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Sealed with a Key, a Different Kind of Sequester

Most Catholics and many noncatholics have had their eyes turned to Rome, or more accurately, the Vatican today as the Conclave began this morning. The election of a new Pope is always an important event closely watched by millions around the world but this Conclave is groundbreaking in more ways than one. The resignation of Benedict XVI was surprising, even shocking, to a community grappling with so many difficult changes and challenges in recent years. For the first time the Sistine Chapel, traditional site of the Conclave, has been secured against all types of electronic communication and social media. At the same time, televison cameras were allowed in the Sistine Chapel documenting the procession of red robed Cardinals as the Litany of Saints was read and then the taking of the Oath of Secrecy by each participant. Finally the order was given, "Extra omnes" or, everyone out, and the chapel doors were closed and locked.

The Cardinals will remain sequestered in the Sistine Chapel and a Vatican hotel until the new Pope is elected. Communicaton about the voting results it decidedly old-school in the form of either black or white smoke rising from the Sistine Chapel chimney. There is even a live Smoke Cam for breaking news. In the meantime, Richland Library has a rich collection of histories, novels and other resources for those who would like to learn more about the Catholic Church and the Papacy. See the links below.


Melissa T. Says: An Italian comedy/drama about a man who really didn't want to be pope.
Amazon Says: Actor/director Nanni Moretti (Quiet Chaos) joins forces with legendary French actor Michel Piccoli (Contempt) to tell the story of Cardinal Melville, an unassuming man of the more...
Amazon Says: Actor/director Nanni Moretti (Quiet Chaos) joins forces with legendary French actor Michel Piccoli (Contempt) to tell the story of Cardinal Melville, an unassuming man of the cloth who suddenly finds himself elected as the next Pope. Caught off guard and unwilling to take the job, Melville panics as the faithful wait for the new Pope's appearance in St. Peter's Square. To prevent a worldwide crisis, the Vatican calls in an unlikely psychiatrist (Moretti) to find out what is wrong with Melville and get him to take the position. While the world nervously waits outside, inside the therapist works desperately with Melville to rid him of his fears and reaffirm his duty to God. A marvelous insight into the man responsible for being God's representative on Earth, WE HAVE A POPE is both wonderfully humorous and deeply touching. less...
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Melissa T. Says: Find out more about the power behind the Papal throne.
Amazon Says: The revealing New York Times bestseller examines the reign of Pope Benedict, the papal conclave process, and the history of one of the world’s oldest and most mysteriou more...
Amazon Says: The revealing New York Times bestseller examines the reign of Pope Benedict, the papal conclave process, and the history of one of the world’s oldest and most mysterious institutions For more than twenty-five 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 readers 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 any readers interested in international diplomacy and the role of religion in an increasingly secularized world. less...
Amazon

Melissa T. Says: Everything you ever wanted to know about the papal election process.
Amazon Says: An updated version of the compelling guide by award-winning author Greg Tobin. Tobin reveals all the rules and rituals involved in the secretive process of electing the pope, more...
Amazon Says: An updated version of the compelling guide by award-winning author Greg Tobin. Tobin reveals all the rules and rituals involved in the secretive process of electing the pope, along with the rich history of the conclave and the key concerns that will shape the future of the Catholic Church. This edition features new information on the death and funeral of John Paul II, a revised and up-to-the-minute "Issues" section, and coverage of Pope Benedict’s most recent trip to the US, as well as a discussion of his relationship to the Islamic world. Plus, Tobin offers some thoughts on who the next pope might be, examining the potential contenders and hazarding some predictions.  less...
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Melissa T. Says: This book explores the impact of John Paul II on papal succession procedures.
Amazon Says: The death of Pope John Paul II and consequent election of Pope Benedict XVI has shed light on a political process that the world has not been privy to for almost twenty-six ye more...
Amazon Says: The death of Pope John Paul II and consequent election of Pope Benedict XVI has shed light on a political process that the world has not been privy to for almost twenty-six years. People from around the world gathered in St. Peter's Square, wondering who the next Vatican leader would be and how the election process really worked, while everyone from international news correspondents to local priests added their own opinions to the debate. In Heirs of the Fisherman, former Vatican insider John-Peter Pham presents a candid portrait of the modern Vatican, the only account to reveal the striking changes to papal succession procedures made by John Paul II. Blending political and ecclesiastical history, Pham goes beyond a mere description of the complex rituals to offer rare insight into the dramatic shifts inside the College of Cardinals, whose 100 members now hail from 50 nations around the globe. He takes us into the secret conclave, where the electors were kept under lock and key, until they had selected a new pope. He also includes a chapter devoted to the intrigues of the 20th century where the first conclave had an emperor's veto and the last was won by the first non-Italian in four centuries becauase the Italians were bitterly divided. With a new Preface, Afterword, and appendices that include an English translation of the last will and testament of Pope John Paul II, Heirs of the Fisherman is an illuminating history and must-have guide to this vitally important world event. It will continue to be an indispensable reference to observers of future Catholic Church politics. less...
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An Introduction to Catholicism by Lawrence S. Cunningham
Melissa T. Says: For those who are not familiar with the Catholic Church, a beginner's guide.
Amazon Says: The Vatican. The Inquisition. Contraception. Celibacy. Apparitions and miracles. Plots and scandals. The Catholic Church is seldom out of the news. But what do its one billion more...
Amazon Says: The Vatican. The Inquisition. Contraception. Celibacy. Apparitions and miracles. Plots and scandals. The Catholic Church is seldom out of the news. But what do its one billion adherents really believe, and how do they put their beliefs into practice in worship, the family, and society? This down-to-earth account goes back to the early Christian creeds to uncover the roots of modern Catholic thinking. It avoids getting bogged down in theological technicalities, and throws light on aspects of the Church's institutional structure and liturgical practice that even Catholics can find baffling: why go to confession? How are people made saints? What is 'infallible' about the Pope? Topics addressed include: • scripture and tradition • sacraments and prayer • popular piety • personal and social morality • reform, mission, and interreligious dialogue Lawrence Cunningham, a theologian, prize-winning writer and university teacher, provides an overview of Catholicism today which will be indispensable for undergraduates and lay study groups. less...
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Melissa T. Says: A fictional account of "the next Papal election"
Amazon Says: As the cardinals of the Church gather in Rome for the election of a new Pope, Bishop John Blackwood Ryan, reporter Dennis Molloy, and CNN correspondent (and Molloy's ex-wife) more...
Amazon Says: As the cardinals of the Church gather in Rome for the election of a new Pope, Bishop John Blackwood Ryan, reporter Dennis Molloy, and CNN correspondent (and Molloy's ex-wife) Patricia investigate a Vatican banking scandal and an assassin out to destroy the next Pope. less...
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Conclave by Greg Tobin
Melissa T. Says: A novel that looks at how some of the issues in the present Catholic Church might play out.
Amazon Says: Perhaps once in a generation is there a novel that will touch the hearts and challenge the souls of people everywhere. Conclave is just such a novel. Born and raised in suburb more...
Amazon Says: Perhaps once in a generation is there a novel that will touch the hearts and challenge the souls of people everywhere. Conclave is just such a novel. Born and raised in suburban New Jersey, Timothy John Mulrennan is a typical American of the post-WWII generation. Since childhood he has known a deep and abiding faith in God that leads him to a career as a priestand propels him onto the stage of world events that includes the election of the first Supreme Pontiff of the Roman Catholic church in the third millennium. Along the way he encounters some remarkable characters: Henry Martin Vennholme, leader of the conservative lay movement called Evangelium Christi; Rachel Seredi, a beautiful artist from Hungary who falls in love with Bishop Mulrennan and gives him the greatest gift a woman ever could; Cardinal Leandro Biagi, a wily and urbane politician who would have been at home in the time of the Medicis and Borgias; and Jaime de Guzman, the Archbishop of Manila, the one man who speaks in the Americans defense and who pays the ultimate price for his honesty and faith in God. less...
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