Rorate Caeli

Liberazione di Roma
Words of Pope Pius XII upon the Liberation of Rome, 70 years ago


Tuesday, June 6, 1944

Rome, just yesterday trembling for the lives of her sons and daughters, for the fate of her incomparable treasures of religion and culture, having before her eyes the terrifying spectre of war and unimaginable destruction, looks today with new hope and reinforced confidence at her salvation.

So, with a deeply grateful heart, We raise up our mind and soul in praise and adoration to the Triune God, to the Father to the Son and to the Holy Ghost, on this solemn feast day, Divine mercy having inspired the two belligerent sides intent on peace and not affliction (cfr. Jer.29,11), The Eternal City has been preserved from immeasurable danger.

With unutterable gratitude we venerate the Most Holy Mother of God and our Mother, Mary, Who to the title and glory of Salus populi romani has attained new proof of Her maternal benignity, which will remain a perennial memory in the annals of the Eternal City.

We bow reverently before the Apostles Peter and Paul, whose powerful hands have protected the ground that was already impregnated by the sweat of their apostolic efforts and the blood of their glorious martyrdom.

You, however, children of Saints and heirs of a past that is unique in history, do show yourselves worthy of the grace received and conform your lives and your customs to the seriousness and gravity of the present hour and to the formidable tasks which await you in the years to come.

Overcome internal and external impulses of discord with the magnanimous spirit of fraternal love.

Restrain instincts of resentment, vengeance and selfishness with the sentiments of noble and wise moderation and of increased helpful solicitude towards the poor and suffering.

Sursum corda! Lift up your hearts: We cry out to you! And we are certain that your hearts together, without exception, will respond: Habemus ad Dominum: We have lifted them up to the Lord!

With such hope We impart to all of you, beloved sons and daughters, to your families, to your dear ones, near and far, healthy and sick, Our paternal Apostolic Blessing, as a token of the most abundant heavenly favours.

[Translation: contributor Francesca Romana. 1st image: Multitudes in Saint Peter's Square, 1944. On June 4/5, 1944, Rome became de facto an "open city" (città aperta) and its abandonment by the occupying troops. / 2nd image: Pope Pius XII's visit to the neighborhood of San Lorenzo following its bombing, in 1943 - previous post here. / 3rd image: June 11, 1944 - Pope Pius XII goes to the Sant'Ignazio church, to where the image of the Madonna del Divino Amore had been moved for the vow of protection over the city to thank the Virgin.]