54 Facts About John XXIII


Pope John XXIII was head of the Catholic Church and sovereign of the Vatican City State from 28 October 1958 until his death in 1963.

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John XXIII especially reached out to the Eastern Orthodox churches.

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John XXIII dropped the traditional rule of 70 cardinals, increasing the size to 85.

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John XXIII used the opportunity to name the first cardinals from Africa, Japan, and the Philippines.

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John XXIII promoted ecumenical movements in cooperation with other Christian faiths.

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John XXIII did not live to see the Vatican Council to completion.

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John XXIII was canonized alongside Pope John Paul II on 27 April 2014.

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John XXIII was the eldest son of Giovanni Battista Roncalli and his wife Marianna Giulia Mazzola, and fourth in a family of thirteen.

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John XXIII's family worked as sharecroppers, as did most of the people of Sotto il Monte – a striking contrast to that of his predecessor, Eugenio Pacelli, who came from an ancient aristocratic family long connected to the papacy.

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John XXIII professed his vows as a member of that order on 23 May 1897.

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John XXIII became known in Turkey's predominantly Muslim society as "the Turcophile Pope".

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John XXIII was sent a letter by Cardinal Eugenio Pacelli, and Roncalli later recalled that it was probably the last letter Pacelli sent until his election as Pope Pius XII on 2 March 1939.

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John XXIII was one of the Vatican's most sympathetic diplomats toward Jewish immigration to Palestine, which he saw as a humanitarian issue, and not a matter of biblical theology.

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John XXIII left for France the next day to commence his newest role.

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John XXIII's journal was specifically concerned with the funeral and the abused state of the late pontiff's corpse.

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John XXIII's coronation took place on 4 November 1958, on the feast of Saint Charles Borromeo, and it occurred on the central loggia of the Vatican.

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John XXIII worked to reconcile the Vatican with the Russian Orthodox Church to settle tensions between the local churches.

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In Pacem in terris, John XXIII sought to prevent nuclear war and tried to improve relations between the Soviet Union and the United States.

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John XXIII began a policy of dialogue with Soviet leaders in order to seek conditions in which Eastern Catholics could find relief from persecution.

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John XXIII interrupted the first Good Friday liturgy in his pontificate to address this issue when he first heard a celebrant refer to the Jews with that word.

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John XXIII made a confession for the Church of the sin of anti-semitism through the centuries.

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John XXIII was the first pope to travel outside of Rome since Pope Pius IX.

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In 1963, John XXIII established a commission of six non-theologians to investigate questions of birth control.

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John XXIII was an advocate for human rights which included the unborn and the elderly.

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John XXIII wrote about human rights in his encyclical Pacem in terris.

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John XXIII has the right to bodily integrity and to the means necessary for the proper development of life, particularly food, clothing, shelter, medical care, rest, and, finally, the necessary social services.

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John XXIII said that human life is transmitted through the family which is founded on the sacrament of marriage and is both one and indissoluble as a union in God, therefore, it is against the teachings of the Church for a married couple to divorce.

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Pope John XXIII was the last pope to use full papal ceremony, some of which was abolished after Vatican II, while the rest fell into disuse.

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John XXIII beatified four individuals in his reign: Elena Guerra, Innocenzo da Berzo, Elizabeth Ann Seton and Luigi Maria Palazzolo .

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John XXIII canonized a small number of individuals: he canonized Charles of Sezze and Joaquina Vedruna de Mas on 12 April 1959, Gregorio Barbarigo on 26 May 1960, Juan de Ribera on 12 June 1960, Maria Bertilla Boscardin on 11 May 1961, Martin de Porres on 6 May 1962, and Antonio Maria Pucci, Francis Mary of Camporosso and Peter Julian Eymard on 9 December 1962.

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John XXIII proclaimed Saint Lawrence of Brindisi as a Doctor of the Church on 19 March 1959 and conferred upon him the title "Doctor apostolicus" .

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John XXIII decided to expand the size of the College of Cardinals beyond its limit of seventy that Pope Sixtus V established in 1586.

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John XXIII sought to further internationalize the College of Cardinals like Pius XII attempted, while naming the first ever cardinals from countries such as Japan and Tanzania .

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Unlike his predecessor, John XXIII held frequent consistories in a marked departure from Pius XII, returning to the frequency seen in the earlier 20th century.

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John XXIII issued a rule in 1962 mandating that all cardinals should be bishops; he himself ordained as bishops the twelve non-bishop cardinals in April 1962.

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In November 1960, in preparation for the next consistory, John XXIII offered the cardinalate to Diego Venini who declined the offer.

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John XXIII gave the Gaudet Mater Ecclesia speech, which served as the opening address for the council.

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Pope John XXIII appeared at the window and delivered a speech to the people below, and told them to return home and hug their children, telling them that the hug came from the pope.

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John XXIII's closing speech made subtle references to Pope Pius IX, and he had expressed the desire to see Pius IX beatified and eventually canonized.

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Pope John XXIII offered to mediate between US President John F Kennedy and Nikita Khrushchev during the Cuban Missile Crisis in October 1962.

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John XXIII personally typed and sent a message back to him, thanking him for his letter.

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John XXIII became the first Pope to receive the title, followed by John Paul II in 1994 and Francis in 2013.

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On 10 February 1963, John XXIII officially opened the process of beatification for the late Cardinal Andrea Carlo Ferrari, Archbishop of Milan from 1894 to 1921.

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On 7 March 1963, the feast of the university's patron Saint Thomas Aquinas, Pope John XXIII visited the Pontifical University of Saint Thomas Aquinas, Angelicum and with the motu proprio Dominicanus Ordo, raised the Angelicum to the rank of Pontifical University.

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On 10 May 1963, John XXIII received the Balzan Prize in private at the Vatican but deflected achievements of himself to the five popes of his lifetime, Pope Leo XIII to Pius XII.

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John XXIII stated that it would have been an insult to honour a pontiff on the remains of the crucified Saint Peter.

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John XXIII gently helped him before bidding those present a last farewell.

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John XXIII died of peritonitis caused by a perforated stomach at 19:49 local time on 3 June 1963 at the age of 81, ending a historic pontificate of four years and seven months.

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John XXIII died just as a Mass for him finished in Saint Peter's Square below, celebrated by Luigi Traglia.

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John XXIII's tomb is located near the tombs of both Pope Pius X and Pope John Paul II.

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John XXIII brought to all citizens of the planet a heightened sense of the dignity of the individual, of the brotherhood of man, and of the common duty to build an environment of peace for all human kind.

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On 3 September 2000, John XXIII was declared "Blessed" alongside Pope Pius IX by Pope John Paul II, the penultimate step on the road to sainthood, after a miracle of curing an ill woman was discovered.

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John XXIII was the first pope since Pope Pius X to receive this honour.

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When John XXIII's body was moved in 2001, it was treated to prevent deterioration.

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