Cover image for The complete idiot's guide to the popes and papacy
The complete idiot's guide to the popes and papacy
Toropov, Brandon.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Indianapolis, IN : Alpha Books, [2002]

Physical Description:
xxi, 312 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
BX955.3 .T67 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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Offers an introduction to the role of the pope in the Catholic Church, discusses the Vatican's influence on world history, and profiles selected popes.

Author Notes

Brandon Toropov is a Boston-based writer whose published works include: The Complete Idiot's Guide to Getting Along With Difficult People. Macmillan, March 1997. The Complete Idiot's Guide to the World's Religions, with Father Luke Buckles. Macmillan, August 1997. The Encyclopedia of Cold War Politics. Facts On File, Inc., July 2000. 50 Biggest Baseball Myths. Citadel Press, May 1997. How to Impress Anybody About Anything: Sound Smarter Than You Are About Everything from Aerodynamics to Zen Buddhism, with Leslie Hamilton. Citadel Press, December 1998. Who Was Eleanor Rigby el and 908 More Questions and Answers about the Beatles. HarperCollins, November 1996.

Mr. Toropov is also the author of a number of plays. These include Seven Affidavits on Authority, produced in Boston and Providence, Rhode Island, in 2000; An Undivided Heart, workshopped at the National Playwrights Conference in 1994; and The Job Search, produced at the Manhattan Punch Line in 1987.

Table of Contents

Part 1 When in Rome ...p. 1
1 Roman Catholicism 101p. 3
What Is the Roman Catholic Church?p. 3
What Do Roman Catholics Believe?p. 4
What Is Transubstantiation?p. 7
What Is Purgatory?p. 7
Why Do Catholics Go to Confession?p. 10
Do Catholics Worship the Virgin Mary?p. 10
What Is a Catechism?p. 11
2 The Papacy: Nuts and Boltsp. 15
The Hierarchyp. 15
How Popes Are Chosenp. 16
Papal Authority Within the Churchp. 17
Papal Messagesp. 19
The Papacy Through the Centuriesp. 19
The Papacy: A Timelinep. 20
An Enduring Institutionp. 23
3 Prophecies and Portents?p. 25
Was St. Malachy a Real Person?p. 26
The Authorship Questionp. 27
Prophecies of Malachy That Attracted Early Noticep. 28
The Scoffers Have Their Sayp. 30
Selected Prophecies of Malachy Relating to Popes Reigning After 1559p. 30
Then What?p. 33
The Last Wordp. 34
4 Ten to Remember: Popes Who Made a Differencep. 37
The Right Men at the Right Timep. 38
5 Ten to Forget: Popes Who Shouldn't Have Beenp. 47
Beyond the "Bad Popes" Labelp. 47
Out of His Depth: Vigilius Overreachesp. 48
Money, Money: Sabinian Takes the Low Roadp. 49
Dirty Business: Sergius IIIp. 49
The "Popess" Who Wasn'tp. 50
Bad Beginnings and Bad Ends: John XIIp. 51
Qualification Issues: John XIXp. 51
Devoted to Pleasure: Benedict IXp. 51
Why Did I Take This Job, Anyway?: Celestine Vp. 52
Philip's Pawn: Clement Vp. 53
The Matchmaker: Innocent VIIIp. 53
Family Man: Alexander VIp. 54
So What's the Lesson Here?p. 55
Part 2 The Ascent of Christianityp. 57
6 The Rock: Peter and His Immediate Successorsp. 59
Warning: Conjecture Aheadp. 59
The Early Yearsp. 60
Why Rome?p. 60
Who Was St. Peter?p. 62
After Pentecostp. 63
A Tough Act to Followp. 64
Rome, a Century After Christp. 66
7 Tough Times: Persecution and Challenge in the Early Churchp. 69
The Saints Come Marching Inp. 69
Doctrinal and Other Challengesp. 70
Why the Hard Line on Heresy?p. 72
A Conflict over Easterp. 73
Dark Timesp. 74
8 "In This Sign Shall You Conquer"p. 77
A New Kind of Emperorp. 79
After the Council at Nicaeap. 81
Rome Drifts Toward Chaosp. 82
Leo Ip. 83
A Time of Changep. 84
9 Rome Reemergesp. 87
The Western Empire Disintegratesp. 88
Finally--a Man Big Enough for the Jobp. 93
After Gregoryp. 95
Honorius Launches an Argumentp. 95
Half a Century of Squabbling Concludesp. 97
Turbulent Timesp. 97
10 Willing Spirits, Weak Flesh, and Fresh Divisionp. 103
After Leo IIIp. 104
Conflict and Trialp. 105
Blood and Scandalp. 106
"Family Drama" Continuesp. 109
Otto Takes Chargep. 110
The New Millennium Dawnsp. 111
The Tusculanis Assume Power ... for a Whilep. 112
A Great Reformer, a Formal Breakp. 113
Part 3 Consolidation and Challengep. 115
11 As Far as to the Sepulchre of Christp. 117
After the Breach--Business as Usualp. 119
The Papacy Takes a Standp. 120
A Pope Willing to Make the Most of an Imperial Leadership Crisisp. 127
12 Who's Who? The Avignon Popes and the Council of Constancep. 131
Stability in the Top Spot ... Not!p. 132
The Avignon Popesp. 134
Who's in Charge?p. 137
The Costs of the Great Schismp. 139
13 Showdown with the Councilp. 141
A New View of the Papacy?p. 142
The Pope and the Council, Continuedp. 144
After the Councilp. 145
Business as Usualp. 147
Sixtus IV's Two Legaciesp. 147
Tensions Buildp. 149
14 The Earthquakep. 151
Suspicion and Corruptionp. 152
After Alexanderp. 153
A Challenge in Germanyp. 154
15 Rift and Reformationsp. 161
Welcome to Chaos, Your Holinessp. 162
The Man Who Knew What to Dop. 164
And Then There Was Paulp. 165
Pius Picks Up the Piecesp. 167
Part 4 After Trentp. 171
16 Building a New Churchp. 173
A Matter of Principlep. 173
The Times, They Are a-Changin'p. 176
The One They Rememberp. 177
A Break in the Actionp. 178
Leadership at Lastp. 179
A Well-Known Family, a Brief Pontificatep. 180
Fresh Turmoil Loomsp. 180
17 An Unfamiliar Worldp. 183
Ballots and Missionsp. 183
The Unconsulted Popep. 187
Troubles with the French Kingp. 189
A Pope for the World Stagep. 189
More Trouble with the Frenchp. 190
The Old Century Wanesp. 191
A New Erap. 191
18 Showdown with the Monarchsp. 193
"Sufficient Qualifications"p. 194
"No Longer of This World"p. 197
Reform in the Abstractp. 198
The Pope Who Refused Confessionp. 198
The Brilliant Benedictp. 199
19 Victory by Defeatp. 203
Clement Under Firep. 204
Pius VI Struggles for His Footingp. 205
Pius VII: Humiliation and Triumphp. 207
"Will You Elect a Skeleton?"p. 211
The Traditionalistp. 212
Part 5 From Potentate to Pastorp. 215
20 Three Men and the Modern Worldp. 217
In for the Long Termp. 217
After Pius IXp. 223
The Pope Takes a Stand Against Modernismp. 224
Storms on the Horizonp. 226
21 The World in Flamesp. 227
The Church and the Great Warp. 228
"The Peace of Christ"p. 230
Pius and World War IIp. 233
22 A New Wind Blowsp. 237
Opening a Window: John XXIIIp. 237
Paul Guides the Councilp. 241
23 A Global Stage, an Enduring Mission: The Papacy in Our Timep. 247
The Superstar Pontificatep. 249
The Papacy, Old and Newp. 254
24 Epilogue: In Their Own Wordsp. 257
The Ever-Quotable Popesp. 258
A The Popes in Sequencep. 269
B The Antipopes in Sequencep. 279
C Further Readingp. 281
Indexp. 285