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Pope prays at Nazi massacre site

March 28, 2011

On March 27, Pope Benedict XVI visited the “Fosse Ardeatine,” a cite on the outskirts of Rome that marks a 1944 Nazi massacre.

The Pope was accompanied by Rabbi Ricardo Di Segni, the head of Rome’s Jewish community, as he laid a bouquet and prayed the Psalms at the spot where 335 people were summarily executed, in a Nazi reprisal for a partisan bombing that had killed 33 Germans. Cardinal Andrea Cordero Lanza di Montezemolo, whose father was one of the massacre victims, also participated in the ceremony.

The mass executions were “a grave offense to God,” Pope Benedict said. He went on to say that only God’s mercy can “fill the void—the abysses opened by men when, impelled by blind violence, they renounce their dignity as children of God and brothers of one another.”


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