This book is a highly accurate portrait of the modern Vatican--indeed, the only account to reveal the striking changes to papal succession procedures make by Pope John Paul II. Blending political and ecclesiastical history, Pham goes beyond a mere description of the complex rituals--including a rare insight into the dramatic shifts inside the College of Cardinals, whose 130 members now hail from 57 nations around the globe. Pham takes us into the secret conclave (from the Latin cum clave, "with key"), where the electors are kept under lock and key, incommunicado, until they have selected a new pope. Here we find a fascinating chronicle of political intrigue set in the context of ritual--including a chapter devoted to the intrigues of the 20th century, when the first conclave had an emperor's veto and the last was won bye the first non-Italian in four centuries because the Italians were bitterly divided.
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