10 Great Jokes told by Saint John XXIII



john231If you’re like me, your idea of the papacy for most of your life was synonymous with a certain Polish guy who went around the planet showing the rest of us what the the deal is and spent his spare time being one of the most influential historical figures of the twentieth century.

Consequently, if you are like me, you have a woefully inadequate understanding of the other great pope who is being canonized this weekend, the one and only John XXIII.

Basically, all you know about him can be summed up thus:

Fat, Italian, Vatican II.

Well, as a favor to you, I’ve taken it upon myself to do some research, and I’m here to tell you that “Good Pope John” wasn’t just another chubby pontiff who went around calling councils.

No, you simple-minded fool, there was much more to the man than that.

As it turns out, he also had a great sense of humor.  Probably because he was fat and Italian.

Via Catholic News Service, here are a few of John XXIII’s finest quips, comebacks, and one-liners. (Click the link to see the other seven jokes.)


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

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

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.


Good stuff.

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John White lives in the Chicago area with his wife and seven children.

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