Power and the Papacy: The People and Politics Behind the Doctrine of Infallibility

Robert McClory, Author Liguori Publications $25 (256p) ISBN 978-0-7648-0141-9
McClory's book is, without question, the most accessible book on the history of the doctrine of papal infallibility now available. At the First Vatican Council in 1870, the Roman Catholic church established the doctrine. Since then, Catholics have been divided over the meaning and importance of this doctrine for their faith. McClory avoids a sterile, merely objective recounting of historical facts and instead presents the colorful people, personalities and events that have driven the debate. McClory makes it clear that papal infallibility is far more limited that most people, Catholics included, believe, and he follows the roots of the infallibility pronouncement to long before the First Vatican Council. In spite of conservative Catholic affection for the doctrine of papal infallibility and liberal Catholic regret at its very existence, McClory avoids siding with either party. In the end, according to McClory, ""ambivalent"" is perhaps the best term to describe contemporary Catholicism's approach to this doctrine. McClory's book is captivating and spellbinding because he combines a gift for storytelling with informative and accurate historical reporting. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 09/29/1997
Release date: 10/01/1997
Genre: Religion
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