Tuesday, April 26, 2005
Waiting for Pope John XXIV.
James Carroll contrasts two of Benedict XVI's predecessors — the forward-looking John XXIII, who initiated the reforms of the Second Vatican Council, and Pius IX, the anti-modernist who codified the doctrine of papal infallibility in the First Vatican Council — and holds up John XXIII's legacy:
In opening the council in St. Peter's Basilica, Pope John denounced those who opposed his "aggiornamento." Their voices, he said, "make their way to us and offend our ears: voices that are burning, it is true, with religious zeal, but not equally gifted with tact and good judgment. In the current conditions of human society, they can see nothing but betrayal and destruction. They say that in comparison with the past, our age has done nothing but decline and deteriorate. And they behave as if they had learned nothing from history, which is the teacher of life." The pope's voice must have risen as he said then: "But we have to decisively contradict these prophets of doom who keep on predicting nothing but disaster. . . . We want to dedicate ourselves zealously and fearlessly to the task posed by our age."
John XXIII explicitly defined that task by identifying, in his 1963 encyclical "Pacem in Terris," what he called the signs of the times — three reasons for tremendous hope. They were the strides being made by workers toward economic justice, the end of colonialism, and the women's movement, what we would call feminism. John XXIII explicitly saluted women for, as he put it, "demanding both in domestic and public life the rights and duties that belong to them as human persons."
Read the whole thing. ("A Pope for Today," James Carroll, Boston Globe 4.26.05)
Copyright © 2005 by Philocrites | Posted 26 April 2005 at 8:52 AM