The Good Pope
The Making of a Saint and the Remaking of the Church--The Story of John XXIII and Vatican II
By Greg Tobin
(HarperOne, Hardcover, 9780062089434, 288pp.)
Publication Date: September 2012
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On November 23, 1958, Cardinal Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli, the son of peasant Italian farmers, became Pope John XXIII. Widely expected to be a transitional pope, John surprised the Church hierarchy and the world by convoking an ambitious ecumenical councilthe first such council in more than a centuryto bring the Catholic Church into the modern era. "I want to throw open the windows of the Church," he said, "so that we can see out and the people can see in." Broken into four sessions and held over four years, the Second Vatican Council ("a new Pentecost," according to John) breathed new life into the Church and its pastoral mission, knocking down the centuries-old wall between the Church hierarchy and the laity and repositioning the Church as a universal instrument of hope, justice, and compassion for people of all faiths.
Fifty years after he convened the Second Vatican Council, Pope John XXIII remains one of the most beloved and remarkable fi gures in the history of the Catholic Church. Affectionately known as Il Buono Papa, or the Good Pope, John is remembered today by Catholics and non-Catholics alike as an enduring symbol of peace, ecumenicalism, and Christian spirituality. In The Good Pope, Greg Tobin recounts John's remarkable story, from his impoverished childhood in Bergamo, Italy, and his successful tenure as a papal ambassador in war-torn Europe to his surprise ascendancy to the throne of St. Peter. In the process, he traces John's legacy as the spiritual father of the modern Church and explains why the Good Pope and his great council are as vital, vibrant, and important to Catholicism as ever before. Meticulously researched and engaging, The Good Pope captures the heart, soul, and spirit of the man who ushered in a new era of religion in the twentieth century.
GREG TOBIN has written extensively about the papacy and Catholicism. His books include Selecting the Pope and Holy Father, the first biography of Benedict XVI to be published after the historic 2005 conclave. Tobin has had a distinguished career in book publishing and in higher education and is currently vice president for university advancement at Seton Hall. Tobin has been featured widely in national and international media, including the New York Times, CBS, MSNBC, and FOX News. He is a graduate of Yale University.
“In spite of his farm-bred love of land and custom. John XXIII was, in the best possible sense, a revolutionary—a Pope of modernization who kept in continuity with the church’s past, yet made even the most enlightened of his 20th century predecessors seem like voices of another age.”
“You cannot understand contemporary Catholicism without understanding Pope John XXIII. Greg Tobin’s new marvelous book is a terrific introduction to the pope who changed the church, and to the man whose spiritual wisdom may change your life.”
-James Martin, SJ, author of The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything
“The story of Good Pope John is always worth telling but all the more so in the current climate of retreat from his vision of aggiornamento. Greg Tobin tells it very well. As we wait for better days, this story will help to keep hope alive.”
-Thomas Groome, Professor of Theology and Religious Education at Boston College and author of Will There Be Faith and What Makes us Catholic
“[Pope John XXIII] impressed the world with the friendliness... which radiated the remarkable goodness of his soul. . . . Everyone remembers the image of Pope John’s smiling face and two outstretched arms embracing the whole world. How many people were won over by his simplicity of heart!”
-Pope John Paul II, upon the beatification of Pope John XXIII
“In 1958 John XXIII set in train a series of events which have since moved that huge old galleon, the Roman Catholic Church, back into the mainstream of world history and have profoundly altered the silhouette it presents to mankind.”
“This is the best single volume on John XXIII and the events he set in motion 50 years ago, transforming the church and the world.”
-David Gibson, author of The Rule of Benedict
“A beautiful and enlightening book about a humble priest who became one of the most powerful and beloved pontiffs in the history of Catholicism.”
-Mary Higgins Clark, author of The Lost Years
“A sincere, adoring look at the life and legacy of the humanist pope who helped modernize the Catholic Church with the convening of Vatican II.”
“In his newest book, The Good Pope: The Making of a Saint and the Remaking of the Church, Tobin delved into the life of the man who became the catalyst for... changes: Pope John XXIII.”
“Tobin’s well-rounded, comprehensive biography offers an authoritative portrait of an inspiring, courageous man who radiated ‘an aura of humility, humor and sanctity’ even in the face of opposition.”
“Both biography and Vatican II overview, this book offers new generations . . . a fresh look at a world figure who balanced continuity with change and opened dialogs with believers and nonbelievers alike. Recommended.”