This new book on the Vatican has it all: sex scandals, both gay and straight; back-stabbing Cardinals and backroom power politics; petty turf wars and rhetorical gaffes; financial mismanagement and kickbacks; even personal papal peccadilloes. But it also has serious religious debates, hair-splitting theological distinctions and definitions, doctrinal disputes, and even endearing Latinists. "The Vatican Diaries" manages to be both sensationalistic and even-handed.
Of course, all the reviews and news coverage of the book concentrate on the salacious stuff. Why not? It's pretty juicy.
You know you're in for some pretty surprising revelations, when right off the bat, author John Thavis, in an almost off-handed manner, mentions that the beloved Pope John Paul II was into self-flagellation. That's right, for many years, he whipped himself with a leather belt as a form of self-mortification. The groans were apparently loud enough to be heard by the nuns who cooked for him. Who knew?
Thavis, a veteran Catholic journalist who's spent thirty years covering the Vatican, stopped by the KIRO Studios for a chat about his behind-the-scenes, warts-and-all look at the Catholic Church.
We started off talking about the brand new Pope, Francis the First, before eventually zeroing in on how the Church really functions (or perhaps more accurately, doesn't function) on a day-to-day basis. Catholics, prepare to cringe.
Listen to the full interview on KIRORadio.com.