IN A MASS to commemorate the 25th anniversary of Pope Pius Xll's death and Pope John XXIII's election. Pope John Paul praised his two predecessors for their "total faithfulness" to Christ and the church.
About 25,000, including the corps of diplomats to the Holy See and about 20 cardinals, attended the papal Mass in St Peter's Basilica last week. The Pope described Pope John XXIII as a "genius of simplicity" who planned and began work on "programmes of extraordinary importance." Pope John's pontificate will be known for its "gigantic undertakings," he added.
Pope John, who reigned 1958-63, called the Second Vatican Council and launched a general renewal of the Church's law, liturgy and lifestyle. Pope Pius XII was a man of "prudent wisdom" who "outlined the remedies of the crucial suffering of war in the perspective of future peace," Pope John Paul said.
He recalled the image of Pope Pius XII as "both sweet and austere" with his arms open "in a gesture of universal embrace." "The echo of his voice has not died — an energetic voice. vibrant and persuasive, consoling and sorrowful, admonishing and prophetic," he said.