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.



22 thoughts on “10 Great Jokes told by Saint John XXIII

  1. Jerome says:

    I sure love all the Popes in the 20th and 21st century, Marian. Holy and the Lord is Good for these difficult end of an age times we live. Thank God for Fransis he is leading the Church. Healing, bring back many hurt Catholics and all other Christians he is uniting. Love him.

  2. Jim Termini says:

    How about this one from Pope John Paul II. It was revealed by President Reagan after he had returned from a trip to Europe. He said he had had a chance to visit with the Pope, who told him there are three categories of age: There’s youth, there’s middle age, and there’s “you’re looking good.”

    1. Maria says:

      Yes, Gina, I totally agree with you. As these wonderful Popes were canonized yesterday, I felt sad that Pope Pius XII was pushed aside, sort of forgotten altogether. He should be made a Saint and honored also. I pray that his cause will be defended and justified very soon. God bless. +

  3. Gina Nakagawa says:

    Pope John Paul II was a wonderful and holy man. Pope John Paul I was a kind self-effacing and holy man. Pope John XXIII was a warm, humble and holy man. However, when will we remember Pope Pius XII a loving, caring, brave and holy man will the lie of a Nazi atheist play wright overshadow him forever? Will Satan be allowed to win on this one. Dear Lord, please raise your just servant to the honors of the altar.

  4. Donna says:

    Pope John XXIII: “One day, a Swiss guardsman, a cardinal and a seminarian walked into a coffeeshop…”

  5. Roger C. Thibault says:

    I got to touch Pope John Paul II on a stopover on one of my two trips to Medjugorje.

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