Good Pope John and the Announcement that Shook the World

The National Catholic Reporter is running an “occasional series of articles about the Second Vatican Council” that will appear this year in NCR leading up to 50th anniversary of the council’s opening on Oct. 11, 2012. (You can read more about the Second Vatican Council anniversary issue here.)

Desmond Fisher, former editor of The Catholic Herald, London, wrote the first of these “viewpoint” articles, titled Curial horror greeted John XXIII’s announcement of ecumenical council. It gives great insight into just how surprising–and necessary–John XXIII’s council vision was. As we celebrate these three years of the 50th anniversary of Vatican II, I hope we will immerse ourselves again in John XXIII’s original vision and spirit and let our faith be renewed.

Here’s an excerpt from Fisher’s engaging opening:

Wednesday, the Catholic church should have celebrated — but didn’t — an important anniversary, the day 53 years ago when Pope John XXIII invited 18 Curia cardinals to accompany him to a ceremony at St. Paul Outside the Walls. It was the feast day of St. Paul, who is believed to have been executed in Rome about 67 A.D. and buried where the basilica named after him now stands.

It was also the final day of the Octave for Christian Unity, an objective close to the pope’s heart. Presumably because of the attendance of so many Vatican higher-ups, the ceremony lasted longer than usual. The result was that the content of the carefully timed announcement the pope made to the cardinals had been released to the media before the cardinals were told.

Read the whole article.

One comment

  1. In order to understand Angelo Roncali’s beautifific visions of a truly universal church and his determination to implement those visions, one must understand his historical times. In the U.S. from 1900 to 1940 hundreds of newspapers and magazines used the terms ‘fascism’ and ‘corporatism’ interchangeably and often. In 1905, in my then-industrial hometown of Dayton, Ohio, 53% of voters voted for the American Socialist Party. In Italy, pro-worker parties were even stronger, so it should be no surprise that Fra Roncali was deeply aware of and sensible to the plight of the common man.

    His views matured during his tenure as papal nuncio before and during World War Two, where he spent a lot of time in Istanbul, Turkey, the geographical gateway between East and West. In his efforts to rescue Catholics and others from persecution in Nazi occupied nations, he had to familiarize himself with and make good use of pre-existing underground networks created by Freemasons and Rosicrucians, ironically created centuries earlier in response to the “Holy” Inquisition’s persecution of those groups. French / Continental Freemasonry he came in contact with is considerably more considerate of the common man than more empire-centered Anglo / American Masonry. Of course he also had a lot of contact with Communists, who were the most active and effective anti-Fascist group during World War Two, with the Soviet army destroying 80% of the German army divisions.

    Thus Angelo Roncali probably had a deeper understanding of his/our world, on both its exoteric and esoteric planes, than the combined members of the curia. Of course if the curia had known this, he never would have become pope and the church would have remained in the Dark Ages, with the congregation seperated from God by the “blue smoke and mirrors” of Latin liturgy and an unchallenged left brain male-dominant heirachy, rather than the more balanced –brained entity John XXIII brought into the world.

    Brendan Maloney


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