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Behind Locked Doors: A History of the Papal Elections [Hardcover]

Our Price $ 21.21  
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Item Number 158902  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   288
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.6" Width: 5.72" Height: 0.99"
Weight:   0.97 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Oct 31, 2003
Publisher   Palgrave Macmillan
ISBN  0312294638  
EAN  9780312294632  


Availability  0 units.


Item Description...
Since 1600, whenever a Pope dies, the Cardinals of the Roman Catholic Church convene in Rome to elect a successor. The Papal Conclave is an event like no other. Highly secret and conducted behind the locked doors of the Sistine Chapel, it happens about eight times every century. It is an event that has evolved over the centuries and is always filled with high drama: cardinals meeting en masse in their scarlet robes, throngs of the faithful standing watch in St. Peter's Square, the black or white smoke billowing from the chimney signalling the election of a new Pontiff Since secrecy was not heavily invoked until the twentieth century, there is a vast store of rich material to work from and Fred Baumgartner uses it to its utmost detailing the bickering and blatant politicking that goes on behind the locked doors of the Sistine Chapel in this important and timely book.



Book Description
Since 1600, whenever a Pope dies, the Cardinals of the Roman Catholic Church convene in Rome to elect a successor. The Papal Conclave is an event like no other. Highly secret and conducted behind the locked doors of the Sistine Chapel, it happens about eight times every century. It is an event that has evolved over the centuries and is always filled with high drama: cardinals meeting en masse in their scarlet robes, throngs of the faithful standing watch in St. Peter's Square, the black or white smoke billowing from the chimney signalling the election of a new Pontiff Since secrecy was not heavily invoked until the twentieth century, there is a vast store of rich material to work from and Fred Baumgartner uses it to its utmost detailing the bickering and blatant politicking that goes on behind the locked doors of the Sistine Chapel in this important and timely book.




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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Good Non-Academic Survey of Papal Elections  Oct 5, 2004
This is a book that focuses on how the Popes have been chosen and elected, starting with Peter and going all the way to John Paul II. Given that records of the earliest elections are scant, or non-existent, Baumgartner spends only about 20 pages going through the first 1000 years of the Church, and then another 20 pages for the next 300 years or so, but Baumgartner presents all of the solid historical information that is available, without engaging in the salacious or scandalous rumors that have characterized other histories of the Church. For example, he mentions "Pope Joan" only in passing but provides references for both those who believe she was only a myth and for those who believe she was real. Baumgartner is sparse with his footnotes, which makes the book easier to read, but all sources are cited.

The book, strangely enough, does not provide a list of Popes and their dates of reign, which is unfortunate since sometimes the dates in the text are hard to find. However, that kind of information is readily available on the Internet from places like advent.org and other Catholic Encyclopedias.

The only other flaw I could find is that the description of John Paul II's election could have had more depth, but Baumgartner does include information on the changes the current Pope has made in the election process that would affect the choice of his successor, which will be interesting when that event occurs.

This is a great book if you're looking for details about how the longest unbroken line of rulers have been chosen for almost 2,000 years. Good, bad, and lost opportunities are all presented, and it fills in some of the whys and wherefores that standard histories might miss.
 

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