Angelo Roncalli (John XXIII) elected Pope
Blessed Pope John XXIII (Latin: Ioannes PP. XXIII; Italian: Giovanni XXIII), born Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli (25 November, 1881 – 3 June, 1963), known as Blessed John XXIII since his beatification, was elected as the 261st Pope of the Roman Catholic Church and Sovereign of Vatican City on October 28, 1958.
He called the Second Vatican Council (1962–1965) but did not live to see it to completion, dying on 3 June, 1963, two months after the completion of his final encyclical, Pacem in Terris. He was beatified on 3 September, 2000, along with Pope Pius IX.
Following the death of Pope Pius XII in 1958, Roncalli was elected Pope, to his great surprise. He had even arrived in the Vatican with a return train ticket to Venice. Many had considered that Giovanni Battista Montini, Archbishop of Milan, was a possible candidate, but, although he was Archbishop of one of the most ancient and prominent Sees in Italy, he had not been appointed a cardinal.
s a result, he was not present at the 1958 conclave and most of the cardinals abided by the established precedent of voting only for a member of the College of Cardinals, in spite of the affirmation in Canon Law that any Catholic male could be chosen.
After the long pontificate of Pope Pius XII, the cardinals chose a man who, it was presumed because of his advanced age, would be a short-term or "stop-gap" pope. In John XXIII's first consistory, Montini was raised to the rank of cardinal; and in time he became John's successor, Pope Paul VI. John XXIII's personal warmth, good humor and kindness captured the world's affections in a way his predecessor, for all his learning, had failed to do.
Upon his election, Cardinal Roncalli chose John as his regnal name. This was the first time in over 500 years that this name had been chosen - previous Popes had avoided using this name as the last bishop of Rome to use this name came to be considered an Antipope following the Western Schism.
On the choice of his name Pope John said that
I choose John ... a name sweet to us because it is the name of our father, dear to me because it is the name of the humble parish church where I was baptized, the solemn name of numberless cathedrals scattered throughout the world, including our own basilica [St. John Lateran]. Twenty-two Johns of indisputable legitimacy have [been Pope], and almost all had a brief pontificate. We have preferred to hide the smallness of our name behind this magnificent succession of Roman Popes.
Upon choosing the name, there was some confusion as to whether the new Pope would be known as John XXIII or John XXIV. In response, John declared that he was John XXIII, thus affirming the antipapal status of Antipope John XXIII.
Before this Antipope, the most recent Popes called John were John XXII (1316–1334) and John XXI (1276–1277). However, there was no Pope John XX, due to confusion caused by medieval historians misreading the Liber Pontificalis to refer to another Pope John between John XIV and John XV.
At the death of Pius XII he was elected Pope on 28 October 1958, taking the name John XXIII. His pontificate, which lasted less than five years, presented him to the entire world as an authentic image of the Good Shepherd. Meek and gentle, enterprising and courageous, simple and active, he carried out the Christian duties of the corporal and spiritual works of mercy: visiting the imprisoned and the sick, welcoming those of every nation and faith, bestowing on all his exquisite fatherly care. His social magisterium in the Encyclicals Pacem in terris and Mater et Magistra was deeply appreciated.
He convoked the Roman Synod, established the Commission for the Revision of the Code of Canon Law and summoned the Second Vatican Council. He was present as Bishop in his Diocese of Rome through his visitation of the parishes, especially those in the new suburbs. The faithful saw in him a reflection of the goodness of God and called him "the good Pope". He was sustained by a profound spirit of prayer. He launched an extensive renewal of the Church, while radiating the peace of one who always trusted in the Lord. Pope John XXIII died on the evening of 3 June 1963, in a spirit of profound trust in Jesus and of longing for his embrace.
Following the death of Pope Pius XII, Roncalli was to his own great surprise elected pope on October 28, 1958. He was chosen largely for one reason only, his age. After the long pontificate of his dominating predecessor, the cardinals chose a man they presumed because of his great age and personal modesty would be a short "stop-gap" pope. What they did not expect was that Pope John's personal warmth, good humour and kindness would capture the world's affections in a way his predecessor, for all his great learning, failed to do. He visited prisoners in a gaol, telling them, "You could not come to me. So I came to you." When the First Lady of the United States, Jacqueline Kennedy, arrived in the Vatican to see him, he began nervously rehearsing the two methods of address he had been advised to use when she entered: "Mrs Kennedy, Madame" or "Madame, Mrs Kennedy". When she did arrive, however, to the amusement of the press corps he abandoned both and rushed to her saying, "Jackie!"