Georgia Bulletin

The Newspaper of the Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta


Looking Back… May 1963

Published May 23, 2013
Pope John XXIII is pictured in this undated photo.

Pope John XXIII is pictured in this undated photo.

  • The Georgia Bulletin issue of May 23, 1963, includes a front-page story expressing concern over the health of Pope John XXIII. Vatican officials announced May 21 that he would go on retreat within a few days. No authoritative comment was made publicly about the pope’s health, but all private audiences and regularly scheduled conferences with cardinals and other officials had been cancelled for May 17 and 18. Rumors circulated in Rome that he had had “a new attack of illness.” The issue of May 30 described the illness as grave, reporting that Pope John has been ill for a year and had suffered serious internal bleeding related to an abnormal growth in the stomach. The pope asked that prayers on his behalf would include the intention that if he died his death would win blessings for the ecumenical council and the cause of world peace. Public statements from the Vatican said the 81-year-old pontiff was gravely ill but expressed hope his strong constitution would allow him to improve.
  • The U.S. Supreme Court reversed the convictions of lunch counter sit-in demonstrators in four Southern states and held that convictions “commanded … by the voice of the state directing segregated service” cannot stand. The cases were from South Carolina, Louisiana, Alabama and North Carolina.
  • Trappist monks and Benedictine monks from 25 monasteries in the United States and Canada were taking part in a long-term research project looking into their respective diets in order to address heart disease. A meeting in Atlanta between the Catholic monks and physicians summed up the progress in the research, which had been going on for five years. It originated in the Georgia Department of Public Health and was looking at the relationship between diet and hardening of the arteries. The Trappist diet is simple and vegetarian. The Benedictines eat a typically varied American diet. Some 2,000 monks, all volunteers, supplied the researchers with medical, social and family histories and were being monitored regularly. The National Heart Institute was a co-sponsor of the project. Monks at the monastery in Conyers were among those participating in the study.
  • The results of the Catholic census of the Archdiocese of Atlanta showed a total of 43,342 Catholics in the 71 counties of north Georgia which comprised the archdiocese in 1963. (Two counties were subsequently shifted into the boundaries of the Diocese of Savannah.) The breakdown between Catholics in metro Atlanta and outside was 83.4 percent in metro Atlanta and 16.6 percent outside the city area. The census showed that in the six years since the Diocese of Atlanta was established, the number of Catholics increased 83 percent. One-fourth of those replying to the census said they had lived in the archdiocese only one year. Almost 73 percent of Catholic children between the ages of 7 and 13 in metro Atlanta were enrolled in Catholic elementary schools.