Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The Council in the Intimate Thoughts of Pope John XXIII

"La Civiltà Cattolica" publishes the diaries of Fr. Roberto Tucci, its director at the time. Here is the account of the five conversations he had with the pope who convoked Vatican II 

by Sandro Magister


ROME, October 23, 2012 – The documentation on Vatican Council II was enriched a few days ago with a new text never published before. And of noteworthy value.

It is made up of certain portions of the diary of Cardinal Roberto Tucci (in the photo), at the time the director of "La Civiltà Cattolica."

And it was precisely this magazine of the Jesuits of Rome – on the basis of these diary entries – that opened its latest issue with the account of the five conversations that Tucci had with Pope John XXIII between 1959 and 1962, or the announcement and beginning of Vatican II.

"La Civiltà Cattolica" is a very special magazine. Before it is printed, its articles undergo inspection by the Vatican authorities, who sometimes approve them, other times modify them, and still others scrap them.

With Pius XII, it was the pope himself who reviewed the articles. John XXIII passed this burden on to his secretary of state.

But he continued to meet with the director of the magazine. Who afterward wrote about each conversation in his diary.

The diary of Fr. Tucci therefore provides a very up-close description of how John XXIII approached the Council that he had proclaimed.

For example, it confirms how the pope was struck by the silence that surrounded him when in 1959 he made the announcement of the council to the cardinals gathered in St. Paul's Outside the Walls: "He proposed the matter, asked them to tell him th


English: PORTRAIT OF JOHN XXIII Español: IMAGEN DE JUAN XXIII (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

eir views frankly, and no one spoke."

About other moments of the pope's preparation for the council there are in the diary of Tucci a few unexpected observations.

For example, the idea of the voyage by train made by John XXIII to Loreto in order to invoke the protection of the Virgin Mary over the assembly appears to have been born from political calculations:

"About his voyage to Loreto, the pope said that he had to do it in order to satisfy the minister of public works, who had spent a great deal in that area, and in order to give President Gronchi the opportunity for a meeting: [Gronchi] had been wanting to find a way to get the pope to go to the Quirinale."

Also striking are the abrupt words of John XXIII against "the subtle evil" of the curia, made up of careerism and nepotism, and also his distaste for the Vatican apparatus.

Pope John was even more irritated by those whom he later called "prophets of misfortune" in the memorable address with which he opened the council.

But there is much more in the diary entries of its director during those years, made public by "La Civiltà Cattolica" in its issue of October 20, 2012.

The following are the salient passages of the article.

Read more here:

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