Few authors can boast that Pope Benedict helped sell their books, but the pontiff’s shock resignation has boosted interest in all things Catholic just as veteran Vatican journalist John Thavis is about to publish.
“The Vatican Diaries,” a behind-the-scenes look at the faith’s fabled nerve centre, goes on sale on February 21, just one week before the pope takes the nearly unprecedented step of quitting as the head of the world’s largest church.
Thavis, who covered the Vatican for 30 years until retiring from his post as bureau chief for the U.S.-based Catholic News Service last year, had long known Benedict believed a pope could resign and worried he might do it before the book came out.
But he says he was as shocked as anyone else when the pope announced his decision on Monday. The book is not an analysis of the soon-to-end pontificate, but the stories it tells amount to what Thavis calls “a mosaic history of Benedict’s papacy.”