I recently completed The Fisherman’s Tomb: The True Story of the Vatican’s Secret Search by John O’Neill. You may remember Mr. O’Neill for his efforts in the 2004 election for his role as spokesman for Swift Vets and POWs for Truth(SBVT).
Mr. O’Neill is a Vietnam War veteran and an avowed Catholic, the latter of which largely influenced his decision to write this book.
The Fisherman’s Tomb is a tale of the nearly 75-year saga for confirming Apostle Peter’s tomb beneath the Vatican. For those unfamiliar with the apostle, per the Bible, he was a fisherman from Galilee and is venerated as a saint in the Catholic Church, with respect to this book. Peter’s death is perhaps a noteworthy story, having been executed by Emperor Nero and later buried in Vatican Hill. However, a lot of mystery surrounded his final resting place. Largely shrouded by mystery and bureaucracy employed by Catholic Church, it was thanks to Catholic stalwarts —benefactors, archeologists, priests, and others—this mystery was finally solved.
O’Neill’s book follows a dedicated, close-knit group of individuals who made the discovery of Peter’s tomb possible. His book focuses on the contributions and efforts of two noteworthy individuals, Texas oilman George Strake and trailblazing archeologist Margerita Guarducci, who made this discovery possible, despite naysayers, constant roadblocks, and opposition from Vatican priest and archeologist Father Antonio Ferrua.
Without giving away too many details, the efforts of several parties to unearth Peter’s tomb is quite an accomplishment. It has been said and documented in the book that Pope Francis and Pope Emeritus Benedict have praised these efforts by Strake and Guarducci, while Pope John Paul II was too focused on fighting communism (though he shouldn’t be blamed for this delay). It was interesting to see the Vatican even lending credence to this quest.
The book is a quick but enjoyable read. Even if you aren’t Catholic but have an interest in archeology and history, you’ll find Mr. O’Neill’s book to be a worthwhile read.