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The Making of the Pope 2005    by Andrew M. Greeley order for
Making of the Pope 2005
by Andrew M. Greeley
Order:  USA  Can
Little, Brown & Co., 2005 (2005)

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* * *   Reviewed by J. A. Kaszuba Locke

Combining his experience and education as a sociologist, storyteller, journalist, and above all fifty-one years of priesthood in the Roman Catholic Church, Father Andrew Greeley writes a follow-up to his classic, The Making of the Popes 1978. Greeley's storytelling skills, beliefs, and common sense, come together in The Making of the Pope 2005. He writes about church and clergy, the laity, an evaluation of Pope John Paul II's reign, and the election of a new Pope. Covered are the 'centuries-old-conclave' (Latin for lock and key) process of selection of candidates, their backgrounds, and especially what kind of Pope is needed in today's Church.

Upon the election of Pope John Paul II, it was expected that this papa would be a liberal Pope. However, in his twenty-six-years on the throne, John Paul II was revealed as, yes, a well-loved, charismatic Church head, but also conservative, and non-progressive with respect to community needs, as Catholics became increasingly dismissive of papal authority. John Paul II traveled extensively to many countries, creating a bridge of sorts, but he did not make it a habit to consult or 'govern collaboratively'. Greeley analyzes the crises, the conflicts, and the alienation since the Second Vatican Council, where decisions for reform were made and promised, but eventually ignored to the confusion of Catholics.

The success of Pope Benedict XVI (formerly Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger) will be determined by his chosen style of leadership. Cardinal Ratzinger issued his 'Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on the Collaboration of Men and Women in the Church and the World' in (August 2004). In essence, according to Greeley he said 'that radical feminism emphasizes the subordination of women, making it essential for women to seek power. This in turn leads to opposition between men and women, which has lethal effects on the structure of the family ... Ratzinger contends, radical feminism denies that the physical differences between men and women are important and hence equates homosexuality and heterosexuality and calls into question the family.' Why the conclave elected Ratzinger is analyzed further by Greeley.

It is made clear to readers that Father Greeley is a reformer ('Ecclesia semper reformanda' or 'the Church always needs reform'). He writes that church leaders 'teach and preach', but they 'must first of all listen'. Greeley chronicles the politics, doctrine, and selection of Popes over centuries. There was a time when priests were allowed to marry, birthed children, and had mistresses. At times, papal election was through bribery, and in the 1800s, the 'Council of Constance' relieved three Popes of their duties. In 1939, Pius XII was 'accompanied by his housekeeper, Madre Pasqualina' (aka La Papessa), supposedly the first woman permitted entry into a conclave.

Father Andrew M. Greeley is a voice to be heard, not only by Catholic clergy and laity, but also by those of other faiths,non-believers, and skeptics. He tells it like it is, pulling no punches, with statements such as: 'the Vatican prefers men (and women) who will certainly not make trouble - and who can be counted on generally not to have many thoughts of their own.' Greeley has addressed religious and sociological topics in varied media. He is also a best-selling author of inspirational mysteries examining society's spiritual and moral questions. For me, the cliché 'Time will tell' is apropos as to the direction that the hierarchy of the Catholic church will take in the future. Being in the winter of my Polish, Christian (baptized Catholic) life, I have strong hopes, yet doubt that I will see changes to such aspects as women in the priesthood, priests allowed to marry, open acceptance of homosexuality, election of a Third-World Pope, and a Pope for the people but also one who does listen to the laity.

Reading in-depth, controversial subjects is not always an easy task for me. However, it is difficult to resist the challenge presented by Father Greeley, a priest - yes, but a human being, a thinker, and above all a listener. The Making of the Pope 2005 got my dander up, brought tears, some laughter, and relief in reading things I did not know, but most of all an ache in my mind and soul.

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