Plea to Rulers of Nations



Delivered over radio to the world on the occasion of His Episcopal Jubilee, May 13, 1942

Vital Speeches of the Day, Vol. VII, pp. 492-496.

TOMORROW, on the solemn Feast of the Ascension of Christ, Our Saviour, to heaven, surrounded by the loyal, devout congregation of the people of the Eternal

City and in intimate paternal communion with millions of Christian believers through the world, We shall go up to the Papal Altar in the patriarchal Vatican Basilica to offer to God, with profound humility and fervent devotion, the Eucharistic Sacrifice. An intense feeling of gratitude to the giver of all good things inspires Us and draws Us on, for Our soul is filled with an ineffable joy as this day brings back to Us the memory of Our Episcopal Consecration twenty-five years ago at the hands of Our venerated and unforgettable predecessor. It is a dear memory which, while it calls forth from Us an anthem of praise to God, makes Us also invoke with all Our heart the blessing of Heaven on Our Lord's flock entrusted to Our pastoral care and on all that the Church is doing and suffering for the salvation of the world.

This day, which should be one of pure and serene joy for the Catholic world, comes at a time of the gravest anxieties and sufferings of which the words of Our Saviour seem to be a vivid description: "For nation shall rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom and there shall be pestilences and famines and earthquakes in places." (Matt. 24:7). In the midst of such widespread calamity, how could We hold those celebrations, even though strictly religious, that are proper to joyous and happy days?

The infuriate tragedy of the events through which we are passing summons us not to joy but rather to penance and amendment, urges us on to self-examination and purification, warns us to reset the course and change the path of our thoughts, our aims and our conduct.

It is for Us then, dear children, a source of joy, of deep satisfaction and of reassurance to know that Our jubilee is being celebrated throughout the Catholic world with prayers and sacrifices for the welfare of Holy Church and with generous almsgiving to the thousands and thousands of brethren, who, in their many grave needs, knock with confidence on the door of Christian Charity, which suffers patiently along with them in the midst of strife and of the universally felt sorrows of the present moment. The impenetrable designs of God have disposed that it is We, who should support the weight of pastoral anxiety which twenty-five years ago was borne by that great-souled one who imposed hands on Us at the altar of the Sistine Chapel and gave Us the plentitude of the priesthood.

Holy Heritage

It is a holy heritage, but, Oh, how heavy and full of sorrows the road by which the beloved Providence of God guided Us.

It led back again to the Sistine, where on Our weak shoulders was laid the dignity of Supreme Pontiff, a dignity of which We feel deeply Our unworthiness. And with that dignity came a gigantic burden which, with the outbreak and extension of this second World War, has become so heavy as even to surpass that which the first World War brought with it in the days of Benedict XV. But for all that, dear sons, We should have passed in vain through the school of Leo XIII, with his brilliant wisdom; of Pius X, so outstanding for his piety; of Benedict XV, so gifted with far-seeing wisdom; of Pius XI, so full of holy courage and enterprise, if in the midst of this hurricane of universal grief We were to allow, even for a moment, to waver in Us the certainty founded on faith strengthened by hope, ripened by charity; the certainty that Our Lord is never more watchful, never nearer to His Church than in those hours when His children, under the stress of fear and tempest, might be driven to cry out: "Master, doth it not concern Thee that we perish; Lord, save us, we perish" (Mark 4:38; Matt. 8: 25).

And this unruffled sense of security, where does our soul strengthen and stabilize it? At the Tomb of Peter, First Bishop of Rome. When we kneel before that tomb and fix our thoughts on the beginnings of the Church, We seem to see the first Pope, destined by Christ Himself to be the cornerstone of the Church, lift up his head proudly and say to Us: "I beseech you, who am myself an ancient, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, feed the flock of God which is among you" (I Pet. 5:1). Then We see in spirit all Our good children throughout the world gathered around Us, countless as the sands of the seashore, and Our heartexpands and We feel deep within Us a compulsion to speak and to feed the soul of each of you with that confidence which sustains Our own soul.

Three Great Solemnities

The Church too had and has her springtime, marvellous as herself. Do not the three great solemnities of Easter, Ascension and Pentecost, coming in the season when nature awakened to new life bedecks herself with greenery and flowers and prepares by her hidden travails to bestow her gift of harvest and fruit; do not these solemnities form a springtime of the spirit which makes nature's springtime more welcome, more precious, more beautiful? For Us these feasts are as a sum of three great mysteries, three sublime truths, three great historical facts, three mysteries of first magnitude in the work of redemption.

They are three fundamental and unshaken pillars of the gigantic edifice which is Holy Church. In their light, in their supernatural power, these truths equally present and equally vivid to all generations of the Faithful in every era of the Church's history, throw the light of their historic reality on the springtime of Christianity, on its tender beginnings, its green growth and full flowering even while winds and gales were blowing. For Christianity was born a giant, its forehead encircled by the rays of those three truths which mark the opening of that epoch which is so justly termed heroic; that is the three centuries between the foundation of the Church and the peace made with the Roman Empire in 312.

In the time of Constantine these three fundamental mysteries, resplendent beams of that Light of the World which is Christ, direct and accompany the forward march of the young Church, Spouse of Christ. They watch her steps and give her heart to rise above the savage mist of paganism and reach the heights of her predestined greatness.

With their minds tenaciously, perseveringly fixed on faith in the Risen One and in their own resurrection; with their eyes ever intent with holy anticipation on the Glorified One sitting at the right hand of the Father and on the heavenly Jerusalem, everlasting abode of happiness for those who remain faithful to the end; with their souls filled with the certainty of the strengthening presence of the Holy Spirit promised and sent by Jesus, you can see the early Christians, when professing their faith in the midst of strife and suffering, rise to heroic stature, thanks to their noble thoughts, their vigorous action, the valiant rivalry they displayed in the arena of moral giants.

They have left behind them an example whose conquering force expands and propagates down the centuries even to our own days when to save and keep the honor and the name of Christian one must undergo struggles and face up to trials not unlike theirs. Before such athletes, on whose brows the victorious laurels of the militant Christian are often intertwined with the palm of martyrdom, all uncertainty and hesitation vanishes.

Does not the great lesson of their heroic life suffice to clear all mists from our minds, to put new life into our hearts, to raise aloft the heads of the Christians of today, making them conscious of their exalted dignity, eager to reach greater heights while they ponder the responsibility which their Christian profession stamps upon their souls.

Unmistakable Characteristic

The spiritual profile of this primitive Christianity, whose beginnings are recalled for us by the coming Feasts of the Ascension and Pentecost, is refulgent with four unmistakable characteristics: 1, unshaken confidence in victory based on a profound Faith; 2, serene and unlimited readiness for sacrifice and suffering; 3, Eucharistic fervor and recollectionarising from the deep conviction of the social efficiency of Eucharistic thought on all forms of social life; 4, a striving after an ever closer and more enduring unity of spirit and of Hierarchy.

This four-fold character of the Church's youth presents in each of its dominant notes an appeal and at the same time a hope and a promise to the Christianity of our day, for the true Christianity of today is not different from that of the early ages. The youth of the Church is eternal, for the Church does not grow old, changing her age as she does according to the conditions of time while she marches on to eternity. The centuries that she has passed through are but a day as the centuries that lie before her are but as a day. Her youth in the days of the Caesars is the same that now speaks to us. The confidence in victory of the primitive church drew its life, soundness and imperturbability from the words of the Master; "I have overcome the world" (John, 16:33). They are words which might well have been inscribed on the wood of His Cross, the standard of his victories.

Let the Christianity of today be penetrated and inflamed by the burning and luminous fire of that watchword and you will feel in your hearts the peaceful, quiet confidence of victory that reassures you with the passing of these dark days in which so many are living in terror and discouragement. There will come not the terrors which the small-minded dread but the brilliant fulfilment of the hopes of faithful and magnanimous souls. The Church of today cannot simply return to the primitive forms of the small initial flock. In her maturity, which is not old age, she holds her head high and maintains unchanged in her members the vigor of her youth. She remains necessarily what she was at her birth.

Always the same, she does not change in her dogma or in her strength. She is impregnable, indestructible, invincible. She is immovable, changeless, in the writ of her foundation, sealed with the Blood of the Son of God. Yet she moves, she takes new forms with the age in which she goes forward, on her way progressing, yes, but not changing in her nature. For, as Vincent of Lerins so well puts it, the religious life of souls must imitate that of bodies which, while in the course of their growth they increase the number of their years, still remain the same bodies that they were.

The church is in a position to look back with worthy pride, and unafraid, on her past and on the almost two-thousand-year-old priceless treasure of her teaching and legislation which has increased through the fuller development and clearer understanding of the deposit of truth committed to her, as well as through the effective strengthening and perfection of her internal unity and the expansion of her liturgy, centered on the Sacrifice of the Mass and on the Sacraments, increased too by that leaven of the Christian spirit which more and more, as time passes, has come to enter into all forms and conditions of life.

And now that her mission as Universal Mother of believers has attained maturity, in face of vaster needs and duties she could not without being untrue to herself retrace her steps and take on the forms of life and activity of these earlier days. The cenacle has become a temple greater than that of Solomon. "The little flock" (Luke, 12:32), now multifold, has crossed rivers and mountains and goes in search of pastures through the world. The grain of mustard seed, as Our Lord promised and willed, has become a great tree in whose shade the peoples rest.

Cannot Go Backward

No there cannot be for the Church, whose steps God directs and accompanies through the ages, there cannot be for the human soul who studies history in the spirit of Christany going back, but only desire to go forward towards the future and to mount upwards.

In a sense, however, the return of the Church to her beginnings is in our own days a stern but inspiring reality. As at the outset and more than in many other ages, the divine Foundation of Christ, though never wavering before enemies, is struggling in more than one place today for its existence. Combative atheism, systematic anti-Christianity, cold indifference make war on it, making use of conceptions and thoughts which have nothing in common with the friendly usages of polite controversy but frequently descending to the crudity of violence.

Today again, as of old in some countries, those in authority, forgetful of moral ties and bent on replacing right by force, trump up against Christians the same infringements of the law which the Caesars of the first centuries pretended to have found in Peter and Paul, in Sixtus and Laurence, in Cecilia, Agnes, Perpetua and the countless line of these innocent victims who now are refulgent with the halo of martyrs—here below, in the sight of the Church, and in Heaven, in the presence of the Lamb. And the crime which is cast up against Christians is always the same, their unfaltering loyalty to the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords.

Nor is there any other explanation why today too practical faith in the Son of God, submission to His law, spiritual union with His Church, and loyalty to His representatives on earth have meant in some places a continual succession of mistrust and abuse, of degradations and disabilities, of personal and social discredit, of shortened means and hard circumstances, of poverty and sufferings, of misery and handicaps and injury, corporal as well as spiritual.

In such an atmosphere of terror and danger what remains, beloved sons, in our time but the imperative need to refashion ourselves on the model of the early Church and on the magnificent example given by those Christians, on their burning faith, on their dauntless spirit, on their conscious assurance of victory; to drink in as from a pure spring of courage and salvation, a new strength, a new drive, a new constancy as we reflect that all that they believed in, hoped for, loved, prayed for, worked for, suffered for and gloriously won is also our life, our glory and the incorruptible treasure of the Church.

Horizon of New Triumphs

May the sight of the victories won by the early Church strengthen and sublimate your hope and, in the midst of the present storm, open up a horizon of new triumphs. Sooner or later the passing sequence of raging upheavals, will serve only to put into clearer light the consoling truth of these words of the beloved Disciple: "This is the victory which overcometh the world, our faith." (I John, 5:4). If the seal of blood which beautified the Church's youth through the centuries of trial, suffering and sacrifice appear to us now as the brightest stone in her triumphal diadem, so, too, for Christendom of today, the greatness of her future victory, won in the fire of terrible tribulation, will correspond to the generosity of her sacrifice.

The stout, determined will of those heroes who went before us with the standard of faith could not be broken by Nero's or Diocletian's fury, or the insidious cunning of a Julian the Apostate. Calm and ready without counting the cost, in the face of every kind of torture and martyrdom they did not tremble or waver before outrage piled on outrage, blow on blow, before the violence or snares of the enemies of Christ. A Christianity that has ever before its eyes the heroism of the first centuries can never fail to be true to the spirit of those words written by Peter whilepersecution raged, "but if also you suffer anything for justice sake, blessed are ye." (I Pet. 3, 14.) It will show itself worthy of the inheritance of its forefathers and, deeply conscious of its exalted mission, will secure in the hour prepared by God—through suffering indeed, but glorious suffering— a peace which will make it exclaim with the Apostle of the Gentiles, "thanks be to God Who hath given us the victory." (I Cor. 15, 57.)

But whence did the courageous faith of the first Christians derive its life and its enthusiasm? From the Eucharistic union with Christ, Who is the Inspiration of moral conduct that is pure and pleasing to God at the table of the Bread of the strong. They felt enkindled in their hearts a zeal which gave and increased energy and peace. They felt themselves brothers and sisters of Christ. Nourished by the same Food and the same Drink, united in fraternal union by one same love, one same unfailing hope, welded together by a mystic bond that makes of thousands of hearts and thousands of souls one great family, with but one heart and one soul, on the altar under the veil of bread and wine, there was present to them the God of their souls and of victories, Who would raise aloft His standards in the place of the Roman Eagles for the conquest of the world—a world of which Rome would be the center not through her force, but through her faith.

The thought of the Eucharist is the Center of the Faith, now as in the first centuries. Its increase in the Church and its spiritual vivifying radiation through mankind—tortured by egoism, envy, hate, contradictions, departures from the dogma of the Cenacle—must become more vital and more effective in bringing men to the divine agape where the coldness of their hearts may be dispelled and those hearts be touched by the fire that will warm them in anticipation of springtime harmony of united minds and brotherly cooperation which draws all together in unison and peace around the God of the Tabernacle, in the sanctifying Sign of the Eucharist.

The Church today, with joy and affection, clasps the hand of the Primitive Church. Across the centuries, the goodness and winsomeness of Christ living among us never fail. And if He has opened up the fountains of the beneficent, generous Eucharistic stream through the inspired action of the great Pope Pius X in the same measure in which they flowed in the early centuries, it was because he took cognizance of the fact that the times in which we live demand from us no less staunch faith, no less pure morality, no less ardent charity, and a readiness to sacrifice not unlike that which made the early age of the Church great and wonderful.

Tragic Consequences

Not less wonderful or great was the enthusiasm of the young spouse of Christ for the preservation, order and consolidation of unbreakable unity to join faithful and hierarchy today, when the separation of so many brethren from the See of Peter has reached such tragic consequences, harming all Christendom and weakening the efficacy of their activity in the world. Whilst the vital union between pastor and flock in the Catholic world extends and renders ever more evident its beneficent effects, the prayer that all may be one rises with ever more vehemency from the hearts of those who believe in Christ, and many others, who, though living outside the visible Church, in all sincerity and eagerness join in that prayer because they feel that in a world hostile to Christ the very existence of Christianity is at stake.

From where could that prayer for unity of all believers be raised with more deepfelt love to Him Who first addressed it to His Father and Who enlightens the minds and moves the hearts of men, than from this holy hill on whichin this hour the minds of the world's Catholics are turned as they listen to Us, their attention fixed on the Chair of Peter and the principal church from which the unity of the priesthood took its rise (Cyprian, Epist. 59; Cornelium, Rom. 14:2). This is the rock of truth and salvation whose lofty and vast aspirations no one understood more thoroughly or described with greater eloquence than Leo the Great, Pope and Doctor of the Church in those memorable words, "Blessed Peter, Prince of the Apostolic order, is assigned to the stronghold of the Roman Empire, so that the light of truth which was revealed for the salvation of all men might course more efficaciously from the head itself through the whole body of the world."

When we think back to the early Church, only and spotless mother of all churches, where better, we ask, might the prayer "that they may be one" re-echo in more ringing tones than from this rock beside the Tiber on which heaven's favor has shone more brightly and generously, once Providence had selected it to be the Episcopal See of the first Peter and the spiritual bastion of Christianity—on that riverbank whose annals, in one of their brightest pages, recount the glorious martyrdom of the Prince of the Apostles and the high privilege of having given to his mortal remains their last resting place.

On this day, from this holy place, spiritual center of the Christian world—yes in these our days, when the Spouse of Christ must in various parts endure stubborn conflicts and her faithful sons must support many inconveniences for their open profession of Christianity and their loyalty to the Church—it is for Us, beloved children, a very special and unwonted pleasure to be able to announce to you and to let you hear that deep appealing cry which, from out the shadows that surround the tomb of Peter, breaks as an appeal from Christianity of the past to Christianity of the present and joins its renascent, persuasive force to Our voice in provident harmony.

Vatican Catacombs

Vatican soil, We may say too, has its catacombs. The excavations begun and carried on at Our request in the subsoil of the Vatican Basilica, of which We gave some account over a year ago on the occasion of the inauguration of the tomb of Our memorable Predecessor, have not yet been completed. But they do not fail to cast new and abundant light on those early times in which the Gospel of the Cross began to resound and to be firmly established with all its sublime attraction on Roman soil and the young Church set itself to ascend the thorny and bloody path of that centuries-long Via Dolorosa which was to bring it, under Constantine, to peaceful triumph.

The works completed during last year had already revealed beneath the great nave of the Basilica on a straight line leading to the confessional, with a certainty never before reached, the existence of a large pagan cemetery, the characteristic monuments of which, from the first century on, had arisen within the space of an "area perpetua sepulturae tradita" already in use. This pre-Christian necropolis furnished the clearest proof of the accuracy of the Roman tradition which had always sought the tomb of the Prince of the Apostles beneath the surface of just such a pagan cemetery.

As the works progressed there appeared the lines of the foundations of Constantine's Basilica in ever greater precision, and little by little were revealed the exceptional technical and physiological difficulties which the Emperor's architect had to overcome in the planning and execution of his grandiose designs. Any one who goes down into these excavations and sets himself to contemplate and measure theenormous difficulties of the rough uneven Vatican soil that were overcome in laying the foundations and levelling out a cemetery site with its countless monuments, venerable and dear even to pagan Rome and to many families, finds in those magnificent remains which are now unveiled to us the most convincing proof that the Emperor could not and must not be following reasons of convenience in choosing a site for his Basilica, but that the site was imposed upon him by the fact that here was placed the tomb of the Apostle.

With the guidance of such criteria and the aid of a comparative study of the relevant sources, it was not difficult to unearth the ancient semi-circular confessional going back perhaps to the time of Gregory the Great, on the marble walls of which, from the beginning of the Middle Ages, countless pilgrims cut the Sign of the Cross as a memorial of their visit.

Coins of Pilgrims

Between last September and today over 1,500 coins, ancient and mediaeval, have been found. These show that those pious pilgrims came in great numbers not only from Rome and Italy but, one may say, from every part of the then known world. France, especially, was represented by the coins of its Archbishops, Bishops and Abbots, its Kings, Dukes, Counts, Viscounts and Lords; then Germany, the Low Countries, Switzerland, Spain, England, Bohemia, Livonia, Hungary, Slavonia and the Latin East.

But in the central section, where one above the other there arise three altars of different periods, the tireless zeal of the investigators has found a monument simple in form but which long before the time of Constantine the devotion of the faithful had endowed with the character of a venerable place of cult. This is shown by the graffiti which are to be seen within the monument on one wall, showing the same form as those which indicate the tombs of the martyrs in the Christian cemeteries. These graffiti, which bring us back to the days of persecution, provide us historical certainty that we have here that trophaeum spoken of by the priest, Caius, about A.D. 200 in jubilant terms, and reported by Eusebius: "I can show you the monuments of the Apostles," words which now make us see Caius once again amid the mystic shadows of the Vatican grottoes. Eusebius himself recalls the monuments adorned by the names of Peter and Paul which even now are seen in the cemeteries of Rome. Add to this the spirited query addressed by the Doctor of the Church, St. Jerome, to the priest, Vigilantius: "Does the Bishop of Rome, then do ill when he offers Sacrifice over what we call the venerable remains but what you call the worthless dust of the dead men, Peter and Paul, and treats their tombs as altars?"

Thus you will see how these and other testimonies get fresh light and force from the discoveries and the findings already completed. They all agree and fit in harmoniously with the language of the monuments found in which stones speak. And from this harmony does there not break forth the cry of certainty and imperishable assurance of the early Church, which grew up in suffering and hardship? It is the cry which is directed as an exhortation to faith in and hope of victory towards those who in our own day, turbulent, but forerunners of great decisive events, are to preserve and give back to a wandering mankind, thirsting for peace, the blessings of our Redeemer, and to set up to the Cross of Christ within the stronghold of this mankind the altar which belongs to it and to it alone.

The divine mission of the Church, established immovably on the Rock of Peter, has no limits of space on earth and has no limit in its activity but the time limit of mankind; but, like every age that passes, the present moment presentsto her and imposes on her new enterprises, duties, cares. The cries for help which each day brings to us would tell us, if we did not already know it, what the present moment in its onward rush asks and demands from the Church, namely, to use her authority to secure that the present terrible conflict may cease and the flood of tears and blood may issue forth into an equitable and lasting peace for all.

Labors for Peace

Our conscience is Our witness that from the moment when the hidden designs of God entrusted to our feeble strength the weight, now so heavy, of the Supreme Pontificate We have labored both before the outbreak of war and during its course for peace, with all Our mind and strength and within the ambit of Our apostolic ministry. But now when the nations are living in the painful suspense of waiting for new engagements to begin, We take the opportunity offered by this occasion to speak once again a word of peace; and We speak that word in the full consciousness of our absolute impartiality towards all the belligerents and with equal affection for all peoples without exception.

We know well how in the present state of affairs the formulation of specific proposals of a just and equitable peace would not have any well-founded probability of success— indeed every time that one speaks a word of peace one runs he risk of offending the one or other side. In fact, while one side bases its security on the results obtained, the other rests its hopes on future battles. If, however, the present lining up of forces, of gains and losses in the political and military sphere, does not show any immediate practical possibility of peace, the destruction wrought by the war among the nations in the material and spiritual plane is all the time accumulating to such an extent that it calls for every effort to prevent its increase by bringing the conflict to a speedy end.

Even prescinding from arbitrary acts of violence and cruelty—against which, on former occasions We raised Our voice in warning; and We repeat that warning now with insistent supplication—even in the face of threats of still more deadly warfare, the war of itself, through the perfect technical quality of its weapons, causes unheard of pain, misery and suffering to the nations. Our thoughts are with the courageous combatants, with the multitudes that are living in the zones of operations in occupied countries or within their own countries.

We think—how could We not think—of the dead, of the millions of prisoners, of the mothers, wives, sons who for all their love of their country are prey to mortal anguish. We think of the separation of married people, of the breakdown of family life, of famine and economic penury. Does not each of these names of evil and ruin connote a numberless group of heartening cases in which is epitomized and condensed the most lamentable, bitter, excruciating phenomenon ever turned loose on humanity and make Us fearful of a near future full of terrible unknown economic and social hardships?

Decades of Study

For whole decades a gigantic amount of study and the flower of intellect and good will had been devoted to realizing a solution of the social question and now after all this the peoples must behold how the public moneys, whose wise administration for the public good was one of the cardinal points in that solution, are being spent in hundreds of billions for the destruction of goods and life.

But from the want and sufferings of homes to which We have referred—and which now extend to the whole world—there arises behind the war front another huge front, the front of families injured and in anguish. Before the war some peoples now in arms could not even balance their deaths with their births; and now the war, so far from remedying this, threatens to send the new additions to the family to physical, economic and moral ruin.

We should like, then to address a fatherly word of warning to the rulers of nations. The family is sacred; it is the cradle not only of children but also of the nation—of its force and its glory. Do not let the family be alienated or diverted from the high purpose assigned to it by God. God wills that husband and wife, in loyal fulfillment of their duties to one another and to the family, should in the home transmit to the next generation the torch of corporal life and with it spiritual and moral life. Christian life; that within the family, under the care of their parents, there should grow up men of straight character, of upright behavior, to become valuable unspoiled members of the human race, manly in good or bad fortune, obedient to those who command them and to God. That is the will of the Creator.

Do not let the family home, and with it the school, become merely an anteroom to the battlefield. Do not let the husband and wife become separated from one another in a permanent manner. Do not let the children be separated from the watchful care of their parents over their bodies and souls. Do not let the earnings and the savings of the family become void of all fruit.

The cry that reaches Us from the family front is unanimous: "Give us back our peace-time occupations." If one has the future of mankind at heart, if your conscience before God ascribes some import to what the names father and mother mean to men and to what makes for the real happiness of your children, send back the family to its peacetime occupation.

As patron of this family front—from which may God keep far all open ways of unfortunate and disastrous upheaval—We make a warm, fatherly appeal to statesmen that they may not let any occasion pass, that may open up to the nations the road to an honest peace of justice and moderation, to a peace arising from a free and fruitful agreement, even if it should not correspond in all points to their aspirations.

Prospect of New Horizon

The world-wide family front which has at the war front so many hearts of fathers, husbands and children who, amid the dangers and sufferings, hopes and desires, are beating with the double love of country and of home, will become tranquil in the prospect of a new horizon. The gratitude of mankind and the consent of their own nation will not be wanting to those generous leaders who, inspired not by weakness but by a sense of responsibility, shall choose the road of moderation and the field of wisdom when they meet the other side, also guided by the same sentiments. Inspired as We are with this confidence, there remains only for Us, dear children, to lift up to the Father of Mercies and of the Light of Wisdom Our fervent prayers that He may hasten the drawing of that so much desired day. "Ask and you shall receive" was the advice of our Divine Redeemer, Prince of Peace, Who, meek and humble of heart, calls us to give us rest from our labors and burdens.

Let us rekindle in ourselves the spirit of love; let us hold ourselves ever ready to collaborate with our faith and our hands, after the most extensive, disastrous and bloody cataclysm of all history, to reconstruct from the pile of material and moral ruins a world which the bonds of brotherly love will weld in peace, a world in which, with the help of the Almighty, all may be new hearts, words and works.