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Pope Francis recalls destruction, rebuilding of Monte Cassino

March 21, 2014

On March 21, the anniversary of St. Benedict’s death, the monks of the Abbey of Monte Cassino are recalling the 70th anniversary of its destruction by Allied forces during World War II. The abbey was rebuilt after the war and reconsecrated by Venerable Paul VI in 1964.

“O how sad that the most cruel struggles of war did not spare this place, so beautiful and quiet,” Pope Francis said in his Latin-language letter for the occasion. “With peace restored by God’s favor, the laborious work of rebuilding was begun, with the contributions of so many people.”

Pope Francis called upon Cardinal Ennio Antonelli, his special envoy for the occasion, to “commend all living and deceased monks and all the benefactors of the abbey, and also the soldiers who died there, in prayers to the merciful God,” as well as to “invite those who have gathered to observe fidelity to God’s commandments and also the ancient Christian and [Benedictine] religious tradition.”


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