This book is grandly conceived and beautifully written, in the tradition of the big rambling 19th century novel which has largely disappeared. It is also one of the very few contemporary Catholic novels worth reading for any reason. These factors alone justify rating it at 5, despite the author's inability to close the book properly. The fact is, despite all the other threads of information, history, and polemics to be found here, the deepest theme in the book is the vitality, or lack of it, of piety, devotion and the spiritual dimension of reality in the souls of the modern church hierarchy -- a truly Catholic theme. As for warnings about the author's "agendas," well, is anybody out there familiar with the history of the novel and of literature generally? Then there are the warnings about "thinly disguised reality," factual fiction, etcetera. Has anybody ever heard of The Sun Also Rises, All the King's Men, or for that matter Dante? Or are Catholics only allowed to write either pure fantasy literature or sheer hagiography? Finally, one hears the dark warnings, express or implied, about danger to the Church, etcetera. The late Father John Hardon, however, whose orthodoxy and obedience were far beyond question, vouched publicly for the authority Of Malachi Martin's most pungent criticisms of our modern church. This is a book that every Catholic literate in the English language should read, if they are even moderately interested in the genesis of some of the fiascos we have not so long ago been treated to, concerning us -- yes us, from CBS, NBC, Time Magazine and the Boston Globe. And while you're at it read The Jesuits, too. The prevalence of such warnings unfortunately has much to say about the big crater modern American Catholics have found themselves in, and who they desparately choose to lead them out. You can thus take the reactions to this book as something as a litmus test for Sister Lucia of Fatima's warning about our era "of diabolic disorientation." No, I'm sorry kids, Malachi Martin was not perfect and neither are you. He was just a pretty well informed prelate and a damned talented writer, who used his gifts to attempt to illumine our era for us. And if you are listening to somebody saying that the literary arts are hazardous to your health, well shame on you, go to your room. And take this book with you . . . .
Inside look at Rome
Published by Thriftbooks.com User , 20 years ago
Malachi Martin often gets a bad rap from some Catholics who feel that his conspiratorial novels are in some way disrespectful to the Church, however I found this book incredibly informative and I actually felt that it made my faith even stronger. It's hard to know where the 'fiction' ends and reality begins, but this book is incredibly interesting and I'd recommend it. The little details about life in Rome and the way things work in the Vatican are fascinating. To continue a previous reviewer's work, I'll post a comparison of a few more real-life counterparts that relate to Martin's 'fictional' characters: Fictional name = Real name: Cardinal Rollinger = Cardinal RatzingerArchbishop LaSuisse = Abp. Lefebvre Msgr. Sugnini = Msgr. Bugnini Cardinal Levesque = Cardinal Lercaro
More of a commentary than a novel
Published by Thriftbooks.com User , 21 years ago
The late Dr. Malachi Martin has written, in "Vatican", a lengthy, well-sustained "novel" about the intrigues of the Holy See from 1945 until the mid 1980's. However, in many respects, this is not a work of fiction, legal disclaimers notwithstanding. These are real characters, given false names, but functioning much as they actually did in real life. Around this, is a cleverly woven plot of conspiricy, heresy and murder which is fictional (or at least conjectural in the mind of the author!)It is clear where Martin's sympathies lay -- and they were not with the modern Church. However, as the book was written in the mid 80's, and Martin very obviously expected Pope John Paul II to die in that time frame, (and considering that Martin himself is now dead), it is impossible to conjecture whether or not he had a real person in mind for his novel's ending.As a public service, here is a brief comparison between Martin's "fictional" characters, and their real-life counterparts:Papa Eugenio Profumi -- Pope Pius XII (Eugenio Pacelli)Papa Angelica -- Pope John XXIII (Roncalli)Papa DaBrescia -- Pope Paul VI (Montini)Papa Serena -- Pope John Paul I (Albino Luciani)Papa Bogdan Valeska -- Pope John Paul II Paolo Lercano -- Michele SindonaRoberto Gonella -- Roberto CalviCardinal Buff of Westminster -- Cardinal Hume of WestminsterMetropolitan Nikodim -- Metropolitan NikodimBrother Reginald of Zaite -- Brother Roger of TazieBenjamin National Bank -- Franklin National Bank"Problem Two" aka P2 -- Italian Masonic Lodge P2And the list goes on. . .All the "fictional" popes in the novel lived exactly as long as their counterparts in real life, died at just the right times (although Martin is colorful about who tried to kill whom when), and did many of the same things. Many of the "fictional" criminals did what their counterparts in real life were accused of doing, etc.So yes, this is a good novel by itself -- but remember that Martin had an agenda in writing it -- and the agenda was not at all hidden.
Amazing Insight into the Future of the Catholic Church
Published by Thriftbooks.com User , 22 years ago
This book is spooky in that it was written by Malachi Martin a number of years ago, but turns out to be very accurate regarding major events that have occurred within the Catholic Church, up to and including today. Although it is labled as Fiction, it comes amazingly close to reality in terms of its descriptions of historical events in the Church, in Europe after WWII, and in the succession of the various Popes up to and including Pope John Paul II and his predicted successor (a surprise candidate). The book takes on added reality for anyone who is Catholic and who has ever lived in Italy in the midst of many of the characters and incidents mentioned. Lastly, the story gives an interesting insight into the Vatican Councils, including their objectives and results. I found it to be a combination of a thrilling mystery and an informative history of the Catholic Church.
Published by Thriftbooks.com User , 24 years ago
TECHNICALLY CHALLENGING.NEVER LABORS.MOST INTERESTING AND ACCEPTABLE FICTION.I FOUND IT VERY NECESSARY TO PAUSE AND REMIND MYSELF THAT IT IS INDEED A WORK OF FICTION
ThriftBooks sells millions of used books at the lowest
everyday prices. We personally assess every book's quality and offer rare, out-of-print treasures. We
deliver the joy of reading in 100% recyclable packaging with free standard shipping on US orders over $10.
ThriftBooks.com. Read more. Spend less.