good pope john

You can tell a Catholic`s political stripes by the popes they admire. Pius X is the hero of the traditionalists. John XXIII is the standard bearer for liberals.

I was born in the same month and year that John XXIII announced the convocation of the Second Vatican Council. In 1967, my family moved and joined a parish that bore his name. At the time, we gathered in a school gym for mass while the church was being constructed. The church was built and owned in partnership with an Anglican congregation. At the time I didn`t realize the significance of this ecumenical venture. We attended the laying of the cornerstone which read `That they may be one`. The parish is now Blessed John XXIII.

For me, a visit to St. Peter`s Basilica always includes a moment with the man who announced to the world that it was time to open wide the windows of the Church, so that the Holy Spirit could blow freely. After the beatification of John XXIII in 2000, his incorrupt body was transferred to the main level of St. Peter`s under the altar of St. Jerome. He lies peacefully in a glass coffin, looking much smaller than the jolly, round fellow portrayed in photographs. The few pews in front of the altar are always full, and there is a steady stream of pilgrims filing past to get a closer look.

The vision of Vatican II continues to be challenged. To some, those opened windows were a grace of God. To others, they were an experiment gone bad. In the presence of the body of the man who started it all, a prayer is raised….that they may be one.

3 thoughts on “good pope john

  1. I remember when Vatican II began. I was attending a Catholic high school and it was so exciting. Our religion classes were lively as we discussed the issues and our liturgies were engaging and experimental (guitars, movement, modern music & lyrics for songs). Peace, justice, and equality for races and women were at the forefront of our actions.

    We probably went too far in our acceptance of all that was “new.” Yet what scares me about the current times in the Church is that we seem to be “rejecting as bad what is not absolutely good.” (Blessesd Chaminade’s words) Chaminade believed that it was not essential that people be exemplary in their Christian practice. All that was necessary was a desire to belong and a basic goodwill. People grow in their formation & virtue by associating with others who are working to be good disciples.

    The current Church has too many “thou shalts” and not enough “come & see.”

    1. “Yes, those were the days, my freind, I thought they’d never end”… We celebrated with joy and freedom…we were on the ecumenical train, headed to Oneness. Recently, we’ve been told that time was not good for the Church…aren’t WE the Church? It certainly was good for us. It was a flag raising time…and where are the flags now?

  2. the beautiful thing is that St Pius X liberalized communion laws, and reformed the liturgy, breathing new life into the church while fighting a war against modernism, and Bl. John XXIII wrote an encyclical celebrating Latin as the liturgical and official language of the church while planning Vatican II. The popes are neither liberal nor conservative, but they are Catholic. Each is tough when he needs to be, stating the Truth in season and out of season, and each liberalizes when the Holy Spirit directs them to do so, and always in keeping with the practice of the Church. Thank God for the Papacy.

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