Most everyone has seen photos of Rome's big celebration on Sunday in which two popes were canonized - St. John XXIII and St. John Paul II. Some writers have called these two men the "bookends of Vatican II."
John XXIII rocked the Catholic World by calling for a council of all the church's bishops. "Throw open the windows of the church and let the fresh air of the spirit blow through," was his rallying cry. The young bishop of Krakow, Karol Wojtyla, attended the council, probably never imagining he would become the pope charged with implementing the reforms of Vatican II and shepherding the faithful through the upheaval of change,
I think it is hard for people of my generation or younger to appreciate the enormous import of Vatican II, or its potential perils. For non-Catholics, it is even more challenging. Much has been written about the doctrinal and pastoral contributions of St. John XXIII and St. John Paul II to Catholicism. I have nothing to add to that conversation, but I would like to reflect briefly on the blessings these two men bestowed upon the wider world.
This section of the post is under construction thanks to some input and correction from my friend Mary. I hope to return to John XXIII when I have more time for study.