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What role did Catholics play during the World War I?

2014-10-05

This year marks the heartbreaking centenary of  World War I, the first full scale international. 

On the anniversary of the outbreak of the Great War, Pope Francis asked that the mistakes of the past not be repeated. 

POPE FRANCIS
"As we remember this tragic chapter, let's not make the same mistakes, but rather, may we learn from history. May the lessons of peace and of patient and courageous dialogue always prevail.”

In order to learn those lessons from history, the Vatican has organized a congress that will analyze the role of Catholics and of the Holy See during the war. 

FR. BERNARD ARDURA
President, Pontifical Committee for Historical Sciences 
"The congress will reflect on the use of religion in the conflict. Pope Francis reminds us that we cannot fight in the name of God. The whole religious dimension of the conflict will be presented, as well as the manipulation of religious sentiment to provoke conflict.”

The meeting will try to explain why there were Catholics who opposed the calls for peace by the Popes during that time. 

FR. BERNARD ARDURA
President, Pontifical Committee for Historical Sciences 
"The peace efforts of Pius X and Benedict XV weren't favorably accepted by all Catholics, nor by non-Catholics. The nationalist sentiment then was so strong, that being against the war meant to betray your own country. They lived in an atmosphere that we cannot imagine in our days.”

They will also discuss the role of military chaplains, widows and missionaries during those turbulent years. 

The congress will be held on October 15th – 17th. Various historians from the countries involved in the Great War will be present. It's an analysis that will serve to recognize the mistakes of the past with the hope of never repeating them again. 


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