Assess the impact that Pope John XXIII had on Christianity
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“Apart from himself, John XXIII never neglected a thing.” It was this selflessness; love and compassion that saw John XXIII become one of the most significant and influential Popes in the history of Christianity. His sweeping reforms through the Vatican II Council and numerous Papal encyclicals created and published under John, had profound ramifications for the Catholic Church, and Christianity alike. His work with ecumenism and interfaith dialogue instilled a greater sense of unification within the Christian Church, and highlighted common ground with other religions, strengthening interfaith ties. It is because of the achievements of John XXIII while pontiff that he is seen as one of the greatest Popes to have sat in the chair of Peter. Pope John XXIII harked from humble beginnings, being baptised as Angelo Roncalli in a small town in Italy. From a young age he possessed a passion for the Christian religion, feeling a strong calling from God. Following this calling, he entered a seminary at age twelve. During World War One, he served in the armed forces, experiencing the atrocities of war, kindling Angelo’s passion for his ultimate goal of world harmony and unification. After working for twenty-five years as a Papal Diplomat, he became a Cardinal and appointed Patriarch of Venice. Following the death of Pope Pius XII, Roncalli was appointed Pope, with the intention of him being a transitional Pope, due to his old age. It was expected that Angelo would change little, maintaining the traditions of the church. Instead, he went on to become one of the greatest reformers of the Christian faith through his search for unity. John XXIII held the dream to “throw open the windows of the church”, and he strived to achieve this through his 1962 Vatican II Council. His council, only the second in the history of the church, brought together Bishops from around the world to discuss issues and work together to bring reform to the traditionalist Catholic Church and the wider Christian community. The Canon of the Mass was changed to have Mass spoken in the vernacular, or language of the people, affording the laity a better understanding of the mystery of the mass. The priest also now faced the congregation, allowing parishioners to better connect with clergymen. John shifted the focus of Christianity back to the Bible, drawing religion back to the ideals of Jesus. The Council also saw greater emphasis placed on ecumenism and interfaith dialogue. These changes had a drastic effect on the Christian faith, creating a more fostering church where the laity could better connect to the mass through vernacularisation. Lay people now had an active role in their faith and Christianity became united under the common Bible. John XXIII’s Council allowed Christianity to become a dynamic, living religion. In the role of Pontiff, John XXIII released many Papal Encyclicals including Mater et Magistra, meaning ‘Mother and Teacher’. This encyclical was promulgated in May 1961, and outlined the Christian stance on “moral order” and political issues facing the sixties, such as the rise in Communism. Mater et Magistra was addressed to “all Christians…” allowing the teachings of the Pope to resonate with the whole Christian community, rather than simply Catholics. Mater et Magistra aimed to address the restoration of social relationships based on truth, love and justice, and focused on the responsibility of wealthier nations to help poorer nations. It stated “to destroy or squander goods that other people need in order to live is to offend against justice and humanity”, highlighting the responsibility of Christians to care for their fellow humans. Mater et Magistra made clear the Church’s desire to be a peacemaker within the world, and through addressing “all Christians”, united all denominations under a humanitarian banner, moulding Christianity into one movement for good, brought together under Christian ideals.
Explain the Contribution to the Development and Expression of Christianity of John Xxiii.
1233 WordsMar 31st, 20115 Pages
The contribution of Pope John XXIII has been profound, as many of his initiatives and actions are still resonating today. His acceptance of Jesus’ words “I came to save all nations.” Represented his motivation to do well and bring peace upon the world. He was an advocate of Christian unity, social justice, human rights and the promotion of world peace. It is through his development of the Second Vatican Council, his contribution to ecumenism and his empathy for humanity that Pope John XXIII made a significant impact upon the development and expression of Christianity.
The essence of the contribution made by Pope John XXIII was his calling together of the Second Vatican Council that aimed to address modernisation of the Catholic Church,…show more content…
The roles of people in the church were redefined, as the Pope established himself clearly as a man of action, and not unreachable ‘God like’ figure. He did not submit to his power and instead worked together and worked for the people to make worshipping Christ more meaningful. The sacraments were developed to involve the congregation and improve the expression of Christian beliefs as the church was modernized and clericalism was removed.
Pope John made a strong contribution to ecumenism. In his pursuit of ecumenism john embraced a church that was united in diversity. This was the movement to better relationships between Catholics and non-Catholics, Eastern and Western Orthodox churches as well as between different religious faiths and Christianity, “I am Joseph, your brother”. In dialogue between Eastern and Western Orthodox churches, there are now many positive relationships maintained between varying denominations throughout the Christian faith; creating a more supportive and secure atmosphere for Christian adherents. Pre-Vatican II Catholics were barred from reading works written by Protestant Reformers, other Christian denominations were schismatic and it was a sin to go to a non-Catholic service. The changes to the development and expression of Christian beliefs through Vatican II were there was freedom of inquiry, joint prayer services, common edition of the Bibles and heightened respect and dignity for others. The notion of