In the style of Bill Bryson, a fascinating and amusing, unauthorised guide to the Vatican.
Discerning journalist and Catholic, Robert Hutchinson decided in 1996 to take his family to live in Rome for a year so he could explore the secrets of the Vatican. WHEN IN ROME is the delightful journal of his Roman sojourn.
As he settles in, Hutchinson discovers the many delights and frustrations of life in Rome, and slowly begins his exploration into the lesser known and hallowed portals of the Vatican.
With humour and insight, he relates stories of papal mistresses, the discovery and subsequent loss of St Peter’s bones, the secret (and unkempt) archives, weird relics, money laundering at the Vatican Bank, the silent and simplistic bureaucracy at the hub of this worldwide church, and even advice on how you get to be a cardinal – or a pope.
Despite the scandals and the shortcomings, he remains ultimately respectful to a church which has survived two millennia.
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: The Vatican: one of the oldest, most powerful, and secretive establishments in the world. But what is it really like? American religious affairs journalist Robert Hutchinson moved to Rome for a year, with his wife and three small children, to try to get to the heart of the Roman Catholic Church. When in Rome is the fascinating story of his investigation.
This is no dry history of the Church, no dull catalogue of hierarchies. What makes this book so enjoyable is that it is a travelogue, a journal of a personal journey of discovery, telling of the delights and the frustrations of the author's exploration of Rome and his attempts to find out more about the centre of the Roman Catholic Church. Rome is a complicated, cluttered, clamorous city, the centre of its own universe. It's intensely bureaucratic; to visit anywhere, to meet anyone, it seems that dozens of forms have to be filled in. And journalists in particular are regarded with suspicion.
But Hutchinson perseveres. He doesn't manage to get to many top officials, but he has fascinating conversations with all sorts of other people, from an outrageous character who is the Vatican's official Latin expert, to the tailors who make cardinals' outfits; he gets into the Vatican Archives and the Vatican Observatory; he even goes to Handel's Messiah and sits five feet away from the pope. This is a fun book about Rome, full of fascinating, often scurrilous details from the history of the Vatican. --David V BarrettFrom the Back Cover:
Journalist, Robert Hutchinson, decided to take his wife and three young sons to live in Rome so he could explore first hand the innermost secrets of the Vatican. 'When in Rome' is the extraordinary journal of his Roman sojourn.
Settling into the delights and frustrations of Roman life, Hutchinson forges his way through the silent bureaucracy at the hub of the Catholic Church, into the Hallowed and lesser known portals of the Vatican State.
He probes the sex lives of the popes, experiences high fashion in the Holy See, encounters the weird relics of Catholicism and discovers the lucrative methods of money making at the Vatican Bank. He even picks up a tip or two on getting to the top as a cardinal or pope.
Despite his hugely entertaining humour, Hutchinson remains ultimately respectful to his church of two millennia.
Robert Hutchinson has reported on the Vatican for over 15 years. The winner of eight journalism awards from the Catholic Press Association and the Associated Church Press, he lives in California.
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Book Description HarperCollins, 2000. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # P110002740370