“Bling Bishop” Faces Day of Reckoning

For the Joseph Ratzinger legacy file, here’s some fun news out of Berlin: a Roman Catholic prelate appointed by Pope Benedict is on the hot seat after reports that he approved renovations for his residence amounting to €31 million (US $42 million), and that a state prosecutor in Hamburg has charged him with lying in a legal case. Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst, 53, evidently has a very high opinion of his worth as a shepherd of…

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Pope Francis: Numero Uno Paradigm-Buster

Earlier this year when I signed the book deal for The Trial of Pope Benedict, I was convinced that this would be the end of all my writing about popes—and the Roman Catholic Church, for that matter. The book was intended as a kind of closure: my one and only statement about an institution I had no intention of returning to, much less thinking about on a daily basis, and a j’accuse indictment of the…

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Daniel Gawthrop tells all on “The God Show”

If they ever make a movie, “The Vatican”, the promo text goes, you know who may play the villain? Pope Benedict XVI. Veteran U.S. radio broadcaster Pat McMahon interviews Daniel Gawthrop about his new book, The Trial of Pope Benedict. Their free-wheeling discussion covers everything from the promise of Vatican II to the Great Disillusionment, from closeted gay Curial bishops to how Pope Francis might end up playing the hero. Podcast on 92.3 KTAR-FM, “The Voice of Arizona,”…

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Francis Mania and the Papal Publishing Fest

Some people think my book on Joseph Ratzinger, being launched this week, was quick off the draw—arriving in stores only four months after its subject surrendered the papacy. But The Trial of Pope Benedict has nothing on the “instant book” phenomenon surrounding his successor. Within weeks of Jorge Bergoglio becoming Pope Francis, at least half a dozen books about and a few by the former archbishop of Buenos Aires had landed on the shelves or…

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