|Yemen made a stamp of him, which is nice|
John XXIII, born Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli, was pope from 1958 to 1963. The controversies surrounding his papacy are really comic, except to those who deeply care about the orthodoxy (lower case o) of the Catholic Church. To get a sense of just how deeply distressed some folks are, follow this link to a site that calls him (and every pope since) an anti-pope. Check out the photos of Pope John XXIII meeting with leaders of other faiths and secular movements, and read the snarky comments about him. As Fozzie Bear used to say, "Fuuuunnny stuff!"
|The Pope and his Shinto brother|
Certainly, the Second Vatican Council was controversial. When John XXIII, he said something about opening windows to let fresh air into the Church. Although he (like John Paul II, who was a participant in the Council) was an anti-communist, he did call for socialist programs and wage supports to alleviate the suffering of the poor. He welcomed non-Catholics to the Council (as observers), which embraced not only the unity of all Christians (a giant step away from that whole heresy thing) but also the legitimacy of other religions (e.g. Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, Shinto, etc) as paths to God. He also welcomed religious leaders, including the Buddhist priest pictured here, as brothers and guests of the Holy See.
|On display under glass in the Vatican|
Vatican II lasted outlasted the papacy of John XXIII. He died in 1963, but his successor, Paul VI (also a participant) decided to continue the Council until the natural end of its reform. John Paul II said of the Council, "the Second Vatican Council differed from earlier councils because of its particular style. It was not a defensive style. Not once in the Council documents do the words anathema sit (Let it be forbidden) appear. It was an ecumenical style, characterized by great openness to dialogue." Seems to me that's what a good council is all about.