Sunday, January 28, 2007

Pope John XXIII

9.20.1870Rome falls to revolutionaries

For the first time, Italy is an independent nation.

2.20.1878Pope Leo XIII elected

Leo inspires the young Roncalli; he is the first pope freed from land-ownership.

10.25.1881Angelo Guiseppe Roncalli is born

Attends seminary in Bergamo from age 12

8.4.1903Pope Pius X elected

Pius's papacy would be marked by an anti-Modernist scare, including many excommunications.

8.10.1904Roncalli ordained priest

He is immediated assigned to work under bishop Radini-Tedeschi as his assistant until Radini-Tedeschi dies in 1914.

9.3.1914Pope Benedict XV elected

Papacy marked by peace-loving and humanitarian efforts; removal of the papal spies.

5.1915Roncalli drafted as hospital orderly for Italian Army

Seeing the suffering of the young soldiers steels Roncalli’s heart against war. Benedict’s papacy serves as inspiration for the power of that office to create peace.

2.6.1922Pope Pius XI elected

Papacy followed in the steps of Benedict in relation to Modernism. Pius encouraged new scholarship if it fit within the understanding of the church. Mussolini, Fascist dictator, had secured control over Italy in the year of Pius’s election. Worked with Mussolini in an attempt to secure the Catholic religion as official over Italy; in exchange he gave Mussolini some names of bishops that might be against his rule. Roncalli is on that list.

2.12.1925Roncalli assigned to Bulgaria

Roncalli is on a list of men who might disagree with Mussolini’s rule. Pius sends him as apostolic visitor to Bulgaria so that he won’t interfere.

1929Pius XI signs Lateran Accords

Pius’s negotiations with Mussolini pay off: Vatican becomes an independent state; Catholicism is now official religion of Italy. Italy remains under Fascist control.

1.5.1935Roncalli appointed to Istanbul

Roncalli is appointed “apostolic delegate” to Turkey and Greece. There he befriends the Orthodox and Jewish communities, and rescues many Jews from Holocaust persecution.

3.2.1939Pope Pius XII elected

Pius XII rescues many Jews from the Holocaust but neglects to use his position to speak publicly against it. Catholics in Italy and elsewhere have a great record of hiding Jews.

7.9.1943Allied liberation of Italy begins

Mussolini overthrown, arrested; Fascist rule falls apart.

12.6.1944Roncalli appointed “nuncio” to France

This was a large, unexpected honor. It was bestowed upon Roncalli because Charles de Gualle insisted the pope dispose all bishops who cooperated with Nazis. While the pope didn’t give in to his demands per se, he did put Roncalli in this prime French office because of his innocence.

The archbishop of Paris had devised an experiment of “worker priests” who did not wear the collar. Roncalli watched their work among their people and was impressed.

1.15.1953Roncalli created cardinal by Pius XII

3.15.1953Roncalli assigned patriarch of Venice

Finally Roncalli is home in Italy. He called himself a “brother” to the people, rather than “father,” and worked against unemployment. He had an open door policy, which was unheard of in Venice at that time.

10.28.1958Roncalli elected as Pope John XXIII

1.25.1959John calls council of cardinals to announce his plans

His pontificate would include three things: a synod for priests of Rome, an ecumenical council, and update to Code of Canon Law. The real innovation was the council, but he disguised his speech so as not to upset the conservatives.

1961John issues encyclical: “Mother and Teacher”

He reveals his true nature as a Modernist and a believer in the concept of separation of church and state.

9.13.1962John diagnosed with cancer

He was given a year to live.

10.11.1962Second Vatican Council convened

John made himself scarce during the council and allowed the bishops to talk over the issues amongst themselves. He opened the council by explaining that it would not be a council of condemnation but of reconciliation. Despite the proposed agenda, he explained the point of the council was to find a way to be relevant to the modern society. While not being present, he still worked behind the scenes to ensure that the progressive bishops could lead the debate. The first session ended 12.8.1962.

4.11.1963John issues encyclical “Peace on Earth”

Encyclical published to the public rather than just the bishops. He discusses a list of human rights; this was never done by a pope before. Included within is the right to worship freely, the rights of states to have sovereign rule as long as they are fair to their constituents, various rights of women; he ends with a call for the elimination of racism and nuclear weapons.

6.3.1963Pope John XXIII dies

Last words are, “Lord, you know that I love you! Lord, you know that I love you!”

6.21.1963Pope Paul VI elected

12.8.1965 Results of the Second Vatican Council:

  • liturgy in vernacular

  • respect for all people, including Jews, people of other faiths

  • bishops share responsibility for the Church

  • the Catholic Church is no longer the one and only Church of Christ

  • a call to moral responsibility, to make life better for the common man

8.26.1978Pope John Paul I elected

10.16.1978Pope John Paul II elected

5.19.2005Pope Benedict XVI elected


Tim said...

not bad for a non-Catholic. i'm glad that you got a chance to study this.

just wanted to make a few points from a Catholic perspective.
1. i wouldn't label John XXIII as a full blown Modernist just because there are too many negative things associated with Modernism (the biggest being an anti-Church prejudice) that he wasn't all about
2. as far as Vatican II is concerned:
a. bishops sharing responsibility wasn't so much a change or innovation as it was pointing out a truth regarding the role of the bishop
b. the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, Lumen Gentium, maintains that the Catholic Church is the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church, but discusses how particular churches and communities that are separated are still part of that one and only Church of Christ, once again not so much a change but rather a clearer explanation that was needed.
c. the changes in the liturgy are the thing everyone points to when bringing up Vatican II, probably just because its the only thing people notice in their daily lives, but if you read the documents that was really just a small part and there is a lot more to what the council taught

Uzziah said...

Tim, thanks for responding. Sorry it's taken me so long to get back to you. It's nice to have the insider's perspective.

I'm not in any way arguing here, but I did want to say something in my defense: because this was a presentation of a biography (written by Thomas Cahill), I simply relayed his opinions. I had a feeling he was a little off the deep end in the way he made John sound like the patron saint of liberal pluralism, then in his final chapter villified John-Paul II as a character with almost Iago-like manipulative powers. I guess a neutral book on a pope is not really possible.

RoG said...

Nice blog - the time line thing is an awesome concept. Thanks for the questions on relevant.