Vicars of Christ – buy book ~ 9780806523705
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Vicars of Christ
A History of the Popes
by Charles A. Coulombe
- Publisher: Citadel
- Release date: July 1, 2003
- Author: Charles A. Coulombe
- ISBN: 9780806523705 (0806523700)
- Genres: history, catholic, religion, biography, theology, christian
- Language: english
- Format: hardcover, 492 pages
About The Book
Ever since Emperor Constantine legalized Christianity in the 4th century, the papacy has been a formidable moral and religious presence in the world. The pope is an international force, a political necessity, an object of both inspiration and interference. He is godly to some, holier than thou to others. The popes of history run the gamut of human behavior, as different as the eras they lived in, the ways in which they delegated power, the means by which they led the Church. In these revealing biographies readers will meet: St. Peter, first in line, and talented with a pen; St. Callixtus, who was once a slave; St. Clement, who was thrown into the sea with an anchor around his neck; St. Leo I, who frightened Attila the Hun into sparing Rome; St. Gregory I, who banished the plague from Rome; St. Leo IX, one of the great reform popes; St. Gregory VII, one of history’s greatest popes, who nobly defended the Church against domination by secular powers. Not to mention the generous, the murderous, the lecherous, and the truly righteous. All were visible heads of the Church on Earth — Vicars of Christ — and these are the unvarnished chronicles of how they succeeded, when they failed … and why.
He is perhaps the most influential religious leader in the world — a moral force to be reckoned with. He is the Pope of Rome, and he is difficult to define. To some he is a light in the darkness, to others a perpetual shadow. Whether you crave his blessing or wish him gone, you cannot avoid him. He is always in the public eye. He is the keeper of Christianity. Yet most of the men crowned pope are hardly known today.
This unique volume offers a fascinating glimpse into the lives and times of popes past and present, profiling them one by one in all their glorious, inglorious, and vainglorious humanity. Here are papal careers as rich and sensational as the pageantry of the Catholic Church. Here are the popes themselves, goodness hailed, wicked ways revealed. Here is 9th-century Formosus, whose vengeful successor exhumed his rotting corpse and placed it on trial; and John XII, who took a mistress, was killed by her lover, then died in her arms. Here, too, is John Paul II, who raised the popularity of the papacy to matchless heights and helped fell Communism. With penetrating insight, Charles A. Coulombe ponders how personality, ambition, and fate influenced the papacy. What was Callistus really like? How did Hippolytus become the first “anti-Pope”? Why did some of the holiest make bad decisions while some of the most venal led well? Vicars of Christ dares to explore the essential conflict of papal drama: the elevation by Catholicism of imperfect men to a position of spiritual perfection. It is a story for the ages, as inspiring as the annals of Christendom, as intriguing as the saints and sinners who dwell within its pages.
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