DAILY CATHOLIC    WEDNESDAY     October 13, 1999     vol. 10, no. 195

from a CATHOLIC perspective

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A leading Catholic apologist sets the record straight in Pope Fiction

        SAN DIEGO, CA (October 12) - Defying the recent spate of media attacks on the Catholic Church and the papacy, American author Patrick Madrid has written an important new book in defense of the papacy. Pope Fiction: Answers to 30 Myths and Misconceptions About the Papacy (Basilica Press, 340 pages) offers a tour-de-force refutation of 30 major arguments against the papacy in general and specific popes in particular raised by Evangelical Protestants, radical feminists, secularists, and others. Madrid is the editor-in-chief of Envoy magazine, a journal of Catholic apologetics and evangelization; his books include Surprised by Truth and Any Friend of God’s Is a Friend of Mine.

        Though written primarily for a popular audience, Pope Fiction enters the debate over the papacy with a depth and vigor that will likely garner the attention (and ire) of papal critics. The book brims with a formidable array of biblical, historical and theological facts. It offers fresh and intriguing insights into issues such as the persistent “Pope Joan” myth about an alleged ninth-century woman who disguised herself as a man, was ordained a priest, and was eventually elected to the papacy.

        “Pope Joan” is the subject of a recent best-selling book by the same title by Donna Woolfolk Cross, and is the subject of a soon to be released major motion picture, produced by Harry Ufland (producer of “The Last Temptation of Christ” and “One True Thing”). Madrid says he hopes Pope Fiction’s demolition of the Pope Joan myth "will be an antidote to the confusion about the papacy that will inevitably result when this movie is released."

        In light of the recent release of Hitler’s Pope, John Cornwell’s polemical book which charges that Pope Pius XII was “silent” in the face of Hitler’s efforts to exterminate European Jews, Pope Fiction offers a much-needed dose of the salient facts, presented in a manner completely accessible to a popular audience.

        In the book’s final, explosive chapter Madrid draws on the work of renowned scholars and journalists such as Dr. Peter Gumple, S.J. and Antonio Gaspari to present a comprehensive picture of Pope Pius XII’s vigorous behind-the-scenes role saving Jews during the Holocaust. What emerges is a compelling case in favor of the pontiff, demonstrating that, far from his being tacitly complicit in Hitler’s extermination campaign against the Jews (as critics allege), Pope Pius XII was one of the most indefatigable and effective protectors of the Jews during the Holocaust.

        Other hot-button issues Madrid examines include: papal involvement in the Spanish Inquisition, the Galileo Affair, and the Crusades; the scriptural and patristic evidence surrounding Simon Peter’s role in the New Testament Church; the “scandal of bad popes”; the papacy’s track record on slavery; the assertion that an alleged papal title, “Vicarius Filii Dei,” equates with the 666 “Number of the Beast” mentioned in Revelation 13; and examples of popes who allegedly taught theological error. Special attention is given to biblical and historical arguments leveled against the papacy by Evangelical Protestants.

        Fr. Ray Ryland, Ph.D., a former Protestant minister and now a Catholic priest and associate professor of theology at Franciscan University of Steubenville, praised Pope Fiction, saying it “catalogs and refutes those fictions charitably and completely. Had it been available when I first began to be drawn to the Catholic Church, my journey home would have been years shorter.”

        For more on Madrid's newest book, see www.basilica.com.

Articles provided through Catholic World News and Church News at Noticias Eclesiales and International Dossiers, Daily Dispatches and Features at ZENIT International News Agency. CWN, NE and ZENIT are not affiliated with the Daily CATHOLIC but provide this service via e-mail to the Daily CATHOLIC Monday through Friday.

October 13, 1999       volume 10, no. 195


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