Pope laments that lessons of WWII are being forgotten

‘Men have a short memory,’ pontiff says in letter ahead of D-Day commemorations, regretting that new international war is being ‘seriously considered’ by some

Pope Francis waves from the popemobile as he arrives for the weekly general audience on June 5, 2024 at St. Peter's Square in The Vatican. (Filippo MONTEFORTE / AFP)
Pope Francis waves from the popemobile as he arrives for the weekly general audience on June 5, 2024 at St. Peter's Square in The Vatican. (Filippo MONTEFORTE / AFP)

VATICAN CITY, Holy See — Pope Francis expressed regret Wednesday that the lessons of World War II had not been learned, warning against the threat of a new widespread conflict ahead of the 80th anniversary of the D-Day landings.

“Men have a short memory,” the pope wrote in a letter to the bishop of Bayeux, northern France, near where the landings took place.

For decades, he said, “the memory of the errors of the past” had helped maintain the resolve to “do everything possible to avoid another open world conflict.”

But, he added: “I note with sadness that this is no longer the case today and that men have a short memory.

“It is worrying… that the hypothesis of a generalized conflict is sometimes once again being seriously considered — that people are little by little getting used to this unacceptable possibility.”

Pope Francis has regularly denounced the consequences of what he refers to as a “piecemeal Third World War.”

France will on Thursday host international leaders at ceremonies to mark the 80th anniversary of the D-Day landings on June 6, 1944, in northern France.

This picture shows illuminated graves at the Bayeux War Cemetery, in Bayeux, Northwestern France on June 5, 2024, as part of the “D-Day” commemorations marking the 80th anniversary of the World War II Allied landings in Normandy. (Photo by LOIC VENANCE / AFP)

French President Emmanuel Macron will host US President Joe Biden, King Charles III and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky will join the Western leaders in Normandy, northern France, at a ceremony to which no Russian officials have been invited because of Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.

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