Archbishop Matthew Mahan, great fund-raiser, poor scholar and good shepherd to his flock in the Golden Ghetto is faced with all the exploding problems of the Church. His past problems, the causes of the '50's, now seem simple compared with Pope Paul's hard stand against birth control despite the overpopulation danger; against even discussing the vow of celibacy with dissenting priests, and other cankers of papal infallibility. In fact, just as worried Archbishop Mahan has become elevated to a Cardinalate, he's come down with what proves to be a fatal ulcer. The new breed of maverick priests are part of his generation gap. But Cardinal Mahan also has had his temptation in a past love affair that refuses to die out. At last he writes a letter to the Pope, standing up for the mavericks, and requests an audience. Will Pope Paul see him face to face? The obligatory confrontation, unfortunately, is scanted. Inspiring perhaps to the pre-sold, but overstuffed, way overstuffed with excelsior.