The Decline and Fall of the Roman Church

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The Decline and Fall of the Roman Church is a 1981 non-fiction book by Catholic priest and author Malachi Martin.


Martin wrote this book to analyse the sudden and rapid decline of the Roman Catholic Church in its ecclesiastical organization and doctrinal unity since the Second Vatican Council (1962–1965).

The book is an account of the history of the Roman Catholic Church progressing from the earliest beginnings tand Roman Emperor Constantine the Great's relationship with the church during the reign of Pope Silvester I up through the post Vatican II popes and Pope John Paul II.

Martin shows the transformations that took place in the institution of the papacy as the relationship between temporal power and spiritual authority was worked out throughout the years. Martin tells how the early popes were chosen, including how many were appointed by secular rulers until the invention of the conclave.

The last two chapters of the book—concerning popes Pius XII and John Paul II—give background information on recent papal history from Martin's perspective. The Pius XII chapter contains information on both the pope's encounter with Marxism and his visionary life. Martin, was a protégé to Pius' confidante and confessor, cardinal Augustine Bea, who was the source for this information.

The book was translated into Spanish, French and German.[citation needed]