The Pontiff in Winter: Triumph and Conflict in the Reign of John Paul II

Front Cover
Crown Publishing Group, Dec 18, 2007 - Biography & Autobiography - 368 pages
1 Review
Over more than a quarter of a century, John Paul II has firmly set his stamp on the billion-member strong Catholic Church for future generations and he has become one of the most influential political figures in the world. His key role in the downfall of communism in Europe, as well as his apologies for the Catholic Church’s treatment of Jews and to victims of the Inquisition, racism, and religious wars, won him worldwide admiration. Yet his papacy has also been marked by what many perceive as misogyny, homophobia, and ecclesiastical tyranny. Some critics suggest that his perpetuation of the Church’s traditional hierarchical paternalism contributed to pedophiliac behavior in the priesthood and encouraged superiors to sweep the crimes under the carpet. The Pontiff in Winter brings John Paul’s complex, contradictory character into sharp focus. In a bold, highly original work, John Cornwell argues that John Paul’s mystical view of history and conviction that his mission has been divinely established are central to understanding his pontificate. Focusing on the period from the eve of the millennium to the present, Cornwell shows how John Paul’s increasing sense of providential rightness profoundly influenced his reactions to turbulence in the secular world and within the Church, including the 9/11 attacks, the pedophilia scandals in the United States, the clash between Islam and Christianity, the ongoing debates over the Church’s policies regarding women, homosexuals, abortion, AIDS, and other social issues, and much more. A close, trusted observer of the Vatican, Cornwell combines eyewitness reporting with information from the best sources in and outside the pope’s inner circle. Always respectful of John Paul’s prodigious spirit and unrelenting battles for human rights and religious freedom, Cornwell raises serious questions about a system that grants lifetime power to an individual vulnerable to the vicissitudes of aging and illness. The result is a moving, elegiac portrait of John Paul in the winter of his life and a thoughtful, incisive assessment of his legacy to the Church.

What people are saying - Write a review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Sensitive1 - LibraryThing

Extremely well written, it's always a pleasure to read Mr Cornwell. Every Catholic (and -phile) should read this book. It wakes you up to a reality not readily seen; the curtains are well and truly ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - bhowell - LibraryThing

Who but John Cornwell can write about the Catholic church with such credibility and a discerning eye? This is a very important book written by a respected and readable historian. His academic ... Read full review


Title Page
CHAPTER TWO Stagestruck
CHAPTER FOUR Professor and Pastor
CHAPTER SIX Combating Communism
CHAPTER NINE The Universal Pastor
CHAPTER ELEVEN Back on the Road
CHAPTER THIRTEEN John Paul Saints and Scientists
CHAPTER FOURTEEN John Pauls Conflict with Democracy
CHAPTER TWENTYTWO Third Secret of Fatima
CHAPTER THIRTYONE John Paul and the Iraq
CHAPTER THIRTYFIVE John Pauls Grand Design

CHAPTER NINETEEN Ufficioso and Ufficiale
About the Author

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2007)

John Cornwell is the author of the international bestseller Hitler’s Pope, as well as an award-winning journalist with a lifelong interest in Vatican affairs. He has reported on the pope for Vanity Fair and The Sunday Times (London), and has written on the Catholic Church for Commonweal and the international Catholic weekly The Tablet. He attended Roman Catholic seminaries in England for seven years, followed by studies in literature and philosophy at Oxford and Cambridge universities. In 1990 he was elected a Fellow of Jesus College, Cambridge, where he now directs the Science and Human Dimension Project.

Bibliographic information