The Pope told a Mass attended by more than 50,000 in England on Sunday that the world felt “shame and horror” at suffering inflicted by his German homeland in World War Two and recalled a key air battle that saved Britain from invasion.
On Sunday Britain commemorated the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Britain, the summer and autumn air conflict which prevented Hitler’s planned invasion of Britain.
“For me as one who lived and suffered through the dark days of the Nazi regime in Germany, it is deeply moving to be here with you on this occasion, and to recall how many of your fellow citizens sacrificed their lives, courageously resisting the forces of that evil ideology,” he said.
“Seventy years later, we recall with shame and horror the dreadful toll of death and destruction that war brings in its wake, and we renew our resolve to work for peace and reconciliation wherever the threat of conflict looms,” he said.
During the early 1940s, the former Joseph Ratzinger was briefly a member of the Hitler Youth when membership was compulsory. During the war, he was assigned to an anti-aircraft battery in Bavaria and then sent to Austria.
After returning to Bavaria, he deserted. At the end of World War Two, he was a U.S. prisoner of war. The pope has said that as devout Catholics, his parents rejected Nazi ideology.
(Source: Montreal Gazette)