When Shahbaz Bhatti, the lone Christian in Pakistan's cabinet and a determined campaigner for the rights of Christians and members of other faiths was killed, his Taliban-affiliated assassins probably hoped it would be the end of his influence. Instead, Bhatti's stature has only grown after death, and today he looms as a martyr and patron saint for persecuted Christians everywhere. His riveting life, from devoted altar boy in an overwhelming Muslim nation to human rights campaigner, from politician and government minister to martyr, is one of the great Christian dramas of our time, and as long as Christians are at risk anywhere in the world, Shahbaz Bhatti will be a source of inspiration and hope. This book traces the evolution of a martyr, from his roots in a traditionally Catholic village in the Punjab region of Pakistan through his awakening as an activist and political leader. It also explores the possibility that Bhatti may one day be declared a saint of the Catholic Church. It's a story that deserves to be told, everywhere and always, until it's part of the common heritage of Christianity and all humanity.
Roman Catholicism stands at a crossroads, a classic best of times, worst of times moment. On the one hand, the Catholic Church remains by far the largest branch of the worldwide Christian family, and is growing at a remarkable clip. Yet the Church has also been rocked by a series of scandals related to the sexual abuse of minors by clergy, and, even more devastating, the cover-up by the Church hierarchy. The decade-long crisis has taken a massive financial toll, but the blow to both the internal morale and the external moral standing of the Church has been even steeper. Today, the Church has enormous residual strength and exciting future prospects, but also faces steep internal and external challenges. The question of whither Catholicism is of vital public relevance, for believers and non-believers alike. In The Catholic Church: What Everyone Needs to Know, John L. Allen, Jr., one of the world's leading authorities on the Vatican, offers an authoritative and accessible guide to the past, present, and future of the Church. This updated edition includes a new chapter on the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI, the election of Pope Francis, and his extraordinary tenure thus far.
Opus Dei is one of the most talked about but least known religious organizations of our time. For years no one has been allowed access to its secrets. Until now ... Here, Vatican insider John Allen uncovers its true nature. Granted unlimited access to those within its ranks, gaining a wealth of interviews with the heads of Opus Dei around the world, Allen finally separates the myths from the facts: the actual use of whips and the cilice; the true extent of Opus Dei's funds; the identities of its influential members in politics, banking and high office; and how much power this shadowy group really has. 'Definitive, persuasive and absorbing' Daily Telegraph 'Focuses on some of the most controversial aspects of the organization, from its treatment of women to its recruitment and its money' Independent 'He reports on all aspects of the Opus Dei cult (including structure and finance, and the practice of mortifying the flesh with a cilice) ... and, most usefully, includes details of the bishops and personnel around the world who are Opus Dei clergy' New Statesman 'An admirable book ... the first stop for anyone interested in [Opus Dei]' Sunday Times
On Tuesday 19th April 2005: white smoke signals the election of a new Pontiff, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, Pope Benedict XVI. Reprint of Cardinal Ratzinger with a New Preface, revised title and jacket. The elevation of Joseph Ratzinger to the Papacy has raised more questions than it answers about what the future holds for the world's one billion Roman Catholics. Seasoned Vatican watcher, John L. Allen Jr is ideally placed to answer these questions tracing Ratzinger's story from his Bavarian routes (including a spell in the Hitler Youth movement), his support for Vatican 11, and the unique relationship he shared with John Paul 11 whilst number two in the Catholic Church. Whilst a Cardinal, Joseph Ratzinger never failed to polarise opinions, attracting adoration and opprobrium in equal measure He is certain to continue to do so whilst Pope. This book needs to be read by Catholic and non-Catholics alike to understand the mind of a man who now has one of the most powerful roles on earth.