As an illustration, "Conclave," an action-packed first novel published in 2001 by New Jersey author Greg Tobin is being reprinted in paperback to coincide with the Vatican activity, the New York Times reported Wednesday.
"The Vatican is really like a royal court full of intrigue and secrecy," said Rev. Vincent O'Keefe, a Jesuit and former president of Fordham University who spent nearly two decades in Rome. "Ordinary people are not so much interested in how many persons there are in the Trinity. But they are hungry for all the inside stories."
"The Shoes of the Fisherman," the 1968 film version of the novel by Morris West, with Anthony Quinn as the pope, was panned by critics for what was considered an absurd plot.
More recently, "Angels and Demons," a best-seller by Dan Brown, tells the story of a Harvard scholar who helps save the Catholic Church from a time bomb during a papal conclave convened after the pope has been murdered.