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Catholic World News

70th anniversary of bombing of Rome

July 19, 2013

On July 19, 1943, Allied forces bombed Axis-controlled Rome, resulting in 1,800 deaths.

Seven decades later, L’Osservatore Romano recalled Venerable Pius XII’s reaction: as he visited the Basilica of Saint Lawrence outside the Walls, “Pius XII was visibly moved and opened his arms as if to pull everyone closer to him and not let them go.”

Following a subsequent bombing, the Pontiff made his way into the city and knelt in the rubble, “inviting everyone to the Christian prayer for the victims.”

“The bombs also caused incalculable damage to the historical-religious patrimony of the city, especially damaging the cemetery of Verano (even striking the tomb of Pope Pacelli's family) and the Basilica of San Lorenzo,” the newspaper added.


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