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Pope Francis: History is life's teacher

(Vatican Radio) Receiving members of the Pontifical Committee for Historical Sciences Saturday, Pope Francis reflected on history as a life’s teacher and historians as people who can help us discern what the Holy Spirit wants to say to the Church today. He also commended their initiatives to mark the centenary of the outbreak of the Great War. Emer McCarthy reports:

Speaking to participants in the Committee’s Plenary Assembly he noted: “In your studies and in your teaching, you are particularly faced with the vicissitudes of the Churches’ journeys through time, with its glorious history of evangelization, of hopes and daily struggles, of lives spent in service and fidelity to work, (cf. Evangelii gaudium , 96) , as well as infidelity, of denials, of sins. Your research, marked by both a genuine passion for the Church and sincere love for the truth , can be of great help to those who have the task of discerning what the Holy Spirit wants to say to the Church today”.

He noted: “In your encounter and collaboration with researchers of every culture and religion, you can offer a specific contribution to the dialogue between the Church and the modern world”.

Among the committee’s planned events, the Holy Father pointed to an International Conference marking the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War. “It pays special attention to the Holy See’s diplomatic efforts during the tragic conflict and the contribution made ​​by Catholics and other Christians to rescue the wounded, refugees, orphans and widows, to search for the missing, as well as in the reconstruction of a world torn apart by what Benedict XV called "useless slaughter"” when he quoted from Pope Pius XIIth's appeal for peace just before the beginning of World War II.

Pope Francis said his predecessor’s heartfelt appeal resonated today still, as timely as ever: " Nothing is lost by peace; everything may be lost by war." (Letter to the rulers of the belligerent powers, August 1, 1917) . When we listen again to those prophetic words, really, we realize that history is "magistra vitae".