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Pope’s Expresses Fear on D-Day, Some Today Are Serious About World War

Pope Francis commemorated today’s 80th anniversary of the June 6, 1944 Allied forces landing in Normandy, in a letter addressed to France’s Bishop Jacques Habert of Bayeux and Lisieux, read during a ceremony in Bayeux Cathedral on the eve of the anniversary, in the presence of religious, civil, and military authorities. Expressing his closeness to all those present at the ceremony, the Pope reflected on the collective and military effort that led to the liberation of Europe and on the immense sacrifices made:

“The landing generally evokes the disaster of this terrible global conflict, where so many men, women, and children suffered, so many families were torn apart, and so much destruction was caused,” he wrote, emphasizing the importance of remembering these events to condemn and reject war unequivocally. “It is indeed worrying that the hypothesis of a generalized conflict is sometimes again seriously considered, that people are gradually becoming familiar with this unacceptable eventuality. People want peace! They want conditions of stability, security, and prosperity where everyone can calmly fulfill their duty and destiny.” He condemned the pursuit of ideological, nationalist, or economic ambitions that jeopardize this possibility, describing it as a “grave sin before mankind” and a “sin before God.”

Aside from asking for prayers for the peacemakers (“May they tirelessly persist in their efforts”) and the victims of all wars (“May God welcome all those who have died in these terrible conflicts”), Francis notably began: “Let us pray for the men who want wars, those who start them, senselessly fuel them, maintain and prolong them unnecessarily, or cynically profit from them. May God enlighten their hearts, may He show them the procession of misfortunes they cause!”