Pope John XXIII
By: Jean Maalouf
"It is not the Gospel that changes; it is we who begin to understand it better... The moment has arrived when we must recognize the signs of the times, seize the opportunity, and look far ahead."
Pope John XXIII (1881-1963) was the "transitional" pope elected in 1958 who revolutionized the church by convening the Second Vatican Council. He set the tone for the historic Council by speaking of the need for "updating" or aggiornamento, "opening the windows" of the church, and responding to the "signs of the times" in the tumultuous mid-twentieth century. "Good Pope John" as he was sometimes called signaled a new pastoral style of leadership, marked by love for the world, and a strong commitment to peace and social justice. At the time of his death in 1963 he was one of the most beloved leaders in the world. He was beatified by Pope John Paul II in 2000 and canonized by Pope Francis, April 27, 2014.
Jean Maalouf lives in New Milford, Connecticut. He is the author of many books, including Praying with Mother Teresa, and editor of Mother Teresa: Essential Writings.