Rorate Caeli

Pope Francis praises Pius XII on the 70th anniversary of the bombing of Rome

Pope Francis sent a letter to the Cardinal Vicar of Rome in remembrance of the tragic event which occurred 70 years ago, on July 19, 1943: the devastating bombardment of Rome in the district of San Lorenzo, which would, days later, lead to the fall of the Mussolini government.

Pope Pacelli rushed to the scene, regardless of any security concerns: Rome was his city, the victims were his flock, he had to be with them. The Pastor Angelicus was a shepherd who smelled of his sheep.

Message of Holy Father Francis

to Cardinal-Vicar Agostino Vallini
on the LXX Anniversary of the Bombing of Rome
[San Lorenzo, July 19, 1943]

To Cardinal Agostino Vallini, Vicar General for the Diocese of Rome

I am spiritually united with you, with the community of the Capuchin Friars and with all those who are gathered in the Basilica of St Lawrence Outside-the-Walls to commemorate the violent bombing on 19 July 1943, which caused severe damage to the sacred building and to the whole district, as well as to other areas of the City, sowing death and destruction. Seventy years later the commemoration of that particularly dramatic event serves as an opportunity to pray for all those who died, as well as for a renewed reflection on the terrible scourge of war, and likewise as an expression of gratitude to one who was a caring and provident father.

I am referring to Venerable Pope Pius XII. In those terrible hours he made himself close to his fellow-citizens, so severely hit. Pope Pacelli did not hesitate a moment before rushing to the still smoking rubble in the San Lorenzo neighbourhood, with no escort, to bring help and comfort to the distressed people. On that occasion too he showed himself to be a caring Pastor among his flock, especially in the hour of trial, who was ready to share in the suffering of his people. Along with him, I would like to remember all those who in such a tragic moment, cooperated by offering moral and material help to soothe the wounds of body and soul, and by bringing help to the homeless. I would like to mention Msgr Giovanni Battista Montini, the future Paul VI, then Substitute of the Secretariat of State, who accompanied Pius XII on his visit to the district which had just been laid waste by bombs.

Pope Pacelli’s action was a sign of the ceaseless efforts of the Holy See and of the Church through her various structures — parishes, religious institutes, residential colleges — to bring relief to the people. A great many bishops, priests and men and women religious in Rome and throughout Italy resembled the Good Samaritan of the Gospel parable, bending over their suffering brother, to help him and bring him comfort and hope. This was a demonstration of charity that was extended to every human being in danger and in need of acceptance and support.

May remembrance of the bombardment on that dramatic day make Pope Pius XII’s words ring out: “Nothing is lost with peace, everything can be lost with war” (Radio Message, 24 August 1939). Peace is a gift of God which today too must find hearts willing to receive it and to toil to be builders of reconciliation and peace.

I entrust all the inhabitants of the San Lorenzo district, especially the elderly, the sick, and people who are lonely or in difficulty to the motherly intercession of Mary, Salus Populi Romani. May she, the Virgin of tenderness and consolation, strengthen faith, hope and charity, in order to radiate God’s love and mercy throughout the world.

With these sentiments, I assure you of my prayers and I warmly impart to you the Apostolic Blessing.

From the Vatican, July 19, 2013


Anonymous said...

Very thoughtful and heartfelt. Perhaps this may by an indication of sentiment towards Pius XII's canonization. We pray.


Jim Zbiegien said...


Alan Aversa said...

Let's pray he praises Humani Generis on its 63rd anniversary this coming December 8.

Nicholas Ugap said...

"Santo Subito Venerabilis Papa Pio XII !!!!
Sainthood Now for Venerable Pope Pius XII ..."

Papa Venerabilis Pius XII
Ora pro nobis

Steve Calovich said...

I wonder if Rome will be bombed again during Francis papacy. This time by Heaven.

Crouchback said...


Dan Hunter said...


I pray to Venerable Pius XII daily.

Woody said...

It is also very gratifying to see the Holy Father's invocation of Our Lady in terms of her divine and human maternity, and even more, in terms of her role as advcate and mediatrix. We should not ignore the implications of this seemingly routine invocation of she who the Venerable Pius XII declared Queen of Heaven.

Angelo said...

I did not want to read anything more that Pope Francis said again. But after reading this, its good news that the Pope is talking like a Pope. He even gave his "Apostolic Blessing". Pope Francis set out to transform the Papacy, perhaps the Papacy as appointed by Christ is transforming him. As for Ven. Pius Xll I too seek his intercession daily. Ven. Pius Xll on the last day of a Novena to him, obtained a signal grace for my son and I. I pray the Church ignore all the lies against this holy Pope and that the Church canonize him along with Bl. John XXlll and Bl. John Paul ll. It would ring the truth spoken by both Bl. John Paul ll and Pope Benedict XVl, "This is not a new Church. It is the same Church before, during and after the Second Vatican Council". By the way I read something of interest. The Eucharistic miracle in Sri Lanka and Cardinal Ranjith pardoning those who tried to desecrate the Tabernacle.

Supertradmum said...

The Church needs his intercession as a canonized saint.

Simon Reilly said...

Prayer cards for the beatification of Ven. Pius XII can be obtained by writing to:
Postulazione Gerolue de Compagnia de Gesu
Borgo Spirito 4

Nick D said...

I wonder if people howled about Venerable Pius' security, criticizing him as many do our current Holy Father for not being too concerned with staying behind his security gaurds