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The Conclave: A Sometimes Secret and Occasionally Bloody History of Papal Elections [Hardcover]

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Item Number 115896  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   160
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9.2" Width: 6.32" Height: 0.74"
Weight:   0.88 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Jun 6, 2003
Publisher   Sheed and Ward
ISBN  158051135X  
EAN  9781580511353  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...
In 1271, with the papal throne vacant for over two years, local officials locked the cardinals of the Catholic Church in a room, forcing them to select a new pope. From this inauspicious beginning arose the practice of the conclave, the highly secretive combination of rituals and politics designed to select a new leader for the world's Catholic population. With Pope John Paul II ailing, the time for a new conclave draws nearer, and Rome is preparing for over 6,000 journalists and innumerable interested onlookers to descend on the Eternal City to witness the election of the next leader of the Catholic Church. In The Conclave, prominent Catholic historian Michael Walsh takes readers through the history of conclaves past, highlighting the vendettas, feuds, and political intrigues that have colored the selection of a new pontiff. An entertaining history of the secret deliberations, colorful stories, and even bloody events that surround the making and unmaking of popes, The Conclave is a great story, a great history, and an important work for anyone interested in the papacy.

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More About Michael J. Walsh

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Michael Walsh has written or edited over a dozen works on the history of the Church, both ancient and contemporary. He was until recently, Librarian at Heythrop College, University of London, UK.

Michael J. Walsh currently resides in London. Michael J. Walsh was born in 1937.

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Product Categories
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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Dry Document  Jul 11, 2005
This dry inventory of the Holy See is likely well researched, and accurate. Lost though is any sense of compassion. Even the low wit is obvious and, and telegraphed. I read this as the drama of JPII unfolded, and thus provided to me a unique perspective. I think I should pass. The Throne over humanity seems to be taking a backseat to the audio and video bytes that accompany tragedy. The shoes of the fisherman should not be trivialized for ratings. Walsh's tour of Catholicsim left me empty, and unenthused. 3 stars for the depth of his research.
A whirlwind, and now perhaps quite timely, survey  Apr 1, 2005
Michael Walsh's summary history of papal elections moves remarkably quickly: 2,000 years in under 200 pages. Popes are chosen, only to die quickly -- sometimes in the very next sentence. So this is not in any sense a history of the papacy. The author has focused his attention quite narrowly, and for general readers looking for an introduction to this interesting and timely topic, he has succeeded admirably.

Walsh's text emphasizes the changing dynamics involved in papal elections over the centuries, including the waxing and waning of various political and popular influences. Although Church doctrine says the Holy Spirit chooses the next Bishop of Rome (and the machinations of plotters have often been defeated in surprising ways), more earthly and secular powers have had big roles to play too. Though it's not always easy to decipher the backroom politicking or strong-arming, the author has sorted facts and speculation into a very readable history. Though specialist historians will no doubt be left wanting something more in-depth, and I for one deeply regretted the absence of an index, most general readers will probably find this gives them a good comprehensive overview.
"We have a Pope!"  Dec 1, 2003
This is a short book, which is unfortunate, given the period of time that it covers: all of the papal elections from the beginning of the Church until the present. Because of the timeline, and the books lack of length, everything is really compressed, and the reader only gets the barest sense of what happened during many of these elections, particularly in the very early days. That's not actually a bad thing, for it certainly whets the appetite of the interested reader to delve further into period histories and do some research on his own. I like that in a book, for it encourages scholarship. That being said, this book is well worth reading even for the smattering of information it gives about these "elections". As one who grew up in parochial schools in the '50s, and was taught by the good sisters that the election of the Pope was inspired by the Holy Spirit, this dosage of truth is quite eye opening! Power politics, family connections, money and assorted other things all contributed, at one time or another, to the outcome of an election. Nothing about hanging chads, however, which was a relief! Despite all of it, the Church has seemed to survive its different leaders, for better or worse, down through the last two centuries. Perhaps then, the nuns were right, and the Holy Spirit has been looking after all of us. Read the book, and decide for yourself!

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