The Dictator Pope
Publication Date: April 23, 2018
Marcantonio Colonna's The Dictator Pope has rocked Rome and the entire Catholic Church with its portrait of an authoritarian, manipulative, and politically partisan pontiff. Occupying a privileged perch in Rome during the tumultuous first years of Francis's pontificate, Colonna was privy to the shock, dismay, and even panic that the reckless new pope engendered in the Church's most loyal and judicious leaders. The Dictator Pope discloses that Father Jorge Bergoglio (the future Pope Francis) was so unsuited for ecclesiastical leadership that the head of his own Jesuit order tried to prevent his appointment as a bishop in Argentina. Behind the benign smile of the "people's pope" Colonna reveals a ruthless autocrat aggressively asserting the powers of the papacy in pursuit of a radical agenda.
"A remarkable new book on the pope which is making waves in Rome and around the world....This volume is far more probing and detailed than anything that has previously appeared....When the head of the Church himself does not much feel bound by the tradition or impartial laws he has inherited, what then?...Any answer will have to reckon with the eye-opening material in this compelling book."
--Robert Royal, The Catholic Thing
"The Dictator Pope draws on a wide range of material including confidential sources within the Vatican....Much of the book consists of close analysis of the various controversies which have characterized Francis's time in office, including the family synod, the reform of Vatican finances, and the dispute over the Knights of Malta. [The author] claims that the pope has become unaccountable, and that the atmosphere within the Vatican is primarily one of fear."
--The Catholic Herald
"The most valuable service provided by the author of The Dictator Pope is the psychological portrait of Pope Francis: manipulative, hypersensitive, and often downright vindictive--certainly not the cheerful populist that his supporters make him out to be....For all the talk about a 'reformer pope, ' the rhetoric about decentralization, and the promises of reform, the net results of this pontificate to date have been a climate of fear within the Vatican, a tightening of control, and a resurgence of the 'old guard' in Rome."
--Philip Lawler, author of Lost Shepherd: How Pope Francis Is Misleading His Flock
Based on this book, it looks like the problems which the Vatican are facing right now will continue into the foreseeable future. In that sense, this book helped me temper my expectations. We know there's a lot of moving parts in the Vatican. But in the book, it is very tough keeping track of everyone. A lot of names that you'll hear once, and never again.
The author traces the absolutely extraordinary sequence of events that had to transpire in order for Bergoglio to become bishop, then cardinal, then Pope. From my perspective, this had to be Divine Providence and God's plan.
I read this book because I wanted a true insider look from a journalist with integrity. We live in an age where a journalist has yet to ask the pope a simple question like "Are you going to answer the Dubia?" I believe this author was very courageous to pen this book, and reveal his actual name (Henry Sire). It's a tough book to read in a sense, because it's exposing realities which aren't pleasant to think about. Ignorance may be bliss, but the truth will set you free. If you're interested in the truth about what's going on in the Vatican, read this book.