October 6, 2019
The most influential person in recent Church history has been Pope John 23rd. An elderly man, observers thought he would be a transition leader only, coasting thru his years. Instead, he noted the rapid secularization of Western society, the suggestions of many biblical & liturgical scholars and decided the Church needed to re-examine its style. The world was in urgent need of re-evangelization. To do that, the Church would first need to return to its roots. That emphasized a greater reliance on the Bible, the Early Church Fathers and the first centuries of the Christian community. Preferring the original sources over medieval history, the laity were called to live out their baptismal role of active leadership with the priests. Thus, he convened Vatican Council II.
Eventually, this led to parish councils, female lectors, deacons, Masses in the local language, relations with other religions and Bible study. Who could have imagined that this son of a peasant farmer would become a diplomat, Cardinal of Venice and eventually the successor to Peter. When he died in 1963, he had transformed the mind of the Church. On Friday, October 11th, we thank the Holy Spirit for guiding this messenger of God.