BENEDICT XVI: THE "GENEROUS GESTURE" OF PIUS XII IN ST LAWRENCE

"The generous gesture made by my venerable predecessor on that occasion can never be erased from the memory of history. In the middle of the still smouldering rubble, he immediately came to help and console the hard hit population." With these words, Benedict XVI recalled the 50th anniversary of the death of Pius XII. During the Mass celebrated in the Basilica of St Lawrence Outside-the-Walls, the Pope recalled "a particularly dramatic event in your basilica’s many centuries of history, an event which occurred during the Second World War, precisely on 19 July 1943, when a heavy air raid inflicted severe damage to the building and the neighbourhood, sowing death and destruction." Benedict XVI then recalled that in the same Basilica "lay the urns of two important figures. In the basilica’s underground vault, we find the mortal remains of the Blessed Pius IX. In the atrium we can see the tomb of Alcide De Gasperi, who was Italy’s wise and balanced leader in the difficult years of post-war reconstruction but also an eminent statesman capable of looking at Europe with a broad Christian vision." Focusing on Advent, he explained that "be watchful means to follow the Lord" which "entails our being always in the Lord’s love, without being discouraged by inevitable difficulties and everyday problems." ” ” ” ” ” ” ” “

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