Absolute Monarchs: A History of the Papacy


If you were raised Catholic, you may find it disconcerting to see an institution you were taught to think of as the repository of the faith so thoroughly deconsecrated. Norwich says little about theology and treats doctrinal disputes as matters of diplomacy. As he points out, this is in keeping with many of the popes themselves, “a surprising number of whom seem to have been far more interested in their own temporal power than in their spiritual well-*being.” For most of their two millenniums, the popes were rulers of a large sectarian state, managers of a civil service, military strategists, occasionally battlefield generals, sometimes patrons of the arts and humanities, and, importantly, diplomats. They were indeed monarchs. (But not, it should be said, “absolute monarchs.” Whichever editor persuaded Norwich to change his British title, “The Popes: A History,” may have done the book a marketing favor but at the cost of accuracy: the popes’ power was invariably shared with or subordinated to emperors and kings of various stripes. In more recent times, the popes have had no civil power outside the 110 acres of Vatican City, no military at all, and even their moral authority has been flouted by legions of the faithful.)

One bright spot in a review that just doesn't get it ---

Sorry, maybe my English is betraying me and I could not understand. Could you explain “One bright spot in a review that just doesn’t get it” to me, patiently and very clear, as if I were stupid? thanks.

  1. One french philosopher told a sentence that touched my: “I do not believe in Christianity for it is a imbecile and stupid Religion”. He had a point, I thought. To believe that God is One in Three and the Son became man, and was a carpenter who was crucified and his apostles say he was risen from the dead, that he resurrected and is now among us for us to eat His Flesh and drink His Blood in the form of Bread and Wine, I tell you, on the human point of view, this is simply crazy.

  2. But, and this a big BUT, where the french philosopher saw the Fake Religion I saw the True Religion. My argument: No religion could stand for 2000 years with such (humanly) unreasonable doctrines IF this religion was not Divine. It was God Who pulled and pushes and will push our Church throughout the times, it is not Man’s Strength, which obviously could not do that. I am a Teacher of Latin and Greek too and it amazes me that this religion, persecuted for 313 (Edit of Milan by the Emperor Constantin) years would defeat the most gorgeous and beautiful roman religion with Venus, Bacchus, and all the beautiful nymphs and deities much more easy to adore than our Crucified Lord. It simply disappeared, and if you come to Europe, yo will find that the stones of Roman Temples were used to build the houses surrounding the temple. In Portugal, full of Roman Temples, we got only one half derelict surviving: The Temple of Diana, a nice goddess of hunting.

  3. As for “In more recent times, the popes have had no civil power outside the 110 acres of Vatican City, no military at all, and even their moral authority has been flouted by legions of the faithful.”, the man is seeing with Blind eyes. Stalin asked, laughing: “How many armies does the Pope have?”… :extrahappy:… Now, the Stalin statues in Russian are thrown to garbage and its noses broken as I have seen in TV. Who made the Communist implosion? Jesus, through the Holy virgin, through the Pope Bt John Paul the II, the one who had no armies… Such things were told by no less than Brzezinski and Kissinger when they said that they thought the Communist Regime would be unbeatable and that John Paul II had a tremendous effect on the implosion of Communis.

  4. Let’s apply all this to the History of the Church and the Popes. Norwich sees it a bunch of corrupts. Well, I am a corrupt sinner too. I see there that the Church would be impossible to survive with such a bunch of corrupts if She were not divine.

5.See the British Newspaper “News of the World” a centenary institution. A little scandal and went down. Ours is different. come snow and fire, sinners (all Popes are sinners, didnt Norwich know?) and saints, scandals and injustices, corruption and forgeries, our church will survive to the end of times, as promised by Jesus for it is grounded on solid rock, Which is Our God, and it is not based in fragile sand, like our humans (even the Popes) sins are.

Up to the Church…Hurrah…:amen:

A review of the book, published in the British Catholic newspaper The Tablet says that the author is an excellent storyteller, but that the story told is a traditional one and a bit one-dimensional. The critic faults both the skimpy references and the harsh judgments.

He suggests that Catholics may wish to wait for Gerard Noel's The Journey of the Popes: The Lives of the Popes from St Peter to the Present, which is due out this fall. The author of this upcoming book is a former editor of the UK's Catholic Herald. However, the Amazon.com description of pending book sounds rather lurid.

Anyways, here is the review which appeared in The Tablet

ElijahBailey:I understand your not liking this book because of its untruthfulness but is anybody taking note of this book?Is it a topic of discussion between many people?in other words is he making any kind of impact on society or many (if they're are)in changing their opinions about the real truths?I for one have never read or heard of the book.However for the sake of those who have read the book i thank you for pointing out the falsities which this book alledges to be true facts.

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