History is life's teacher says Pope Francis
“Nothing is lost with peace. Everything can be lost with war,” Pope Francis told members of the Pontifical Committee of Historical Sciences repeating the phrase first used by Pope Pius XII in 1939. The Pontifical Committee of Historical Sciences, established by Pope Pius XII in 1954, promotes the development of the historical sciences through international cooperation. It continues the work of the Commission of Cardinals for Historical Studies, founded in 1883 by Pope Leo XIII.
Receiving members of the Pontifical Committee for Historical Sciences on Saturday, Pope Francis reflected on history as a life’s teacher and historians as people who can help us discern what the Holy Spirit wants to say to the Church today. He also commended their initiatives to mark the centenary of the outbreak of the Great War.
Speaking to participants, the Pope noted: “In your studies and in your teaching, you are particularly faced with the vicissitudes of the Churches’ journeys through time, with its glorious history of evangelization, of hopes and daily struggles of lives spent in service and fidelity to work, as well as infidelity of denials of sins. Your research, marked by both a genuine passion for the Church and sincere love for the truth, can be of great help to those who have the task of discerning what the Holy Spirit wants to say to the Church today”.
He noted: “In your encounter and collaboration with researchers of every culture and religion, you can offer a specific contribution to the dialogue between the Church and the modern world”.
Among the committee’s planned events, the Holy Father pointed to an International Conference marking the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War. “It pays special attention to the Holy See’s diplomatic efforts during the tragic conflict and the contribution made by Catholics and other Christians to rescue the wounded, refugees, orphans and widows, to search for the missing, as well as in the reconstruction of a world torn apart by what Benedict XV called "useless slaughter"” when he quoted from Pope Pius XIIth's appeal for peace just before the beginning of World War II.
Pope Francis said his predecessor’s heartfelt appeal resonated today still, as timely as ever: "Nothing is lost by peace; everything may be lost by war." When we listen again to those prophetic words, really, we realize that history is "magistra vitae".
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