Tag Archives: Vatican II

Vatican II, That Redefined What It Meant To Be ‘Catholic’, Started This Day, 55-Years Ago — October 11, 1962.

by Anura Guruge

From my 2014 “Popes: 101 Facts & Trivia”. See image below to access details of the book. Click to ENLARGE and read here.

Click to ENLARGE and admire here. This went with my Pope John XXIII book.

Click to ENLARGE and study. My ‘magic’ Excel spreadsheet on the Ecumenical Councils. First time I have shared this.

Vatican II, as most Catholics know, was a BIG deal. It still divides many Catholics and the history of the Catholic Church is now clearly demarcated by ‘pre-Vatican II‘ and ‘post-Vatican II‘. For many it will be best known as the Ecumenical Council that gave us the Vernacular Mass (i.e., the non-Latin Mass).

To I, it will always be indelibly associated with my alltime favorite Pope, John XXIII. This was his crowning achievement in a life full of many.

55-years ago. Wow. Wasn’t that long ago.

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by Anura Guruge

The Monumental ‘First Council Of Nicaea’ Came To An End This Day 1,692-Years Ago! August 25, 325.

by Anura Guruge

Click to ENLARGE and admire here. Another of my ‘magic’ papal Excel spreadsheets. I created this one when I was writing my book “Popes: 101 Facts & Trivia” in 2014.

To say that this First Council of Nicaea was historic would be somewhat of an understatement. It was kind of pivotal to the growth of Christianity as the dominating World religion.

It was THE FIRST ever ecumenical council — 20 others followed culminating in the famous ‘Vatican II” convoked by Pope St. John XXIII, in 1962.

It was the council that came up with the original version of the, “We believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of all things visible and invisible …“, Nicene Creed.

It came up with 20 new canons — the first to have been promulgated by such a council.

The first of these, i.e., Canon #1, was a prohibited priests and monks from self-castrating themselves! I kid you NOT. Look it up.

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by Anura Guruge

Tale of Two Papacies: Benedict XVI vs John XXIII.

by Anura Guruge

Pope Benedict XVI versus Pope John XXIII two papacies Anura Guruge

Originally Posted on my ‘Popes-and-Papacy‘ blog on August 19, 2010 (i.e., 7-years ago).

Pope Benedict XVI (#266) turned 83 on April 16, 2010.

Three days later, i.e., April 19, was his fifth anniversary as pope.

He was the fifth oldest of the popes, since 1400, when elected. He is already the tenth oldest pope, albeit, as of 1400. There were three, post 1400 popes, who died shortly after turning 83. Thus, come mid-July 2010 he could be the seventh oldest. [Dates prior to 1400 are unavailable or unreliable.]

His mentor, John Paul II (#265), who died at 84, is currently the sixth oldest.

Bl. John XXIII (#262) became pope when he was 76. He was the sixth oldest to be elected since 1400.

John XXIII was pope for 1,679 days [4 years and 7 months].

Benedict XVI on his fifth anniversary had been pope for 1,826 days.

Bl. John XXIII, An Object Lesson In Vision, Drive & Efficacy
By all accounts Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli had no inclination that he may become pope until a few days prior to the start of the 1958 conclave. That he had bought a return railway ticket when he left Venice for Rome is well documented. It is also noted that he told some people in Rome to meet with him once he was back in Venice. He had left his walking shoes at the ‘Domus Mariae’ [the headquarters of the Women’s Catholic Action in Rome], his assigned quarters prior to the conclave, when he entered the Apostolic Palace for the conclave. It is documented that he sent his personal secretary Guido Gusso to pick up these shoes before he made his first public appearance on the central balcony of St. Peter’s.

However, once pope, John XXIII was driven.


  • 89 days into his papacy announced his intentions to convene Vatican II, the first ecumenical council since Vatican I, 90 years earlier. Vatican II changed the complexion of the modern Church.
  • 48 days into his papacy he held his first cardinal creating consistory. He created 23 cardinals so that the College was 74 strong. At a stroke he had overridden Sixtus V’s (#228) edict that had limited the size of the College to 70 – way back in 1586.
  • Increased the size of the College to 90 – a 29% increase above the limit set by Sixtus V.
  • Held 5 cardinal creating consistories, and created 52 cardinals – holding a consistory, on average every 298 days.
  • 1,444 days into his papacy he open Vatican II with at least 2,000 bishops in attendance.
  • Altered the jus optionis precedence rules as to whether the senior most cardinal could ask to be made a Cardinal Bishop. He also issued a motu proprio in 1962 confirming that the titles of the Cardinal Bishops were strictly titular.

The bottom line is that Bl. John XXIII’s pontificate was shorter than of the current pope. But, he didn’t waste any time. He had a vision and an agenda.

<< To be continued. You can draw your conclusions in the meantime. >>

Benedict XV (#259) was pope for 7 years and 4 months between 1914 and 1922. That is the next milestone for this pope. Other than for the unfortunately fleeting 33-day papacy of John Paul I (#264) ‘recent’ popes have enjoyed ‘long’ pontificates. Other than for that of John Paul I, John XXIII’s was the shortest in the twentieth century. After that it was that of Benedict XV. St. Pius X (#258) reigned for 11 years. That is the next longest.

One cannot equate popes to other mortals! Popes enjoy a unique standing on earth. I personally, and I could be wrong, don’t think popes worry too much about their legacy. That they were pope is all that matters. The same applies to credibility. They are only concerned about their credibility with the ONLY ONE, supposedly, that can judge them. So, it is futile to say that John XXIII’s achievements during his 1,679 day pontificate casts a shadow over that of Benedict XVI. But, it is something to think about.

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by Anura Guruge

Pope Francis THE Most Popular Pope Ever? Not Even CLOSE! Bl. John ‘Good Pope’ XXIII (#262) Towered Over Him.

Anura Guruge, June 8, 2013.


by Anura Guruge

Related Posts:
>> Pope continues to contradict
>>Jan. 3, 2014.
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Dec. 31, 2013.
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Click to access the U.K. ‘Express’ from today.

Not even close. This pope is an Internet pope. If the Internet had been around when John XXIII reigned people would have gone ga-ga.

This pope, with his feet washing etc., is TRYING to emulate John XXIII.

He does NOT have John’s natural touch.

John, was a legend, especially for what he did for the Jews during WW II, before he became pope. Francis’ track record in Argentina has some major red flags when it comes to human rights!

He is NOT a natural. He is trying to play the part.

On April 27 this year, John will become Pope St. John XXIII. Francis has a long way to go.

Don’t get me wrong. Francis is a decent pope. A trillion times better than the previous German dandy. But lets NOT get carried away.

Francis, for those of us who have to read the chicken entrails daily, is still but words.

John was substance. John was action. By this stage of his papacy, John had called for Vatican II, created cardinals and made major structural changes. In contrast all we get from Francis is contradictory words.

Most popular pope, STILL:
Bl. John XXIII (#262).

Good Pope, Bl. John XXIII’s (#262) 132nd Birthday — Born November 25, 1881 in Sotto il Monte, Italy.

Anura Guruge, June 8, 2013.

A young Angelo Roncalli from ‘papagiovanni.com’.

Anura Guruge

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Born: 25 November 1881

Died: 3 June 1963 — aged 81
(same as his father)

Elected Pope: 28 October 1958

To be Sainted: 27 April 2014

Vatican II Council: 1962 to 1965

Feast Day: 11 October
(the day of the start of Vatican II)

The 'papagiovanni.com' multilingual Website run by  PONTIFICIO ISTITUTO MISSIONI ESTERE (PIME) a wonderful resource for information and pictures of this good pope. Click image to access.

The ‘papagiovanni.com’ multilingual Website run by PONTIFICIO ISTITUTO MISSIONI ESTERE (PIME) a wonderful resource for information and pictures of this good pope. Click image to access.

Very Good Pope, Bl. John XXIII (#262): 50 Year Anniversary Of His Death. Now That Was ‘A Pope’.



 ..by Anura Guruge

Last two ‘pope’ posts:
Pope Francis latex face masks — Apr. 21, 2013.
>> Benedict portrait from condoms — Apr. 14, 2013.
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Click to access a nice video and write up from my friend at 'Rome Reports'.

Click to access a nice video and write up from my friend at ‘Rome Reports’.

The current pope, Francis (#267), does bear some personality resemblances but in some ways they are also poles apart, a very pivotal Pole having much to do with this (unfortunate) division. Yes, they both come across as very genuine, caring, people-oriented men, though John XXIII was inescapably more avuncular (and jollier) than the Jesuit. I am very fussy about my uncles and I was blessed to have six amazing uncles (all from my mother’s side) — and one I really never got to know because he died when I was young. Of all the popes, John XXIII is the ONLY one that I would not have minded as an uncle — and that I am not Catholic is immaterial, because one of my uncles, my surrogate father, was white, and a Baptist.

Though John was a traditionalists in his own way, he was not dogmatic about it and was more than willing to be pragmatic. Hence his bold, shock-wave inducing call for Vatican II in an effort to ‘modernize’ the Church and make it more people-friendly. Vatican II is what gave Catholics the vernacular Mass — something that the ‘Tea Party’ equivalent of the Church rails against even today; believing that the Latin Mass, that even most priest don’t understand, as being what God wanted.

John is basically the Clinton or Obama of popes. The conservatives, though they have to begrudgingly confess that the man was selfless at his core, still hate what they reckon is the damage that he did to the Church. There is a whole movement that claim that he is an antipope and that all that came after him are illegitimate. Can you see the parallels with Obama? 

His life-story is an inspiration. I can’t be 100% sure but I know that reading about him was one of the reasons that made me into a papal historian. Much of the stuff that the current Jesuit is trying to do, like visiting prisons in Rome, are things that were pioneered by John.

Google, it appears, does not do Pope Doodles. That is a shame. John deserves a Doodle.

If you don’t know much about Bl. John XXIII take a few minutes today and read about him. Here is the Wikipedia link.

Just a smattering of my favorite John XIII quotes. Enjoy.

“Consult not your fears but your hopes and your dreams.
Think not about your frustrations, but about your unfulfilled potential.
Concern yourself not with what you tried and failed in,
but with what it is still possible for you to do.”

“See everything, overlook a great deal, correct a little.”

“Men are like wine – some turn to vinegar,
but the best improve with age.”

 “You may say to His Eminence Cardinal Tisserant that, as the pope requires his shoes,
he has given you permission to leave the conclave.”

In the first days of his pontificate, John XXIII received a letter from a twelve-year-old boy named Bruno.
It read: “My dear Pope: I am undecided. I want to be a policeman or a Pope.
What do you think?”
The Pope replied: “My little Bruno. If you want my opinion, learn how to be a policeman, because that cannot be improvised.
Anybody can be pope; the proof of this is that I have become one.
If you ever should be in Rome, come to see me. I would be glad to talk all this over with you.
[[Recounted in The Wit and Wisdom of Good Pope John]]

For more delightful quotes try this.