St. Peter’s Basilica, Vatican City, 4 November 1958
Photography by Franco Gremignani
© Archivio Publifoto Intesa Sanpaolo
Angelo Roncalli was elected by the College of Cardinals, also due to his old age, perhaps, in the hope that he would be a “transitional” figure. Instead, during the five years of his papacy John XXIII revolutionized the Church: he bridged the gap between the Pontiff – immanentist and dogmatic – and the faithful; he visited the prisons and parishes of Rome, forged ties with Judaism and the Anglican Church, and appointed the first black cardinal. Humble and gentle, he goes down in history as the “good Pope”, also remembered for his poetic “moonlight speech” delivered off the cuff from the balcony on St. Peter’s Square.