Vatican City, 10 October 2014 (VIS) – A press conference was held yesterday at 11 a.m. in the Holy Press Office to present the International Congress “Useless Slaughter: Catholics and the Holy See in the First World War”, organised by the Pontifical Council for Historical Sciences. The speakers were Fr. Bernard Ardura, O. Praem., president of the Pontifical Council for Historical Sciences and Professor Roberto Morozzo della Rocca of the “Roma Tre” University.
“The initiative of the Pontifical Committee of Historical Sciences aims to bring together numerous specialists in the field, with the intention of offering a reinterpretation of the conflict not only seen but also experienced by believers, mostly Catholics but also Protestants and Orthodox – and more specifically for the Holy See that, at the time again without territory of its own, and therefore within the territory of Italy, involved in the conflict, sought as far as possible to safeguard its specific nature”.
The theme of the congress, “Useless Slaughter”, are two words that express the drama of the First World War. One hundred years after the outbreak of the first world war, the Pontifical Committee for Historical Sciences, in collaboration with the Hungarian Academy in Rome and the Commission International d'Histoire et Etudes du Christianisme, have offered the opportunity to review the historiography with particular attention to the commitment of Catholics and the Holy See in the conflict.
Fr. Bernard Ardura explained that although the central theme of the meeting was Catholics and the Holy See in the First World War, the congress also includes interventions from various historians regarding States with predominantly Protestant or Orthodox citizens. It is hoped, he affirmed, that a second Congress will be held in 2018 on the consequences of the Treaty of Versailles which were, at least in part, at the origin of the Second World War and whose repercussions can still be felt at the dawn of the 21st century.