Note: I wrote this entry back in December, but it still seems relevant, as the College of Cardinals is meeting this week to elect a new Pope.
The January 2005 issue of US Catholic carries a book excerpt from John Allen's â€œAll the Pope's Men: The Inside Story of How the Vatican Really Thinks.â€? If the book is half as interesting as the article, I think many libraries will find it a good purchase. Some things that I as a Catholic did not know before reading this article:
+The Vatican's annual operating budget is 1/5 that of Harvard University.
+All of the Vatican's buildings and artwork at valued at 1 euro each because the Church sees them as the artistic heritage of the entire world.
+The Vatican is unable to tell bishops how to build their churches.
The article I read is not currently online, but you can find out more about the book at:
NPR's Fresh Air interview with the author.
Powell's Books' listing for the item.
John Allen also writes a weekly column Word from Rome which looks interesting.