I recently posted on my Instagram (Lifeasleahknows if you want to follow!) about a book that I just finished reading, Good Pope, Bad Pope by Mike Aquilina. I received so many comments, questions, and messages about this book that I felt that I should write a quick review!
What is this book about?
Good Pope, Bad Pope highlights various popes through the centuries starting with some of the earliest Popes and ending with Pope Francis. The author purposefully chooses some of the most wise, kind, and insightful popes in addition to some of the most notoriously sinful popes. Aquilias gives a brief synopsis of each pope, their legacies, and their contributions (or lack there of) to the Church as a whole. Through these stories he strives to show how the chair of St. Peter’s has been protected throughout the centuries and how during the years in which the Church was led by blatantly sinful popes, they were never able to damage the teaching of the Church. Thus highlighting the divine nature of the papacy.
What should I know about this book?
The book itself is not very long. When I first ordered it, I expected a “Scott Hahn” sized novel that would dive deep into the entire legacy of the papacy and discuss all of the thoroughly detailed theological implications surrounding each Pope. While this book triumphs in a lot of ways, I would say that this book did fall short of the thoroughness that I was hoping to get. I was hoping for more detailed stories of each Pope (which again goes back to the length of the book). With that being said, I was able to derive a lot of insight from the information that he gave! I also think that my disappointment was likely due to the fact that I had preconceived ideas of what the book would be. The book definitely is a great introduction to this subject, and to its credit, I haven’t found another book that address’ this subject so directly (it was one of the reasons it sparked my interest so much!). The author also did a great job at painting a unique picture of the papacy without skimming over some of its darker moments (which I so appreciate). Long story short, I definitely recommend the book as it is a great starting point with a lot of insights on the subject of the Papacy. I definitely learned about some Popes I never knew of before! My only criticism is that it left me wanting more! If there was a part two of this book, I would DEFINITELY be purchasing.
Who should read this book?
Anyone who hasn’t really delved into the papacy and wants a good starting point into understanding its purpose and role as well as its legacy within the Church (and the world!) throughout history. One great thing too is that the book is an easy read and definitely written in laymen’s terms (as opposed to some of the dryer faith-based theological books). That also makes this book particularly great if you normally struggle staying interested with theological books. I tore through this book in a couple days and honestly was fascinated!
Easy to read.
Great starting point on the subject.
Left me wanting more.