Keepers of the Keys of Heaven: A History of the Papacy

By Weigel, George | First Things; A Monthly Journal of Religion and Public Life, June/July 2009 | Go to article overview

Keepers of the Keys of Heaven: A History of the Papacy


Weigel, George, First Things; A Monthly Journal of Religion and Public Life


BRIEFLY NOTED KEEPERS OF THE KEYS OF HEAVEN: A HISTORY OF THE PAPACY by Roger Collins Basic Books, 566 pages, $35

At the beginning of his preface, Roger Collins, a medievalist and Honorary Fellow of Edinburgh University, admits that a one-volume history of the papacy is "probably far too ambitious an undertaking." Collins is right and, despite its virtues, Keepers of the Keys proves the point. The book is instructive in its rendering of the complexities and chaos of die medieval papacy, where Collins is playing on his home pitch; but when we get to the past two hundred years or so, both the narrative and the judgments become uneven. The necessary brevity imposed by the one-volume format (and, perhaps, an uncritical deference to the Whig theory of modern history) yield a treatment of the papacy from the French Revolution to the present in which two of Rome's greatest accomplishments-securing the Church's independence against the assaults of the modern state and preserving the deposit of faith while developing Catholic social doctrine as a comprehensive vision of human goods- go unnoticed and unremarked.

Collins' sketches of the key popes of modernity are also, well, sketchy. Although unhappy with Gregory XVTs political conservatism, he righdy praises the Camaldolese pope for vasdy expanding Catholic missions and for condemning the slave trade. Pius LX is treated with respect and Collins' summary of the dynamics at Vatican I is refreshingly free of liberal cant but Leo XIIFs creation of the modern papacy as an institution of moral consequence in the world is virtually ignored.

The complexities of Pius Xpious, gentle pastor and stern scourge of Modernism- are duly noted; the underrated pontificate of Benedict XV gets a fair shake; and Collins righdy portrays the "rather neglected" Pius XI as "one of the outstanding popes of the century." His sketch of Pius XII, however, is shadowed by the calumnies of Rolf Hochhuth and John Cornwell and betrays a striking lack of familiarity with recent scholarship on Pacelli's anti-Nazi convictions and his work on behalf of persecuted Jews bodi before and during World War II. Missing in action is Pius XII's reforming work: in liturgy with Mediator Dei, ecclesiology with Mystici Corporis, and Catholic biblical studies with Divino Afflante Spirir«- three encyclicals that set the intellectual foundations for the Second Vatican Council (in whose documents Pius is the single most cited papal source). …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Keepers of the Keys of Heaven: A History of the Papacy
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.