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A New York Times Bestseller
A revealing inside look at one of the world’s most powerful and mysterious institutions
For more than twenty-five years John Thavis held one of the most fascinating journalistic jobs in the world: reporting on the inner workings of the Vatican. His daily exposure to the power, politics, and personalities in the seat of Roman Catholicism gave him a unique, behind-the-scenes perspective on an institution that is far less monolithic and unified than it first appears. Thavis reveals Vatican City as a place where Curia cardinals fight private wars, scandals threaten to undermine papal authority, and reverence for the past is continually upended by the practical considerations of modern life.
Thavis takes listeners from a bell tower high above St. Peter’s to the depths of the basilica and the saint’s burial place, from the politicking surrounding the election of a new pope and the ever-growing sexual abuse scandals around the world to controversies about the Vatican’s stand on contraception and more.
Perceptive, sharply written, and witty, The Vatican Diaries will appeal not only to Catholics—lapsed as well as devout—but to anyone interested in international diplomacy and the role of religion in an increasingly secularized world.
© 2013 by John Thavis
“An American Catholic who has done his homework, learned Latin and Italian, made friends in high places, found his way for thirty years in the maze of Church bureaucracy, gives us a humane and realistic and (yes) humorous picture of a mortal institution that guides hundreds of millions of mortals along the path from birth to death and beyond. To an old Prot like me, it's a tour of alien terrain and a bridge to old and dear friends.”
“Entertaining and readable…Readers are sure to be intrigued.”
“Thavis’ anecdotal presentation will appeal to readers seeking understanding of or connection with the Catholic Church’s heart. This book is recommended for anyone who would like to challenge their own notions and perceptions of the Vatican.”
“Though sympathetic to the Church, Thavis doesn’t stray very far from his journalistic roots. He presents the facts, leaving the editorial conclusions to be drawn by the reader…In the end we are left with a more nuanced understanding of the Vatican.”
“A seasoned reporter on the Vatican beat takes us for an irreverent and revealing visit. Frequently from the vantage of the reportorial fly on the wall, Thavis…concentrates on the history he has witnessed firsthand…Especially provocative are the chapters dealing with the mismanagement of diverse sex scandals and, finally, an appraisal of the opaque personality of Benedict…Not only provocative, this report is illuminating and fully accessible to members of the faith and doubters alike.”
“Vatican Diaries is a must-read for anyone interested in the Vatican’s role in the Catholic Church and the world.”
Thomas J. Reese, American Roman Catholic Jesuit priest
“In this highly readable memoir of being a journalist at the Vatican, John Thavis follows the conclaves, sex scandals, internal backstabbing, and olympian nature of the popes with a sense of comic relief at the caravan passing through his viewfinder.”
Jason Berry, author of Render unto Rome: The Secret Life of Money in the Catholic Church