Pius XII's Letter to US President Roosevelt
"Spare Innocent Civil Populations and in Particular Churches"
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VATICAN CITY, JUNE 9, 2010 (Zenit.org).- Here is the previously unpublished letter sent by Pope Pius XII to U.S. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt on Aug. 30, 1943, after one of the several bombings of Rome by the Allied Forces.
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Recent events have naturally focused the worlds attention for the moment on Italy, and much has been said and written on what policy she would or should now follow for her own best interests. Too many, we fear, take for granted that she is entirely free to follow the policy of her choice; and we have wished to express to Your Excellency our conviction that this is far from true. Of her desire for peace and to be done with the war, there can be no doubt; but in the presence of formidable forces opposing the actuation or even the official declaration of that desire she finds herself shackled and quite without the necessary means of defending herself.
If under such circumstances Italy is to be forced still to bear devastating blows against which she is practically defenseless, we hope and pray that the military leader will find it possible to spare innocent civil populations and in particular churches and religious institutions the ravages of war. Already, we must recount with deep sorrow and regret, these figure very prominently among the ruins of Italy's most populous and important cities.
But the message of assurance addressed to us by Your Excellency sustains our hope, even in the face of bitter experience, that God's temples and the homes erected by Christian charity for the poor and sick and abandoned members of Christ's flock may survive the terrible onslaught. May God in His merciful pity and love hearken to the universal cry of his children and let them hear once more the voice of Christ say: Peace!
We are happy of this occasion to renew the expression of our sincere good wishes to Your Excellency.
From the Vatican, August 30, 1943
Pius PP XII