigel's book …
review by . December 21, 2005
The presentation contains a detailed explanation of the  Pope John Paul II legacy up through his death and the Conclave.  Some of the details of Pope John Paul II's reign include:  - a plethora of encyclicals and apostolic letters  - 482 new saints  - a 1986 visit to the Synagogue of Rome  - the 2-22-96 Universi Dominici Gregio which shaped the Conclave    At first, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger feared the prospect of  serving …
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