When Popes Were Papas

A History of the Popes
From Peter to the Present
John W. O’Malley, SJ
Sheed & Ward, $19.95, 368 pp.

The papacy is “the oldest living institution in the Western world,” John O’Malley notes in his introduction to A History of the Popes, and “as vital today as perhaps ever in its history.” Given the negative attributes that the book ascribes to various popes over the centuries, the papacy’s ongoing vitality is indeed remarkable, but also somewhat contextual. As O’Malley observes, “for the past hundred years, the papacy has played a larger role in Catholics’...

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About the Author

Bernard P. Prusak teaches theology at Villanova University.