Greg Tobin, the associate vice president for university advancement at Seton Hall University in South Orange, N.J., is the author of the new book The Good Pope: John XXIII & Vatican II. He is also the author of The Wisdom of St. Patrick, the novels Conclave and Council, and Holy Father, a biography of Pope Benedict XVI.
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50 Years After Vatican II, Should Pope John XXIII Be a Saint?
Fifty years after Pope John XXIII convened the Second Vatican Council that revolutionized the Catholic Church, will the jolly man known as the "Good Pope" be declared a saint of the Roman Catholic Church? Perhaps the better question is: Should he be?
On the evening of June 3, 1963, John XXIII passed into eternity with his family, doctors and household staff present in the papal apartments where he had lived for four and a half years. The Vatican press office issued this terse statement: “He suffers no more.”
Immediately, there was a movement by some close to the deceased pope to have him canonized by acclamation, as saints had been during the early centuries of the church. The first session of the Second Vatican Council (1962-65) had ended in December 1962, and the pope had published his landmark encyclical letter,Pacem in Terris (Peace on Earth) in April 1963.