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The Good Pope: The Making of a Saint and the Remaking of the Church--The Story of John XXIII and Vatican II Hardcover – Large Print, September 25, 2012
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“In spite of his farm-bred love of land and custom. John XXIII was, in the best possible sense, a revolutionary—a Pope of modernization who kept in continuity with the church’s past, yet made even the most enlightened of his 20th century predecessors seem like voices of another age.” (Time magazine)
“You cannot understand contemporary Catholicism without understanding Pope John XXIII. Greg Tobin’s new marvelous book is a terrific introduction to the pope who changed the church, and to the man whose spiritual wisdom may change your life.” (James Martin, SJ, author of The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything)
“The story of Good Pope John is always worth telling but all the more so in the current climate of retreat from his vision of aggiornamento. Greg Tobin tells it very well. As we wait for better days, this story will help to keep hope alive.” (Thomas Groome, Professor of Theology and Religious Education at Boston College and author of Will There Be Faith and What Makes us Catholic)
“[Pope John XXIII] impressed the world with the friendliness... which radiated the remarkable goodness of his soul. . . . Everyone remembers the image of Pope John’s smiling face and two outstretched arms embracing the whole world. How many people were won over by his simplicity of heart!” (Pope John Paul II, upon the beatification of Pope John XXIII)
“In 1958 John XXIII set in train a series of events which have since moved that huge old galleon, the Roman Catholic Church, back into the mainstream of world history and have profoundly altered the silhouette it presents to mankind.” (Life magazine)
“This is the best single volume on John XXIII and the events he set in motion 50 years ago, transforming the church and the world.” (David Gibson, author of The Rule of Benedict)
“A beautiful and enlightening book about a humble priest who became one of the most powerful and beloved pontiffs in the history of Catholicism.” (Mary Higgins Clark, author of The Lost Years)
“A sincere, adoring look at the life and legacy of the humanist pope who helped modernize the Catholic Church with the convening of Vatican II.” (Kirkus Reviews)
“In his newest book, The Good Pope: The Making of a Saint and the Remaking of the Church, Tobin delved into the life of the man who became the catalyst for... changes: Pope John XXIII.” (Publishers Weekly)
“Tobin’s well-rounded, comprehensive biography offers an authoritative portrait of an inspiring, courageous man who radiated ‘an aura of humility, humor and sanctity’ even in the face of opposition.” (Shelf Awareness)
From the Back Cover
On November 23, 1958, Cardinal Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli, the son of peasant Italian farmers, became Pope John XXIII. Widely expected to be a transitional pope, John surprised the Church hierarchy and the world by convoking an ambitious ecumenical council—the first such council in more than a century—to bring the Catholic Church into the modern era. "I want to throw open the windows of the Church," he said, "so that we can see out and the people can see in." Broken into four sessions and held over four years, the Second Vatican Council ("a new Pentecost," according to John) breathed new life into the Church and its pastoral mission, knocking down the centuries-old wall between the Church hierarchy and the laity and repositioning the Church as a universal instrument of hope, justice, and compassion for people of all faiths.
Fifty years after he convened the Second Vatican Council, Pope John XXIII remains one of the most beloved and remarkable fi gures in the history of the Catholic Church. Affectionately known as Il Buono Papa, or the Good Pope, John is remembered today by Catholics and non-Catholics alike as an enduring symbol of peace, ecumenicalism, and Christian spirituality. In The Good Pope, Greg Tobin recounts John's remarkable story, from his impoverished childhood in Bergamo, Italy, and his successful tenure as a papal ambassador in war-torn Europe to his surprise ascendancy to the throne of St. Peter. In the process, he traces John's legacy as the spiritual father of the modern Church and explains why the Good Pope and his great council are as vital, vibrant, and important to Catholicism as ever before. Meticulously researched and engaging, The Good Pope captures the heart, soul, and spirit of the man who ushered in a new era of religion in the twentieth century.
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Was the eBook version of this worth the $4 that I spend? YES! And I did learn form it. I just came away feeling that the story was not yet complete in my mind.
John XXIII was a surprise from his election through his decision to launch the Second Vatican Council. Yet, today, the general awareness of John XXIII's model of the papacy is fading from memory. John Paul II was such a towering figure and served so long at the Vatican that fewer and fewer people recall the simple, yet wise and holy, farm boy who became pontiff for the world's Catholics.
Greg Tobin argues that the Second Vatican Council, completed by John's successor Pope Paul VI, was the most important religious event in the 20th century. I would slightly revise Greg's claim by calling it certainly "one of the most important religious events in religious history." Vatican II, as the Council often is called today, not only allowed more than a billion people around the world to begin worshipping in their common languages, but the Council also changed the relationship of world faiths to each other. The landmark closing documents of Vatican II, started by John and finalized by Paul, built new bridges between the world's major religions.
This book is not some scholarly volume that only academics will appreciate. This is a sweeping and inspiring story of how John surprised everyone. In early 2013, there's not a timelier book to read. This also is great choice for discussion in small groups.
Another book worth reading about another pope who would have done so much for the Church is "In God's Name" - I can't remember the author, but is the story of John Paul 1, who died mysteriously after only 33 days in office.