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Cardinal's diary yields memories of talks with Blessed John XXIII

Catholic World News - October 23, 2012

The influential Italian Jesuit journal La Civilta Cattolica has published the diaries of Cardinal Roberto Tucci from the days of Vatican II, including his memories of conversations with Blessed John XXIII.

At the time of the Council, Father Roberto Tucci was the editor of La Civilta Cattolica, and in that capacity spoke with the Pope on several occasions during the preparation for the Council. The future cardinal wrote that Pope John saw the Council as a great opportunity for ecumenical progress, particularly toward the Eastern churches. “He does not delude himself, but he notes that the spiritual climate has greatly improved,” Father Tucci wrote in his diary.

Pope John described himself as a “prisoner of opulence” in the Vatican, expressing his impatience with the elaborate ceremonies that surrounded him. He complained that “so much bowing, such formality, so much pomp, so much parading make me suffer.” The Pope also expressed annoyance with critics of his willingness to engage in polite conversation with other world leaders, especially Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev. “The Pope is not a simpleton,” he remarked, insisting that he was fully aware what was at stake in such exchanges.

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