Papal politics subject of public presentation

For more than 25 years, John Thavis held one of the most interesting jobs in journalism: reporting on the inner workings of the Vatican as the head of the Rome Bureau of Catholic News Service.

His daily exposure to the power, politics, and personalities in the seat of Roman Catholicism gave him a unique, behind-the-scenes perspective on an institution that is far less monolithic and unified than it appears to outsiders.

Thavis, recipient of the 2013 Faith and Culture Gold Medal from Assumption University, will share what he learned in a free public lecture entitled “Power, personalities and politics at the Vatican,” at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 28, in Assumption University Chapel.

He describes Vatican City as a place where Curia cardinals fight private wars, scandals threaten to undermine papal authority, and reverence for the past is continually upended by the practical considerations of modern life.

Author of the bestselling book The Vatican Diaries, Thavis examines the reign of Pope Benedict, the momentous transition that just took place in the papacy, and the history of one of the world’s oldest and most mysterious institutions.