Papacy - A Historical Perspective
Pius XII :
260. Born in Rome. Elected March 2, 1939
- died October 9, 1958.
He fought against the
persecution of Marxism. During the excavations below the Basilica,
the Sepulchre of St. Peter was discovered.
He celebrated the 24th Jubilee Year (1950) and proclaimed the
Dogma of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary, Which gave origin to
the custom of blessing the statue of the Virgin Mary in Piazza di
Spagna on December 8th.
During his pontificate, Pius XII never left Rome or Castel
Gandolfo, his residence.
His longest journey was to Santa Maria di Galeria, on October
27th 1957, to inaugurate the new Vatican Radio Station (more than 1,000
KW of power). This town is 27 kilometres from Rome.
He is buried in the Vatican Grottoes. His pontificate lasted about
18 and a half years.
XXIII : 1958-1963 A.D.
261. Born in Sotto il Monte (Bergamo).
Elected October 28, 1958 - died June 3, 1963.
With his Bull "Humanae salutis" he
called the 21 st Ecumenical Council Vatican II (October 11th 1962).
The subject of the council was:
Liturgical life and social relationships, the Church and the modern
world. His beatification is under way.
The new Pope, endowed with a good and
simple looking attitude, as opposed to the detached and ascetic Pius
XII, revealed himself immediately as a Pope of transition and balance
between the two different trends of traditionalists and the supporters
of a great opening of the Church.
Soon after the consecration, which
took place on November 4th, he began to visit parishes, hospitals and
Even during his pontificate, John
XXIII continued to shock the conservatives when he received the
son-in-law of Kruschev, the Russian Head of State, therefore ignoring
the excommunication launched to the communists by Pope Pacelli.
John raised the number of cardinals
to 75, instead of the 70 previously established by Sixtus V. He
ordered the revision of the list of saints, which underwent a
careful critical control.
The death of John XXIII caused great
emotion all over the world.
He is buried in the Vatican Grottoes.
His pontificate lasted 4 years and 8 months.
Paul VI :
262. Born in Concesio (Brescia). Elected
June 21, 1963 - died August 6, 1978.
He celebrated the 25th Jubilee Year
He was the first Pope to leave
He allowed the clergy the use of a
He created the "Episcopal Synod".
Paul VI established that the Mass had to be said in the mother language
of the country and not in Latin - except for solemn ceremonies.
He gave the new form of mensa to the
altar, which in new churches had to be placed towards the faithful and
at the actual centre of the building.
Pope Montini aimed for the reform
and the internationalisation of the Curia, the enlargement of the
Sacred College from 103 to 120 members and the participation of
cardinals from the third world.
He wrote a letter to the members of the
"Red Brigades" in which he begged for the liberation of Aldo Moro,
president of the Christian Democrats, who was condemned to death by
He ordered the building of the famous
Sala Nevi, which bears the name of the architect that projected it, to
be used during papal hearings held on Wednesdays.
He renewed the legislation concerning
the conclave and the Vacancy of the See. He was buried in the Vatican
His Pontificated lasted about 15 years
and 2 months.
Back to Top
Index of Roman
© Format Copyright 2002 - 2022 by The M+G+R Foundation.
All rights reserved.
The M+G+R Foundation
Please Note: If the above dated image does not appear
on this document, it means that you are not viewing the original
document from our servers. Should you have reason to doubt the
authenticity of the document, we recommend that you access our server
again and click on the "Refresh" or "Reload" button of your Browser to
view the original document.