Yesterday, I was interviewed on television regarding the publication of my latest book. I was asked what the book was all about. After I had mentioned a few of the facts found in the book, I realized that the interviewer wanted a summary of the entire book in no more than two or three minutes. In five minutes, I hadn’t finished the first chapter. It was a disaster. Returning home, I immediately summarized the novel as I should have earlier. This is the way it should have been reported:
The Hidden Saint tells the story of two men, one a historical figure and the other a fictitious figure. Carlo Borromeo, the historical figure, becomes Pope Pius IV’s secretary of state. He assumes his duties with fortitude and quickly progresses up the ecclesial ladder—a deacon, priest, bishop and finally archbishop of Milan. Taking on the reins of his archdiocese, Carlo dedicates his life to sanctifying its 3,000 clergy and 800,000 people by implementing the decrees of the recently concluded Council of Trent.
The fictitious character, Roberto Vecchi, is somewhat of a duplicitous individual. On the one hand, he faithfully serves his master, Carlo, for Roberto is a swordsman of remarkable skill and pride. On the other hand, Roberto hopes to benefit monetarily by Carlo’s rise up the ecclesial hierarchy. Carlo, aware of Roberto’s shortcomings, reminds him that within every man there lies a hidden saint. Roberto scoffs at this for he knows his own moral failings. And therein lies the story.