Pope John XXIII’s ideal of renewal

The future Blessed Pope John XXIII, born Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli’s vision stretched far, very far.  Vatican II had to return to its evangelical roots and get rid of the shell that had built up around it over the centuries, driving it further and further away from its Master.

“There will never be a Pius XIII”: to understand the meaning of Jean Guitton’s phrase, the radical “renewal” triggered in the Church by the Second Vatican Council needs to be taken further as the book “Il segreto dei papi” (“The Popes’ secret”) by Bernard Lecomte, currently editor in chief of Figaro magazine and former world affairs editor for La Croix  (San Paolo publishers, 250 pages, Euro 16).

A moving episode inspires the birth of the meeting. On 23 September 1962 John XXIII was reaching the end of his spiritual retreat in the oratory of Torre San Giovanni (Southern Italy) two steps away from the apostolic palace, when his doctor asked to see him. During those final days, the elderly Pope underwent some tests with utmost confidentiality. The test results showed there was no hope and confirmed his suspicions about his health. He was a goner. It was certain he would not see it through to the end of the Council. He had nothing to lose. Pope John XXIII sat at his desk on the third floor of the Apostolic Palace and started to write the speech he was going to give on 11 October, the day of the inauguration of the Second Vatican Council, in St. Peter’s Basilica. He just reeled it off, without any notes. And without any assistance, except from an abbot who took care of the text’s translation into Latin.

The work John XXIII did to explain that the Council must allow the Church to “dedicate itself resolutely and fearlessly to the task which our times require”, was all his own, the writer says. Roncalli severely criticises “the prophets of misfortune” that surround him and affirms that the Church “prefers to use the medicine of charity instead of taking up the weapons of severity.” Roncalli wrote without fear. The “good Pope” intentionally and confidently presented a vision of the Catholics of the future. Read more


Additional reading

News category: Features.

Tags: , , , , , , ,