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The Vatican and the New York Times are just two of the sacred cows milked for all they're worth by Andrew M. Greeley in White Smoke. Greeley's starting point--the openness and tolerance espouse by Pope John XXIII in 1963 has, in the intervening decades, been squashed by more conservative forces. Greeley's ending point: the election of a liberal pope who is not only a pro-feminist, but who was once married. In between, he skewers the New York Times in the person of correspondent Dennis Michael Mulloy, a "typical Irish Catholic journalist--magical with words, a fall-down drunk, divorced, fallen away from the church." --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
A priest's collar adorns Greeley's neck, of course, and the title refers to the smoke issued from the Vatican when a new pope is chosen-but you don't have to be Catholic to enjoy the author's wise and witty latest (after Irish Gold). For all the ecclesiastical trappings, the real story here is "the ancient and honorable art of politics, second only to poetry in Plato's view of things." The source of that line is frequent Greeley narrator Auxiliary Bishop John Blackwood (Blackie) Ryan of Chicago, who spends almost as much time keeping his superior, Sean Cardinal Cronin, healthy as he does politicking during the election of the new pope. The just-deceased pope isn't named, but Greeley leaves little doubt that he's the present pontiff. As the cardinals assemble to elect a successor, the fictional, right-wing Corpus Christie Institute joins forces with the real-life Opus Dei and the Curia to block the candidacy of the leading liberal candidate. These conservative forces employ electronic eavesdropping, rumor-mongering and character assassination, but they aren't quite up to Ryan, who learned his politics in Chicago. Ryan, whose commentary alternates with other first- and third-person viewpoints, offers lively takes on the Church ("more often good theater these days than good religion"), the American hierarchy ("who didn't understand yet that a little bit authoritarian was like a little bit pregnant") and the cardinals' mission: "to elect a Pope who will not stand in the way of either the Holy Spirit or Jesus' message of love." Included in the high-spirited storytelling are some rare snippets of Church history regarding married popes, early Christian women involved in Church rites and so on. Greeley knows his material and his opinions, and sets both into delicious spins here. Author tour.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
It may be unfair of me to rate and review this book, since I didn't finish it. But the fact that I couldn't get past page 50 or so tells it all. Read morePublished on Nov. 15 2003 by Barbara B.
It is fiction of course. It can not be otherwise for what it contends may happen is IMPOSSIBLE! Many reviewers are upset. Upset perhaps but they should not be worried. Read morePublished on Nov. 12 2003 by Carl of Veritas Inc.
Blackie, with some electronic help and the assistance of a Black Roman Princesss, prevents some ultra right wing skulduggery in the election of a new Pope. Read morePublished on Oct. 18 2003 by Hugh Curtin
Vatican liberals plant stories in major U.S. media and portray anybody who disagrees with them as crazy assassins who'll stop at nothing to get a more moderate pope elected. Read morePublished on Nov. 4 2002
This was the first Andrew Greeley novel I've read, and I found it more than a little disappointing. There are effectively two levels of characterization here: All the... Read morePublished on Aug. 27 2001 by D. A. Hosek
This is the first Greeley novel I have read. It was a little hard to get into his style of writing at first, but then I couldn't put it down. Read morePublished on April 16 2001
I enjoyed most of the book, but would have appreciated it if Mr. Greeley's editor would have reworked the book a little. Read morePublished on Oct. 2 2000 by Janet Stedman
A tiresome novel of Vatican intrigue that's way short on the intrigue. All of the "good" characters are attractive, intelligent, liberals who are either agnostics or refer to God... Read morePublished on Jan. 20 2000 by Aubrey McLean