Pope on Shoah: Warning to all Against Oblivion - Resumeé in English from the Vatican Radio

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Benedict XVI, Pope (Ratzinger, Joseph) 1927-

Città del Vaticano       28/01/2009

In his weekly audience Pope Benedict categorically condemned all attempts to deny the Holocaust and explained the reasons for the lifting of the excommunication of four bishops from the fraternity of St Pius X.

The Holy Father also expressed his joy at the election of the new Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia, Kirill.

Speaking in Italian following his catechesis on St Paul, Pope Benedict immediately addressed an issue that has been dominating international media this week: The Holy See’s decision to lift the excommunication of four bishops from the Fraternity of St Pius X.

“In the homily I pronounced at the outset of my Pontificate” began the Pope”, “I affirmed that the call to unity is the “explicit” duty of a Pastor”. Moreover, he added, it is the a qualifying aspect of the ministry of St Peter’s Successor. Pope Benedict said that he arrived at his decision to lift the excommunication of the four prelates, because they had made known to him on repeated occasions “the suffering caused them by their situation”. “I decided to carry out this act out of paternal mercy” he said, adding that he hopes his gesture will lead to their commitment “to realise full communion with the Church, by their fidelity to and full recognition of the Magisterium and authority of the Pope and the Second Vatican Council”.

Pope Benedict’s thoughts then turned to the Shoah, the memorial of which was celebrated this week. He said “the memories and images of my many visits to Auschwitz come back to me in these days, a death camp in which blind racial and religious hatred led to the ferocious extermination of millions of Jews and other innocent victims”.

Then Pope Benedict firmly said “While I renew my affection for and complete solidarity with our Brothers of the First Alliance, I urge that the memory of the Shoah lead humanity to reflect on the unforeseeable power of evil when it conquers the Human Heart. May the Shoah be a warning to all against oblivion, against denial or revisionism, because violence committed against any one single human being is violence against all humanity. No man is an island, a well known poet once wrote. The Shoah teaches both the new and older generations, that only the demanding journey of listening and dialogue, of love and forgiveness can lead the world’s peoples, cultures and religions towards the desired goal of brotherhood and peace in truth. Never again may violence humiliate the dignity of man!”.

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