Heirs of the Fisherman

Heirs of the Fisherman : Behind the Scenes of Papal Death and Succession

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The death of Pope John Paul II and consequent election of Pope Benedict XVI has shed light on a political process that the world has not been privy to for almost twenty-six years. People from around the world gathered in St. Peter's Square, wondering who the next Vatican leader would be and how the election process really worked, while everyone from international news correspondents to local priests added their own opinions to the debate. In Heirs of the Fisherman, former Vatican insider John-Peter Pham presents a candid portrait of the modern Vatican, the only account to reveal the striking changes to papal succession procedures made by John Paul II. Blending political and ecclesiastical history, Pham goes beyond a mere description of the complex rituals to offer rare insight into the dramatic shifts inside the College of Cardinals, whose 100 members now hail from 50 nations around the globe. He takes us into the secret conclave, where the electors were kept under lock and key, until they had selected a new pope. He also includes a chapter devoted to the intrigues of the 20th century where the first conclave had an emperor's veto and the last was won by the first non-Italian in four centuries becauase the Italians were bitterly divided. With a new Preface, Afterword, and appendices that include an English translation of the last will and testament of Pope John Paul II, Heirs of the Fisherman is an illuminating history and must-have guide to this vitally important world event. It will continue to be an indispensable reference to observers of future Catholic Church politics.
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Product details

  • Electronic book text | 385 pages
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • 1423746589
  • 9781423746584

Review quote

"While it looks to the future, Heirs of the Fisherman offers a grand historical sweep of significant elections past. Pham explains how conclaves developed and the forces that shaped their present, and still evolving, form. He writes with clarity and verve.... Makes history come alive in a way that illumines the present.... For those interested in understanding the conclave, Pham's book will be invaluable."--Ann Rodgers, America"Both interesting and pleasurable to read."--thepopeblog.com"A lucid and useful book.... Pham's long and detailed account of the historical intricacies of one pope succeeding another, going back two millennia, makes clear what a profoundly human institution the papacy is."--James Carroll, Washington Post Book World"A timely reference for those handicapping the race for the next pope--and contemplating the future of Catholicism.... Pham's study may well be the last word--for now--on the arcane and controversial ways popes have been selecte
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About John-Peter Pham

John-Peter Pham is a frequent writer and commentator on religious and public affairs. An alumnus of the post-graduate Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy, he served as a Vatican diplomat as well as an aide to both the Vicar General of His Holiness for the Vatican and the President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace. Dr. Pham is presently the Director of the Nelson Institute for International and Public Affairs at James Madison University.
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