The year is 2009. America has its first Catholic president since Kennedy. The planet's other superpower is the Federation of Islamic Republics, stretching from Morocco to Pakistan. And in Rome, the aging Polish Pope, obstinate and combative to the end, has died, and the conclave of cardinals must choose a successor. After a great deal of argument and debate, they choose the least controversial candidate, the least political, the one least likely to upset the Vatican status quo--Brian O'Flynn, a kindly old Irish priest who reads Yeats and publishes obscure academic theses. At the moment of his election, a 300-pound ornamental pillar falls on his head. Then all hell breaks loose. Pope Patrick is the riotous story of a mild-mannered country cardinal who--through a democratic election, a twist of fate, and a little help from his golden Lab, Charley--turns the Vatican upside down and throws the industrial world into chaos. He deals once and for all with the thorny issues of contraception, the celibacy of the clergy, and the infallibility of the pope; sends the Dow Jones tumbling, and the hopes of the downtrodden soaring-and in the process brings the world to the brink of catastrophe. By turns funny, tender, exciting, and controversial, Pope Patrick is a scathingly brilliant, delightfully droll novel of principles, power, and faith-the story of the holiest, bravest, most likable pope since St. Peter.