Angelo Roncalli. As a young priest he spent a year teaching the life and thought of the early church fathers at Pontifical Lateran Seminary in Rome before his superiors concluded that he was not quite safe. He dared to propose such unthinkable ideas as that mixed marriages might be allowed in certain circumstances. He languished as a letter copier in the Oriental Congregation of the Vatican until officials discovered they needed an apostolic visitor to remote Bulgaria (1925-34). From there Roncalli went for ten years to Muslim Turkey, and was transferred from exile to troubled France near the end of World War II only because the Holy See did not want to spare a top man for that messy post. But Roncalli’s humility and abilities charmed the French. In 1953 Pope Pius XII gave him a cardinal’s red hat and appointed him spiritual leader of Venice.

After his election on 28 October 1958, he ruled barely 90 days before proclaiming on 25 January 1959 his plan to convoke a council. In the papacy, John asked to be known not as a political or learned pope but as the "good shepherd defending truth and goodness."

Upon announcing his intention to convene a council, he said its purpose would be to "bring up to date," suggesting a complete change of thought for the Catholic Church. He called the first Catholic council in history that was not against something, but rather for it.

On 3 June 1963, in the midst of preparations for an additional session, he died. The whole religious world paused to mourn. On June 21 Cardinal Montini, Archbishop of Milan, succeeded to papacy as Pope Paul VI. He immediately announced his intention to continue the council.

[tags]BlogRodent, church-history, ChurchRodent, history, John-XXIII, Pope-Paul-VI, Pope-Pius-XII[/tags]


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