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Extremely informative. . .

  • Jun 19, 2002
  • by
. . .but marred in places by the author's political viewpoint.

"Conclave" is a well-written and informative book about exactly "how" the Catholic Church will go about selecting the new Pope upon the passing of Pope John Paul II. The author, a Rome-based journalist, has already been selected by Fox News as their correspondent and "expert" when the time comes. Especially helpful is the "step-by-step" description of what happens in the Vatican from the moment the Pope dies straight through his Coronation Mass. Also helpful is the information concerning the various "political parties" within the College of Cardinals and useful biographies of those Cardinals whom the author sees as papabile (those for whom election is possible).

Less helpful, and indeed off-putting, was the author's obvious bias toward the left wing of the Catholic hierarchy. This is seen, not only in his direct comments, but also in his subtle ridicule of conservative Cardinals. This ridicule is usually effected by the relating of "humorous" anecdotes which serve to make conservative Cardinals look silly. The more a Cardinal is portrayed as a moderate or liberal, the less likely the ridicule.

Other than this bit of childishness, the book is a valuable tool. But the conservative or traditionalist reader will have (many) moments of (great) annoyance.

Three stars.

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More Conclave: The Politics, Person... reviews
review by . April 04, 2005
As a general overview, I heartily endorse the review posted below by Nathaniel Avignon. However, now that the event for which this book was prepared is upon us, I would add a few points.    Allen's overview of the process and personalities of Conclave strikes this non-Catholic reader as a remarkably thorough one, and a valuable resource to keep by your television and newspaper in the coming weeks (especially since Allen himself will be showing up as a commentator on Fox News). …
review by . November 18, 2002
I can't imagine it will be long before the next conclave is called into session, and this book is a handy guide to what we can expect. It also answers the interesting question of what the Pope does with a job description that should put any Cardinal off the job. Whatever the Pope does, from the intensely spiritual to the mundane, will satisfy no one. Although Catholics are united in the Creed, we're polarized in the particulars, divided by scandal, and so spread out - geographically as well as ideologically …
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David Zampino ()
I am a 44-year-old historian and theologian.
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About this book


Timely, informative, and engaging, this volume offers a popular and understandable review of the details involved in a papal election. Written by Vatican correspondent Allen (Cardinal Radzinger: The Vatican's Enforcer of the Faith), the book is free of ecclesiastical jargon, save for some essential concepts, which are adequately addressed in the glossary. Allen begins with a 30-page job description for the next pope, then addresses several key issues that remain unresolved for John Paul II and will likely weigh heavily on the minds of the electing cardinals. The issues include collegiality, ecumenism, globalization, bioethics, and women's role in the Church. The dynamics of the conclave are discussed step by step, from the announcement of a papal illness through the first days of the new pope's reign. Political parties or camps among the cardinal electors are amply presented. Lastly, 20 leading front-running cardinals are named and profiled, while those in the "rest of the field" are each given a brief paragraph of introduction. Allen is scheduled to be an expert analyst for the Fox News network during the next conclave. Recommended for all libraries. John-Leonard Berg, Univ. of Wisconsin, Platteville
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
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ISBN-10: 0385504535
ISBN-13: 978-0385504539
Author: John L. Allen Jr.
Genre: Religion & Spirituality
Publisher: Image
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