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White Smoke: A Novel of Papal Election (1996)

af Andrew M. Greeley

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227390,081 (3.72)2
The cardinals of the Roman Catholic Church have gathered in Rome for the papal election following the death of the incumbent pope. Torn by internal conflict and with many of its members alienated, the Church faces one of the most serious crises in its history. A coalition of cardinals favors a more moderate and pluralistic style of papal governance, but must contend with shadowy Vatican forces that oppose change and loss of their own power. These forces are determined to destory the coalition's candidate, a gentle and brilliant Spanish scholar. The leader of the coalition is Chicago's wily Sean Cardinal Cronin, aided by his patently indispensable sidekick, Bishop John Blackwood "Blackie" Ryan. A lone assassin stalks the Vatican, his crazed mission: to destroy the next pope as soon as the traditional white smoke issues from the cardinals' meeting room--the Sistine Chapel--followed by the ancient wordsHabemus papam. Can politics--Chicago style--turn the Catholic Church around? What will happen when the next pope must be chosen? Only Andrew M. Greeley, priest, bestselling novelist, and respected sociologist could have written this blockbuster tale of the forces actually ripping the Church apart, and of the next papal election, when the fate of the entire Catholic Church itself may well hang in the balance.… (mere)
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Greeley has never shied away from taking on topics that are controversial, and this is no exception. He uses the papal election as a backdrop for greed, ambition, sex, pride, and any of the other basic tendencies humans engage in that he could think of. The result is a novel that pushes the envelope yet shows that even the most elevated members of the Church are only human. Should the cardinals be swearing? Given the right provocation, I think they might. And one like Sean Cronin, with his temperment and background, would certainly not refrain from using obcenities if it gets his point across clearly.

I think one of the things I've loved about Greeley's books is that he doesn't place his characters up on pedestals. You get to see the good, the bad, and the ugly about them. And that serves to make them just a little more attractive than if they were perfect all the time. ( )
  Demiguise | Jul 3, 2008 |
2888 White Smoke: A Novel about the Next Papal Conclave, by Andrew M. Greeley (read 17 Jul 1996) This is an exciting book about a lady working for CNN and her husband working for the New York Times--covering the 'next' papal conclave. It is poorly written and unnecessarily offensive since he has cardinals using obscenities. I found this highly obnoxious. The book is wildly liberal and conservatives would put it on the Index if the Index still existed. ( )
  Schmerguls | Feb 3, 2008 |
The best examination of religious politics I've read. This book follows a fictional Papal election, the campaigns, the back-stabbing, and lobbying that would give a presidential race a run for its money! ( )
  jshillingford | Jul 4, 2007 |
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The cardinals of the Roman Catholic Church have gathered in Rome for the papal election following the death of the incumbent pope. Torn by internal conflict and with many of its members alienated, the Church faces one of the most serious crises in its history. A coalition of cardinals favors a more moderate and pluralistic style of papal governance, but must contend with shadowy Vatican forces that oppose change and loss of their own power. These forces are determined to destory the coalition's candidate, a gentle and brilliant Spanish scholar. The leader of the coalition is Chicago's wily Sean Cardinal Cronin, aided by his patently indispensable sidekick, Bishop John Blackwood "Blackie" Ryan. A lone assassin stalks the Vatican, his crazed mission: to destroy the next pope as soon as the traditional white smoke issues from the cardinals' meeting room--the Sistine Chapel--followed by the ancient wordsHabemus papam. Can politics--Chicago style--turn the Catholic Church around? What will happen when the next pope must be chosen? Only Andrew M. Greeley, priest, bestselling novelist, and respected sociologist could have written this blockbuster tale of the forces actually ripping the Church apart, and of the next papal election, when the fate of the entire Catholic Church itself may well hang in the balance.

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