This year marks the centenary of one of the greatest disasters humanity ever brought upon itself, the First World War. Not only did it cost the lives of over 16 million people; it also set the stage for other conflicts and even greater carnage in the decades that followed. In fact, its legacy of fear, hatred, vengeance and mistrust continues to influence current affairs. One voice crying for peace against the drumbeat for war was Pope Benedict XV, who served as pope from to
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Benedict had studied at the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy in Rome, and spent much of his career in the diplomatic corps and the Secretariat of State. Benedict was elected pope September 3, The conclave itself was divided, not only politically, but the cardinals views as how to address the issue of Modernism.
In maintain neutrality and refusing to condemn either side, "he was condemned by the Allies as the German pope and by the Central Powers as the French pope. Benedict described the combatants as the greatest and wealthiest nations of the earth, stating that "they are well-provided with the most awful weapons modern military science has devised, and they strive to destroy one another with refinements of horror.
There is no limit to the measure of ruin and of slaughter; day by day the earth is drenched with newly shed blood and is covered with the bodies of the wounded and of the slain. Benedict viewed the war as symptomatic of much greater ills pervading society.
Race hatred has reached its climax; peoples are more divided by jealousies than by frontiers; within one and the same nation, within the same city there rages the burning envy of class against class; and amongst individuals it is self-love which is the supreme law overruling everything. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. In Latin In English.
Ad Beatissimi Apostolorum
Nov 9. Posted by Brian Williams. As the opening salvos of the First World War had just been fired, Pope Benedict made an appeal for peace with this, his first encyclical to the Church. While much of the document understandably focuses on civil governments and warring nations, Benedict also directs his attention to the discord and conflict raging within the Church.
Raised by the inscrutable counsel of Divine Providence without any merit of our own to the Chair of the Prince of the Apostles, we hearkened to those words of Christ Our Lord addressed to Peter, "Feed my lambs, feed my sheep" John xxii. For the whole of mankind was freed from the slavery of sin by the shedding of the blood of Jesus Christ as their ransom, and there is no one who is excluded from the benefit of this Redemption: hence the Divine Pastor has one part of the human race already happily sheltered within the fold, the others He declares He will lovingly urge to enter therein: "and other sheep I have, that are not of this fold; them also must I bring, and they shall hear my voice" John x. We make no secret, Venerable Brethren, that the first sentiment we felt in our heart, prompted certainly by the goodness of God, was the inexpressible yearning of a loving desire for the salvation of all mankind, and in assuming the Pontificate our sincere wish was that of Our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, when about to die on the Cross: "Holy Father, keep them in Thy name, whom Thou hast given me" John xvii. But as soon as we were able from the height of Apostolic dignity to survey at a glance the course of human affairs, our eyes were met by the sad conditions of human society, and we could not but be filled with bitter sorrow. For what could prevent the soul of the common Father of all being most deeply distressed by the spectacle presented by Europe, nay, by the whole world, perhaps the saddest and most mournful spectacle of which there is any record. Certainly those days would seem to have come upon us of which Christ Our Lord foretold: "You shall hear of wars and rumours of wars - for nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom" Matt.
World War I's Pope Benedict XV and the pursuit of peace
Benedict described the combatants as the greatest and wealthiest nations of the earth; they are well provided with the most awful weapons modern military science has devised, they strive to destroy one another with refinements of horror. There is no limit to the measure of ruin and of slaughter; day by day the earth is drenched with newly-shed blood, and is covered with the bodies of the wounded and of the slain. The origin of the evil is a neglect of the precepts and practices of Christian wisdom, particularly a lack of love and compassion. Jesus Christ came down from Heaven for the very purpose of restoring among men the Kingdom of Peace, "A new commandment I give unto you: That you love one another  "This is my commandment that you love one another"  Materialism , nationalism , racism and class warfare are the characteristics of the age instead, so Benedict XV:.