Aftermath of WWII Shows Church Is Above Politics

Vian Reflects on Popes’ Roles in World Peace

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VATICAN CITY, AUG. 26, 2009 ( According to the editor of L’Osservatore Romano, the election of Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI says something about Vatican politics: The Church acknowledges the past but looks to the future.

Giovanni Vian marked the 70th anniversary of Pope Pius XII’s historic radio message delivered on the eve of World War II with this reflection made in the semi-official Vatican daily. He considered what the Roman Pontiffs have done to contribute to peace before and after the second world war.

The newspaper republished Pius XII’s Aug. 24 message, in which the Bishop of Rome proclaimed that “nothing is lost with peace. Everything can be lost with war.”

Vian’s article goes on to note how Pius XII continued working for peace, even after his radio address failed to calm the conflict. The Pope’s efforts were “silent and effective,” and thus aided thousands of victims, the editor affirmed.

Pius XII’s representatives, such as the future Pope John XXIII, also dedicated themselves to the peace effort, Vian continued, “making use of every possibility to help the persecuted, without distinction.”

And since World War II, the Holy See’s efforts have forged on: “As Catholics were able to make important contributions to reconstruction and reconciliation, the Church in Rome has symbolically closed Word War II with the papal elections of Karol Wojtyla and Joseph Ratzinger,” Vian observed.
John Paul II and Benedict XVI, he wrote, suffered the War “directly in their person, sons, at the time, of opposing nations.”
“From the historical point of view, the cardinals’ two choices have demonstrated the inconsistency of many predictions, based on old political convictions, according to which the election of 1978, and especially that of 2005, would be impossible,” Vian added. “Clearly, the Church’s geopolitics is different. Taking up the past, it looks to the future with its eyes set on a promise that will not disappoint.”

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