Angelo Guiseppe Roncalli was an unexpected choice to follow the ultra conservative Pope Pius XII in 1958. At seventy-six years old, 'a fat old man with twinkling eyes and a seductively resonant voice', neither a well-known public figure nor a highly trained theologian, he was at first regarded as a transitional pope. During his brief but unforgettable reign as Pope John XXIII, however, he astonished the world with the seminal and unprecedented change he brought about in the Catholic Church, and in particular with his concern for the fundamental plight of humankind. Pope John XXIII was unlike any other pope. To understand his extraordinary impact, which still resonates today, and his crucial importance to the world's one billion Catholics, Thomas Cahill opens this biography with a concise but sweeping history of the Catholic Church and the papacy, culminating in Pope John XXIII's reign in the mid-twentieth century. In rich, impassioned prose, Cahill follows the pontiff's life from his peasant roots to his establishment of the landmark Second Vatican Council, with its emphasis on worldwide social justice, which marked the beginning of a true shift in the Catholic Church and its relationship to the modern world. In a biography that will captivate Catholics and non-Catholics alike, Cahill's signature blend of imagination, interpretative insight and scholarship mirrors Pope John's own intuition, spontaneity and all-embracing vision.
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Reviews for POPE JOHN XXIII have been very good so far: 'Papal biographies can often be as turgid as papal encyclicals, so it is a delight to have someone as witty and wise as Thomas Cahill giving the genre a whirl.'Peter Stanford, INDEPENDENT 'In this brisk and concise biography of Pope John XXIII, ThomasCahill skilfully captures his subject's ebullience and humour. He also places John XXIII in the contect of the history of the Catholic Church and the papacy.'Piers McGrandle, CHURCH TIMES 'Thomas Cahill has vividly brought back tolife the magnetic personality of Pope John XXIII in this excellent biographical essay that explains why the Catholic Church neede the shake-up brought about by the second Vatican Council...Cahill brilliantly captures the humour and humanity of Angelo Roncali.'John Cooney, IRISH INDEPENDENT 'Cahill has an enviably colourful turn of phrase.'THE TABLET 'Cahill brings his blend of imagination and interpretative insight into this captivating biograpjy.'GOOD BOOK
About Thomas Cahill
Thomas Cahill is the former director of religious publishing at Doubleday. He and his wife, Susan Cahill, a novelist and anthologist, divide their time between New York and Rome. They have two children, a daughter who is a teacher in Oakland, California, and a son who is a filmmaker in Prague.
Pope John XXIII by Thomas Cahill
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