From the author of Conclave and All the Pope’s Men comes the story of Pope John Paul II’s last days, the behind-the-scenes dynamics within the College of Cardinals that led to the choice of Joseph Ratzinger as Pope Benedict XVI.
On April 18, 2005, the College of Cardinals of the Roman Catholic Church gathered to elect a successor to Pope John Paul II. Faced with several potential candidates, the cardinals made a bold choice, entrusting the Keys of the Kingdom to 78-year-old Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger of Germany, a man whose views on the challenges facing the Church and the broader culture could not be more unambiguous, or controversial.
Questions arose as the world watched while Ratzinger was installed as Pope Benedict XVI, the 266th pontiff of the Catholic Church. Why Ratzinger? Why someone so clearly identified with the previous pope? Why not a “compromise” choice? Why a Cardinal from Western Europe and not from Africa or Latin America? What would this mean for the future of the Catholic Church?
No one can tell the story of exactly what took place during the closed doors meeting, known as the conclave, when Cardinals from around the world cast their votes for the next pope, better than John L. Allen, Jr. As a correspondent for National Catholic Reporter and a Vatican analyst for CNN and National Public Radio, Allen has spent years covering Vatican politics and personalities, and his unique access to Roman halls of power has enabled him to write the ultimate behind-the-scenes account of the election of Pope Benedict XVI. The Rise of Benedict XVI is based on extensive research and exclusive interviews with eight cardinals representing five nationalities, guaranteeing readers an intimate glimpse into this monumental decision.
But Allen’s insight also means that he is in a unique position to evaluate the accomplishments and legacy of the man now known as Pope Benedict XVI, and to provide some analysis of the direction he would take the Catholic Church in the coming years. Ratzinger’s long career as a major Vatican insider, force of influence, and occasionally polarizing figure, has ensured that his pontificate will be one of the most fascinating in the history of the Catholic Church. Benedict XVI would certainly have a major impact on the lives of the faithful around the world, and John Allen’s riveting new book is the definitive work on this turning point in history.
From the Hardcover edition.
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|Title of eBook: The Rise of Benedict XVI|
|Release Date: 12-18-2007|
|Allowed Countries (hover)|
|Publisher: The Doubleday Religious Publishing Group|
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The Rise of Benedict XVI
THE FINAL DAYS OF JOHN PAUL II
When Karol Wojtyla was elected to the Throne of Peter on October 16, 1978, the world was dazzled by his sheer physical force. He was, to invoke a tired expression, a “man’s man”–rugged, handsome, brimming with energy and self-conﬁdence. Fr. Andrew Greeley, the American novelist and sociologist, rightly observed that he looked like a linebacker in American football. Archbishop Michael Miller, today a senior Vatican ofﬁcial, who at the time of Wojtyla’s election was a junior cleric in the Secretariat of State, said in a January 2005 reminiscence that from the moment John Paul II stepped out onto the central balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica, “He simply dominated that space. He looked like he had been pope forever.”
In the press coverage from those early years, the Pope was dubbed “God’s athlete.” He skied, climbed mountains, swam, and had an undying passion for the outdoors. The story of his nomination to be a bishop in Poland, when he had to interrupt a camping trip in order to accept and then went immediately back to kayaking after he had signed the paperwork, became the stuff of legend. At the table, the Pope had the hearty appetite of a man who once worked in the Solvay salt quarry outside Krakow; he could wolf down a plate of Polish sausage and potatoes, and a glass of beer, with obvious gusto. Even when he was wearing his pontiﬁcal vestments and saying Mass, he projected a raw physical energy. When he traveled, he kept up a brutal schedule that left his aides, as well as the journalists who traveled with him, exhausted. It seemed th