Tomorrow is the 50th anniversary of Pope John XXIII's announcement that he intended to call an ecumenical Council.
It was fascinating and illuminating trying to find a decent video to post. The vast majority of English language videos on the topic of John XXIII and the Council are of the "Vatican II = Apostasy" school of thought.
But the Italian documentaries of the era are fascinating and give a vivid sense of Pope John's warm, down-to-earth manner and his trips around Rome which won't strike us as dramatic after John Paul II, but coming after Pius XII, it was a revolution in style. Fr. Michael Sweeney used to tell me that John XXIII was a theological conservative. It was his warmth, spontaneity, and openness to the leading of the Holy Spirit that made him seem like a liberal.
These two videos give a vivid sense of the man and his time, charmingly idiosyncratic English subtitles and all. Part two includes the Pope's moving visit to a Roman prison and some rare footage of the beginning of the council.