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Publisher's Summary

A revealing inside look at one of the world’s most powerful and mysterious institutions

For more than 25 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 listeners 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 anyone interested in international diplomacy and the role of religion in an increasingly secularized world.

©2013 John Thavis (P)2013 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"A seasoned reporter on the Vatican beat takes us for an irreverent and revealing visit. Frequently from the vantage of the reportorial fly on the wall, Thavis…concentrates on the history he has witnessed firsthand.… Especially provocative are the chapters dealing with the mismanagement of diverse sex scandals and, finally, an appraisal of the opaque personality of Benedict.… Not only provocative, this report is illuminating and fully accessible to members of the faith and doubters alike." ( Kirkus Reviews)
"Thavis’ anecdotal presentation will appeal to readers seeking understanding of or connection with the Catholic Church’s heart. This book is recommended for anyone who would like to challenge their own notions and perceptions of the Vatican." ( Library Journal)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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Tedious at times, from a non-Catholic

Is there anything you would change about this book?

I found the content quite interesting, especially considering I was listening to it simultaneously while the new Pope was chosen. Perhaps a Catholic would have a much more relevant review, but I did find the minute details tedious at times. Overall I found the book enlightening, but not surprising, that this 'holy' group of men would be as salacious, politically-motivated, and game-playing as any other group. Men are men.

Would you recommend The Vatican Diaries to your friends? Why or why not?

yes, especially the die-hard Catholics

Have you listened to any of Malcolm Hillgartner’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

no

Did The Vatican Diaries inspire you to do anything?

not be Catholic, and to educate others

2 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Timely and Well Balanced

This is not a book that extols the virtues of Catholicism or the wonderful works of Catholic charitable organizations. It focuses on how the Vatican operated during the papacies of John Paul II and Benedict XVI from a reporters point of view. In that light, it is an interesting and very timely read for anyone who is interested in the behind the scenes workings of the Vatican. The author presents a balanced point of view and projects thoughtfulness as well as critical analysis of a number of high profile issues that have cast doubt and suspicion upon the Catholic Church in recent years. While he doesn't delve into every recent high profile scandal, he does report on some that are well known and others that are not so well known. Definitely worth the time if you're fascinated by church politics. The timing of the release of this book, just as Benedict announced his retirement and before the election of Francis, made it a most timely read.

2 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • WGQuixote
  • STATEN ISLAND, NY, United States
  • 03-05-13

Timely book with a few great chapters

Any additional comments?

This behind-the-scene's view of the Vatican is at times at times tedious, and at times intriguiging. Overall it is informative and very interesting. The portraits of the last two popes is most insightful.For those following the the conclave it is well worth listening to.

2 of 5 people found this review helpful

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The Vatican Diaries

An interesting listen, although I didn't always like what I heard. It is a miracle the Catholic Church has survived so many years; I imagine the Holy Spirit to have rolled his eyes more often than not.

1 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Surprising, Intriguing, Informative

As a Catholic who has been following the news out of Rome for a while, I wasn't really expecting any surprises, and I was a bit worried I'd see a lot of bias. To the contrary, this book manages to be respectful without pandering, informative, and took me much deeper than what I had gleaned from the last decade or so of headlines. There were several issues I'd never heard of (JP II and self punishment for example), and several others I'd never realised the extent of (the archeological dig related to the parking garage for example). I found the writing style engaging and entertaining, though there were some dry sections. I found it a rewarding read, and recommend it.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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great insight

I just got this book on a whim and didn't expect much but wow. thus author will teach you a lot of insider things you otherwise wouldn't know. a must have

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Some Truth behind the spin.

Where does The Vatican Diaries rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

It's a very fine book, but not one of my favorites.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Vatican Diaries?

Several. Some funny moments with the press getting stranded or something else happening to them on state visits, and the testimonies in chapter 3 against the LC's founder creeped me out.

What about Malcolm Hillgartner’s performance did you like?

He's okay with accents, but not that great.

What’s the most interesting tidbit you’ve picked up from this book?

The contrast between Pope John Paul the Second's and Benidict the 16th in personality.

Any additional comments?

No other comments.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Fascinating and riveting.

If you could sum up The Vatican Diaries in three words, what would they be?

Fascintaing. Riveting. Illuminating.

What did you like best about this story?

Learning about the inner workings and politics of the Vatican kept me tuned in to this book. I didn't want to unplug!

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Gail
  • Conroe, TX, United States
  • 03-26-13

Eye opening! Catholicism brought to Earth.

What made the experience of listening to The Vatican Diaries the most enjoyable?

I wish we had been taught the truth in porocial school so that when we started in public school we could have had better information to defend our beliefs. Time for God to do some house cleaning.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes and did several times!

Any additional comments?

Just proves that on Earth ALL are human. You have to get to the debth of the church to find the good and the way Jesus meant His word to be told and used.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful