The Good Pope: The Making of a Saint and the Remaking of the Church--The Story of John XXIII and Vatican II

The Good Pope: The Making of a Saint and the Remaking of the Church--The Story of John XXIII and Vatican II

Greg Tobin

Language: English

Pages: 288

ISBN: 0062089439

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


“John XXIII was, in the best possible sense, a revolutionary—a Pope of modernization who kept in continuity with the church’s past, yet made even the most enlightened of his 20th century predecessors seem like voices of another age.”
Time magazine

“The story of Good Pope John is always worth telling….Greg Tobin tells it very well. As we wait for better days, this story will help to keep hope alive.”
—Thomas Groome, Professor of Theology and Religious Education at Boston College, author of Will There Be Faith

Published in the 50th anniversary year of the historic Vatican Council II, The Good Pope by Greg Tobin is the first major biography of Pope John XXIII, a universally beloved religious leader who ushered in an era of hope and openness in the Catholic Church—and whose reforms, had they been accepted, would have enabled the church to avoid many of the major crises it faces today. Available prior to John XXIII’s likely canonization, Tobin’s The Good Pope is timely and important, offering a fascinating look at the legacy of Vatican Council II, an insightful investigation into the history of the Catholic Church, and a celebration of one of its true heroes.

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more forcefully: “In my conscience as a priest and a Christian, I don’t feel I can vote for the Fascists. . . . Of one thing I am certain: the salvation of Italy cannot come through Mussolini even though he may be a man of talent. His goals may perhaps be good and correct, but the means he takes to realize them are wicked.” Roncalli’s comments about Mussolini’s means were proven correct that election day, as his Fascists mobbed election booths, intimidating voters, en route to sweeping the

the French Foreign Office, “to be guardian over our Lord and to protect him with discretion.” This is a perfect snapshot of Roncalli’s style—friendly, engaging, compromising, but concerned with fairness. He refused to take part in a witch hunt of prelates. In July 1945, the Vatican quietly removed seven bishops from France, forcing them into retirement, though Cardinal Suhard remained in place. Roncalli was not solely responsible for this smaller number—de Gaulle saw the prudence of backing away

had received the red hat and the title of SS. Silvestro e Martino ai Monti on December 18, 1958, as the first new cardinal created by John—and who would inherit the Second Vatican Council as Pope Paul VI—knew the pope’s heart. As the council was announced, “a flame of enthusiasm swept over the whole Church,” the cardinal later wrote. “[Pope John] understood immediately, perhaps by inspiration, that by calling a council he would release unparalleled vital forces in the Church.” Perhaps John

Taylor and Richard Burton, John Fitzgerald Kennedy and Jackie Kennedy, Fidel Castro and Nikita Khrushchev. But there was nothing glamorous about Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli. Even in his papal vestments he carried himself like the son of Italian farmers, themselves the sons and grandsons of countless generations of farmers. For those who admired him during his lifetime for his teachings on peace and his commitment to open his ancient Church to the modern world—to allow air and light in and let the

he said, “should be reverently buried and heard of no more.” This had its humorous side—the cardinal presiding over the discussion had to cut him off for going on too long—but it showed the difference between the curial feeling in Rome and that of bishops out in the world. Other prelates weighed in on the side of a vernacular Mass. One of the most influential was Cardinal Maurice Feltin of Paris, who depicted a scene in which a non-Catholic might find himself at a Mass unable to comprehend what

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