Next Thursday, October 11th, will mark the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council. In observance of this anniversary, we remember the spirit-filled person at the heart of the council. In honor of Good Pope John, we feature the three-hour, 2008 movie, “John XXIII: The Pope of Peace.” The Spanish language version is available under the title: “Juan XXIII, El Legado De Una Vida.” He was the Pope of my childhood. Even in the primary grades in the early 1960s at Ascension School in Manhattan, I sensed the fresh air from the windows he opened. Occasionally, one of the Sisters of Charity or a De LaSalle Christian Brother hinted at the big doings in Rome. In this richly textured biographical movie, the life story of Angelo Roncalli unfolds from his boyhood call to the priesthood, through various diplomatic positions as papal nuncio in Bulgaria, Turkey and France, to his short but transformational pontificate. Ed Asner plays the title role with warmth and confidence alongside an international cast. I have often reflected that the most profound thoughts are rendered most simply by great minds. Albert Einstein exemplified this truth in his expression of the relation between mass and energy. Pope John’s profound thought – his enduring charism – was his insistence on the integrity of peace. He held in his heart and mind the truth expressed by the Jesuit poet, Gerard Manley Hopkins: “…piecemeal peace is poor peace.” While advisors cautioned highly nuanced positions, he called the ideologically divided nations of the world back to their common humanity – their common identity as children of God. His plea to the Americans and Soviets to simultaneously stand down their naval forces during the Cuban Missile Crisis defused the gravest threat the world had yet known. Rather than condemnation, he continually offered dialogue. Similarly, he convened the Second Vatican Council in fraternal dialogue among the Roman Catholic Church, the Christian denominations, the great religious faith traditions and the secular world. A detailed biographical booklet accompanies this DVD. Order “John XXIII: The Pope of Peace” from the Media Resource Center by email to firstname.lastname@example.org or call Dan Hardester or Diane Gallagher@ 407-246-4895 (or 4897) for assistance. (Dan Hardester serves as Secretary of the Evangelization Secretariat and Director of the Media Center.)
Next Thursday, October 11th, will mark the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council.