Paul Collins and Paul Bongiorno in conversation on the Papacy

ANU/CANBERRA TIMES MEET THE AUTHOR EVENT

Paul Collins will be in conversation with Paul Bongiorno on Paul's new book Absolute Power, a vital call for the reevaluation and reimagination of papal power by one of today's preeminent theologians.

Today, the pope stands "at the very center of the central conversations of our time". His influence reaches across the world - from Cuban politics to gender equality to the refugee crisis - and the strength of his "soft power" is incomparable.

In this gripping narrative of religious and political history, Paul Collins tells the improbable success story of the last 220 years of the papacy, from the unexalted death of Pope Pius VI in 1799 to the celebrity of Pope Francis today. As a historian, journalist, and theologian, Collins also poses pressing, critical questions to the Catholic Church: Does today's church governance stray from the teachings of the gospel? Is the papacy's internal power so great that it might be considered heretical? If so, what can be done to ensure a credible - and Christ-like - path forward?

Absolute Power is required reading for anyone interested in the history of today's complex power structures - as well as anyone invested in religious, political, and social progress in the West.

Paul Collins is one of Australia's best-known commentators on Catholic, religious and spiritual affairs, especially in relationship to public life. A Catholic priest for thirty-three years, he resigned from the active priestly ministry in 2001 due to a dispute with the Vatican over his book Papal Power (1997). He has worked as a religious commentator for ABC, BBC, NPR and other media outlets and as a teacher of theology and history.

Canberra local, Paul Collins has a Master's degree in theology from Harvard University and a Doctorate of Philosophy in history from the Australian National University. He has authored fourteen books and has a strong interest in ethics, environmental and population issues.

Paul Bongiorno AM is columnist for The Saturday Paper and commentator on ABC Radio National Breakfast. A winner of four Walkley awards, Paul Bongiorno hosted Ten's national Sunday morning show, Meet the Press, from 1996 until 2012, and was a regular political commentator for Channel Ten until 2014. He holds a master's degree in theology from the Pontifical Urban University in Rome.

Pre-event book signing will be available from 5.30pm and again after the event.This event is in association with Dymocks Canberra and books wll be available to purchase.