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The Good Pope: The Making of a Saint and the Remaking of the Church--The Story of John XXIII and Vatican II

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  • Posted November 2, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    an author­i­ta­tive biog­ra­phy of a poor peas­ant who became Pope

    The Good Pope: John XXIII & Vat­i­can II, The Mak­ing of a Saint and the Remak­ing of the Church by Greg Tobin is a biog­ra­phy of Angelo Giuseppe Ron­calli, the Pope. John XXIII is cred­ited with help­ing mod­ern­ized the Catholic Church even though he only served as Pope from 1958 to 1963.

    I wanted to read The Good Pope: John XXIII & Vat­i­can II, The Mak­ing of a Saint and the Remak­ing of the Church by Greg Tobin because I am very unfa­mil­iar with the Catholic dogma and beliefs. Being brought up Jew­ish I can also not com­pre­hend the ele­vated sta­tus to the Pope in the eyes of mor­tal men as well as the whole idea of ele­vat­ing a man into the sta­tus of “saint”.

    I found it fas­ci­nat­ing to read about the dif­fer­ent fac­tion within the Catholic church which I never knew existed. The whole “lib­er­als” vs. “con­ser­v­a­tives” divi­sion was explained very well with­out dis­sent­ing into blame or divi­sive­ness, as Mr. Tobin is sim­ply telling a story (and a good one at that) with­out tak­ing sides; of course the reader gets to see events more clearly from the point of view of the sub­ject of the book.

    I learned a lot from this book, not only about John XXIII, but also about the Chris­t­ian reli­gion in gen­eral and the Catholic sect specif­i­cally. How­ever, many of the terms are “tech­ni­cal” which I never heard of and had to look up many of them and then re-read the sec­tion to under­stand them within context.

    That being said, the book is very read­able, easy to read on a very like­able sub­ject. I got the impres­sion that John XXIII/ Angelo Ron­calli was truly a very good man, a strong Pope who kept his “priest in the trenches” pri­or­i­ties while hold­ing the high­est level in his occu­pa­tion. An unglam­orous man who was truly a man-of-G-d first and a politi­cian second.

    One of John XXIII great­est achieve­ments, out­side of pro­vid­ing spir­i­tual guid­ance for indi­vid­u­als, was con­ven­ing the Sec­ond Vat­i­can Coun­cil which was try­ing to reform the church. The Sec­ond Council’s agenda was to open the reli­gion to the mod­ern world while pre­serv­ing the core tra­di­tions, a very dif­fi­cult mis­sion espe­cially with the con­ser­v­a­tives within the Vat­i­can fight­ing tooth and nail against those reforms.

    The Good Pope is an author­i­ta­tive biog­ra­phy of a poor peas­ant who became Pope, a man full of humil­ity, good­ness and a healthy sense of humor which helped him greatly through­out his ordeals, diplo­matic mis­sions and fac­ing his oppo­nents. Filled with per­sonal pas­sages from Roncalli’s jour­nal, the book is an amaz­ing insight into a man whose short tenure left a large legacy.

    8 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 12, 2013

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