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Publishers Weekly, 2004-11-29 When the next conclave meets to choose a successor to Pope John Paul II, this book could easily be required reading for papal observers and journalists reporting on the election. Pham, a writer and former Vatican diplomat and aide, presents an insider's view of the coming election buttressed by a thorough history and thoughtful analysis of the picking of popes. He explains the origins of the conclave (taken from the Latin, cum clave, meaning "with key") and how the present pope's alterations of the system that chose him will affect the first papal election of the 21st century. Pham also proposes and vets a short list of possible candidates, known as papabili. Although he is not the first to preview the next papal election in this fashion (John Allen's 2002 book, Conclave, provided a concise and readable overview), Pham's work is notable for its detail. He devotes extensive space to notes and appendices that include a complete list of popes beginning with St. Peter; John Paul's 1996 document on papal elections; a list of cardinals currently eligible to vote; biographical annotations on figures mentioned in the text; and a glossary of church terms. Pham's exhaustive approach and informed view will appeal to anyone interested in more than a cursory treatment of this fascinating subject. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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