The Vatican Diaries
World English Viking (February 2013, Ed. Rick Kot, 336 pages)
A Behind-the-Scenes Look at the Power, Personalities, and Politics at the Heart of the Catholic Church
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 readers 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 any readers interested in international diplomacy and the role of religion in an increasingly secularized world.
John Thavis recently retired as the prize-winning Rome bureau chief of Catholic News Service, a position he had held since 1983. In 2007 the Catholic Press Association awarded him the St. Francis de Sales Award, the highest honor given by the Catholic press.