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How the Church elect a Pope

By Greg Tobin
A Forge book 2001 $25.95

Timothy John Mulrennan is a man, a man of deep convictions and yet one who at times seems to relish dancing on thin ice. With a name like that you would be chagrined if he were not a priest in the Roman Catholic Church. I grew up thinking that all such men did was drink the real wine and lead people to perdition. I never really considered them as fellow believers; or, believed that they had a real love of God or of His kingdom.
Like the rest of us, some do and some don't .

Greg Gobin has written an excellent story of Mulrennan's growth as a man and as a churchman and how at times that can put a hard strain on being a Christian. We follow the politics of the church as a new strongly evangelical group thinks that God has called them to save the church from the old traditions and thinks that this gives them the right to do what ever it takes to reach the God given goal.

The Priest finds himself falling in love with a woman and tempted not just sexually but to give up his office and marry her. We see him as a parish priest carrying the load of the local flock and discovering things about himself and the flock that might unnerve one. He then rises to the exalted ranks of the men who wear the red dresses as English Bishop Mike McCormick once observed. The secrets are his own and he has not broken his priestly vows; but, how would it look if painted large on T.V.?

The main part of the book is about the election on the next Pope and all the infighting that goes along with it. These men may be princes of the church; but, they are also men. Men with ambitions, some leaders, some easy to lead. Will the attack on Mulrennan destroy him. Will he now resign and marry the lady or will he go back to being a simple parish priest. As an aside this prod thinks that no one should be Pope who has not been a parish priest. You historians can figure that out I hope. You don't have to be Catholic or even religious to enjoy this book. For it is in a strange sense an everyman book about our weaknesses and our strengths and the things we will at least consider doing to get our own way.

John Acuff

Jul 2018
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