Pope John XXIII and the Cuban Missile Crisis

2012-10-26 Vatican Radio

(Vatican Radio) It was 1962 and the Cuban missile crisis raised a spectre of a nuclear war. A Roman Pontiff had been working behind the scenes to avoid this confrontation, his name John XXIII.

He voiced his concern for peace through the microphones of Vatican Radio. The date was the 25th of October and speaking in French the Pope highlighted the responsibility of world leaders to avoid a war that would have unpredicatble and horrific effects .

He appealed to them to listen to the cry of anguish reaching out to them from the four corners of the earth, a cry for peace.

The world leaders he was appealling to were the first Catholic President of the United States John Fitzgerald Kennedy and communist Russian Premier Nikita Khrushchev.

It's hard to imagine this gentle Pope known as Good Pope John as having really had such an instrumental role in helping world leaders back away gracefully from terrifying confrontation.

Veronica Scarisbrick asks historian, Jesuit Father Norman Tanner to shed light on how John XXIII was able to influence this crisis situation...

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