Vicars of Christ: A History of the Popes
Publisher: Tumblar House
Publication Date: April 22, 2014
Most books about the Popes have either tried to whitewash every sin any Pope has committed, or else have made them all out to be all out to be anti-Christs. On this emotional topic, writers seem to have left very little middle ground. But the truth is that there have obviously been good and obviously evil Popes, controversial Popes and forgotten Popes. In this book, they will all have their day in court. One by one, each Pope will be profiled, and their rich history, with all its pageantry, intrigue, holiness, and crime, will be unveiled.
"This book should occupy a place of prominence alongside the Bible, almanac, dictionary concordance, gazetteer, and encyclopedia of every Catholic book-stand." - Msgr. Francis J. Weber, Archivist Emeritus, Los Angeles Archdiocese.
Charles A. Coulombe is one of North America’s most respected and sought-after commentators on culture, religion, history, and politics. A specialist in the history and government of the Catholic Church, Coulombe’s influence and expertise extend far beyond matters religious. He has written on topics ranging from the history of rum to haunted houses to a history of the United States.
Mr. Coulombe is a social and political commentator of note. In 2005 he provided narration and commentary for ABC News during the funeral of Pope John Paul II and the subsequent election and installation of Pope Benedict XVI. A former journalist, Mr. Coulombe served as a film reviewer and Contributing Editor of the National Catholic Register, during which time he received the Christian Law Institute's Christ King Journalism Award. Coulombe's work has appeared in over than 20 journals, including regular columns in Fidelity (Australia), PRAG (London), Monarchy Canada, and Creole Magazine (Louisiana). He has also been a frequent contributor to such publications as Success, Catholic Twin Circle, Gnosis, FATE, and the New Oxford Review.
As an informed and passionate speaker on a wide variety of religious, social, political, historical, and literary topics, Mr. Coulombe has appeared on lecture circuits throughout the North America, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand. In 1992 he lectured at Oxford University and the following year embarked on a lecture tour of Ireland and Great Britain, returning to Oxford and Cambridge in 1995. Coulombe has also delivered lectures at the University of Southern California on the history of Rock & Roll and at Cleveland's John Carroll University on the history of medieval monarchy. In February 2011, he was invited to take part in a debate on the abolition of the monarchy before the prestigious Oxford Union.
I purchased Review of Vicars of Christ: A History of the Popes as a Christmas gift to myself! I have thoroughly enjoyed it, as I do all of Mr. Coulombe's works! The book is perfect for those who would like an overview of the "key points" of each papacy. It does not, as some papal histories tend to do, delve in burdensome detail about every nook and cranny of a particular papacy, but gives an accurate and noteworthy look at each papacy throughout the history of the Catholic Church! Definitely recommend for those who would like an overview of the history of the various popes!
Even though there are some typos and errors strewn about, this book is alongside Puritan's Empire, the Bible, and the Catechism that any good American Catholic man needs to be well versed in his religion. Seriously, Read this book!
This is a very interesting tale of all the Popes from Peter to Francis. It describes the major challenges and actions each took during his papacy. For instance what Pope decided that women were to have their heads covered in church and which Pope declared the scared vessels were to be handled by priests alone, etc. The history of our popes is not one of continuous examples of glorious personal holiness and ardent love for Jesus as on who would hope. Aside from the martyred popes, only a handful have been worthy of canonization. Some have been outright scoundrels. One scratches one's head and opines, " How has the Church ever survived?!!" Then one remembers the words of Jesus, that the gates of hell will not prevail against the Church. Further one remembers the parable of the wheat and the weeds/tares/cockles. In reviewing the history of the Church through the lives of the Popes, and then looking at our current mess I am renewed in my hope and prayers that ultimately Jesus will receive the glory of His sufferings and that He and the Immaculate Heart of Mary will prevail. I am a glad trad. Thank you Charles.
Charles A. Coulombes' book "Vicars of Christ: A History of the Popes" is an excellent book for anyone interested in Catholic Church history or for that matter world history.
This fascinating account shows how the Popes effected world events and how world events often shaped the papacy.
Saints and sinners both occupied the seat of Peter, and Mr Coulombe gives details of the life of each of these men that perhaps many readers did not know.
I highly recommend this book for any library.
I am not very far in the book yet, however I am finding it so interesting to find out just how long certain traditions have been around. Women covering their heads was decreed by our 2nd pope St Linus(67-76)That's almost 2000 years ago !!!!. St Clement (88-97) decreed the Apostolic succession with the laying of hands. Our 11th pope, St Pius (148-155 ) ordered that Easter must always be on a Sunday. This is only the start - Great book to find the origins of our faithful traditions.
An excellent resource on all the popes and their times, the good, the bad, the ugly, the irrelevant and the consequential. Seeing all the parts of the mass or faith introduced, Pope by Pope was an excellent addition, though it is saddening to see how many are described as being 'reformed' out of existence in the 60s/70s. Excellent resource.
Charles' history of the Popes, is one which is decidedly instructive for students and teachers of faith, and veritably enjoyable for average readers. His accounts are not only scientific examinations of causes and effects in the lives of the individual Popes (descriptions of events inevitably imply a before and after, thus causes and effects), how their characters show themselves to the Church at large, how adversaries and allies came into the scene (or left) the life of the Church, how their activities or teachings relate to their own days, their forbears, their accompanying saints, their spiritual progeny, their Council-members and brother bishops, but also this history shows interesting tidbits of contemporary relevance at every turn of the century, characteristically Charles, weaving together the plainness of facts, spiced with asides, or altogether embellished with the rich perspective of the specialist, daring wider scopes of narrative without injuring the disputants of the orthodox. There is much that can be understood with a text as this, and much more that could be said; it is the genre of the text that gives it such an pedagogical import, and its utility serves the historian, the statesmen, and the theologian alike, while its simplicity is reaching without being a bore. The studious will need this book as a support, much like the Catholic Encyclopedia, so that he can informatively compare and discriminate the Popes alongside his studies of general history, or as he dives into the canons of sacred Church Councils, or even alongside his political-economy studies of 'nationalism' or 'imperialism' or 'tribalism' etc; and also, your lay reader will be greatly edified in his battle defending the faith in the piety of his heart. If I could offer criticism, I would have liked to see a bibliography, and also perhaps an index of the anti-popes for clarity's sake.
This book is quite simply the ultimate reference book on the popes. To my knowledge, there is no other book like it. And to add to it, Mr. Coulombe's unique perspective and approach to each pope is a breath of fresh air.
After returning to the active practice of the Catholic Faith, I stumbled across the Lives of the Popes by (Fr?!) Richard O'Brien. It left much to be desired being full of Americanist and Modernist claptrap. This book was written to support those two heresies. Needless to say, I burned it in a pyre of heretical books.
I gave up on trying to find an objective history of the Papacy and then I stumbled across Mr. Coulombe's book. This is an infinitely better text than The Lives of the Popes. Vicars of Christ should replace the Lives of the Popes in every literate person's library. I plan on citing it extensively in my classroom.
Thank you for publishing this fine text!
With this book I have at my fingertips an honest, succinct history of every helmsman of Peter’s Barque along with robust, interesting and informative appendices Tracing the line to our current reigning pontiff, Charles recounts with honest approach each Pope, showing through this history several threads that make-up the tapestry of God’s refuge for man on Earth. Our own tumultuous times are nothing unique; there have been Great Popes and terrible Popes; Apostate popes and Holy Popes; Popes of whose biggest splash was merely remaining faithful.
But overall, this book traces the lineage of each successor to Peter and one gets the sense Jesus Christ meant “the Gates of Hell shall not prevail against Her” precisely because He built it not upon the shifting sands of man – be they Moderns, 30,000 Protestants sects, or Muhammed – namely the Rock, which is Peter. Who is Peter? The Vicar of Jesus Christ, Rex Regum et Dominus Dominorum.