Three popes and one cardinal have stood at that point of time and history when the Roman Catholic Church, at least in a recognizable form, began what the author believes is its irreversible slide into oblivion. That point, according to Malachi Martin, was Vatican II. The popes were Plus XII, John XXIII, and Paul VI; and the cardinal was Bea, confessor to one pope and adviser to another. The book is not a demonstration that the Roman Church is moribund, but a record of the fact and an analysis of its causes. Pius, the Prince of Power, the last pope in the usual sense of the term, refused to bend with the intellectual and social winds of the 20th century, and, as a result, he and his Church were bypassed by events. Pope John, the Prince of Compassion, took a desperate gamble in an attempt to force Plus' Church into the world. But, by then, it was too late, and the forces unleashed by the Council, particularly in America, were too powerful to be controlled by Rome. It has been left to Paul VI, the Prince of Agony, the first unpope, to preside over the destruction of the Church. A strangely fascinating book; not a coldly pedantic analysis, but a startling and persuasive account of ""the final years"" of the Church, which should attract all thinking Catholics.