Action Alert!
Catholic World News

Pope recalls famous 'speech to the moon' by Blessed John XXIII

October 12, 2012

Speaking on October 11 to participants in a candlelight procession marking the 50th anniversary of Vatican II, Pope Benedict XVI recalled the famous “speech to the moon” that Blessed John XXIII had delivered extemporaneously at the opening of the Council.

The procession, organized by Catholic Action of Italy, was part of a celebration of Vatican II organized by the group in conjunction with the Rome diocese. The procession formed at Castel Sant’Angelo and made its way to St. Peter’s Square, where the Pope addressed the group from the window of his apartment in the apostolic palace—just as Pope John XXIII had spoken to a crowd 50 years earlier.

Recalling that moment, Pope Benedict said that “we were certain that a new springtime for the Church was in the offing.” The discourse of Blessed John XXIII, he said, had been full of “unforgettable words, words full of poetry and goodness, words from the heart.”

"Today too we are happy,” the Pope continued. “But I would say it is perhaps a more sober and humble joy.” The 50 years since the Council, he said, have provided many reminders that “weeds are also always present in the field of the Lord,” and “Peter’s net also brings in bad fish.” Today, he said, the Church is “sailing against a counter wind and is threatened by storms; and at times we have thought that the Lord is sleeping and has forgotten us.” Nevertheless, the Pontiff said, the Church can have confidence because of God’s constant presence.

As he finished his remarks, the Pope quoted directly from the “speech to the moon” by Blessed John XXIII, saying:

In closing I make bold to echo the unforgettable words of Pope John: “Go to your homes, give your children a kiss and say it is from the Pope.”


Sound Off! supporters weigh in.

All comments are moderated. To lighten our editing burden, only current donors are allowed to Sound Off. If you are a donor, log in to see the comment form; otherwise please support our work, and Sound Off!

Show 1 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: TheJournalist64 - Oct. 12, 2012 7:42 PM ET USA

    We were all so naive then, not realizing that inside and outside the Church there were (and even more now) people whose anthem will always be "ecrasez l'infame" (pardon my French). Our naivete gave them the opening they needed to legitimize religious and priests "expressing their sexuality," and that led directly to many of the perils we are still living down, and paying for so dearly.