Sunday, April 27, 2014

Pope John XXIII's humor

Blessed John XXIII pictured in the Vatican Gardens while he was pope.
(CNS/Catholic Press Photo)

Here's a look at some of this new saint's funny quips:

1. Visiting a hospital he asked a boy what he wanted to be when he grew up. The boy said either a policeman or a pope. "I would go in for the police if I were you," the Holy Father said. "Anyone can become a pope, look at me!"

2. "It often happens that I wake up at night and begin to think about the serious problems afflicting the world and I tell myself, I must talk to the pope about it. Then the next day when I wake up I remember that I am the pope."

3. In reply to a reporter who asked, "How many people work in the Vatican?", he reportedly said: "About half of them."

4. When a cardinal complained that a rise in Vatican salaries meant a particular usher earned as much as the cardinal, the pope remarked: "That usher has 10 children; I hope the cardinal doesn't."

5. When he went to visit a friend at the nearby Hospital of the Holy Spirit in the evening, the nun answering the door said: "Holy Father, I'm the mother superior of the Holy Spirit." He replied: "Lucky you! What a job! I'm just the 'servant of the servants of God.'"

6. Not long after he was elected pope, Blessed John was walking in the streets of Rome. A woman passed him and said to her friend, "My God, he's so fat!" Overhearing what she said, he turned around and replied, "Madame, I trust you understand that the papal conclave is not exactly a beauty contest."

7. He once wrote: "There are three ways to face ruin: women, gambling and farming. My father chose the most boring one."

8. When he was cardinal and patriarch of Venice, the future pope was talking with a wealthy city resident and told him, "You and I have one thing in common: money. You have a lot and I have nothing at all. The difference is I don't care about it."

9. When a journalist asked the then-patriarch of Venice what he would be if he could live his life all over again, the future pope said, "Journalist." Then he said with a smile, "Now let us see if you have the courage to tell me that, if you could do it all over again, you'd be the patriarch!"

10. A Vatican official told the pope it would be "absolutely impossible" to open the Second Vatican Council by 1963. "Fine, we'll open it in 1962," he answered. And he did.

Fiodor via John

Friday, April 25, 2014

Christians in Israel

Jerusalem - The Holy Sepulchre

Two or three weeks before Easter, I received an e-mail from Aid to the Church in Need (CAN), an organization which was especially known by its support of Christians living under the communist regimes of Eastern Europe, the actions of which I generally appreciate.
The message included a call to sign a petition entitled “40 days of solidarity with the Holy Land” (40 jours de solidaritĂ© avec la Terre Sainte). The purpose of the petition was to facilitate the coming of Palestinian Christians to Jerusalem for the Easter celebrations. But it laid the full responsibility of their difficulties to make the pilgrimage from the Territories at Israel’s door. I sent the following answer to CAN: “I do not intend to sign the petition for the Christians of Palestine. Why? Because it gives the impression that all the difficulties of the Christians in the Holy Land must be ascribed to Israel. But you and I know that they suffer as much as or more rejection and marginalization from their Palestinians Muslim “brothers”. We can discuss Israel's security policy, but it must be put in context. And restrictions for access to the Holy Sepulchre, even if they are regrettable, are not to be put on the same level as the persecution that Christians suffer in the Muslim world, including Palestine.”

Nazareth - In front of the Church of the Annunciation, a mosque with a large poster
threatening non Muslims withf damnation...

A few days later, a friend of mine sent me an article published on the Italian website Informazione Corretta, which tries to counterbalance the misinformation that Israel suffers in the media. This article (here is the English version) describes the situation of Christian minorities in the Jewish state and in other countries in the Middle East, and presents the interview of two Christians living in Israel. We could summarize it in a few words: "Everywhere in the Middle-East, the Christians are discriminated against, persecuted and even killed, except... in Israel, where they live in peace and security and where their number continues to increase". The article is worth reading entirely.