Top positive review
5 people found this helpful
on 10 April 2012
There is much in this book that will be `new news' to the reader.
For example, few Catholics know that John XXIII did not believe in the visionary saints, the reason he canonized only saints who founded good causes. It was he who coined the phrase `The Fatima Cult.' What's more, he refused to reveal the contents of the 3rd letter on grounds that the Vatican--he--did not accept the testimony of its visionaries.
The less astute public might not grasp everything said here. But, each one of them will learn something they never knew before. This is the great contribution of this work.
Yet, there is a problem. Whereas, on the one hand, there is much historical information--things that actually happened; on the other hand, there is much fantasy--things that never happened. The shortcoming is that the author does not draw a line between the two.
For instance, the `black mass' serves as a gripping opening, despite that it might be offensive to many Catholics who each Sunday morning participate in the same ritual - Christ's clever substitute of harmless blood and wine for the blood sacrifice demand of His Father in the Old Testament (Leviticus). Yet, though not the author's intent, many readers might take it that this ritual actually took place.
This kind of window dressing might serve to entrap the less astute mass. Yet, it is bothersome to a few who would prefer this renowned priest turn toward molding his legacy as a great historian rather than as a great writer. He certainly has the credentials to do so.
Widely read on the Vatican, this is one of the most informative books on what goes on in Rome I've come across. Perhaps, the only one I recommend higher is the explosive investigation into the mysterious death of the 33-day Pope John Paul I The Vatican Murders: The Life and Death of John Paul I