By Colin Dickey
Afterlives of the Saints is a woven amassing of groundbreaking essays that go through Renaissance anatomy and the Sistine Chapel, Borges’ "Library of Babel," the heritage of spontaneous human combustion, the risks of masturbation, the pleasures of castration, “and so forth” — each one essay targeting the tale of a specific (and really unusual) saint.
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After his election, John Paul II eliminated the first two methods of choosing a pope. Thus, all popes going forward will—like John Paul II himself —be selected by popular, secret vote, unless a successor pope chooses to revise the rules yet again. The papal election is not at all like a presidential election. It’s considered improper for cardinals to lobby or campaign among their colleagues for the job of pope. Theoretically, 47 48 POPE JOHN PAUL II the cardinals’ votes are supposed to be driven by God’s will, uninfluenced by practical concerns of the material world.
It was late autumn of 1946, when, after I was ordained a priest, I arrived here to continue my studies. . I carried in my eye the image of Rome from history, from literature and from the entire Christian tradition. For many days, I criss-crossed the city, which then had one million inhabitants, and I couldn’t fully find the image of that Rome I had brought with me. Slowly, slowly, I found it. ” Early in his tenure at Rome, young Wojtyla had the privilege of meeting Pope Pius XII, during a brief private audience for seminarians held in the same Apostolic Palace where John Paul would one day live, work, and die.
And one day after that, his former coworkers from the quarry presented him with a cassock, one he took with him the following morning when he returned to Wadowice, there to say Mass in the parish of his childhood. A week after that, he administered a baptism for the first time, pouring water over the infant daughter of two old childhood friends. He wrote that he felt his life closing in a beautiful and preordained circle. C H A P T E R 3 The Road to the Papacy Almost immediately after his ordination, Wojtyla was dispatched to the Eternal City of Rome for postgraduate studies.