Bayeux, France, Jun 6, 2019 / 13:27 pm
Marking Thursday's 75th anniversary of the Normandy landings during World War II, bishops from across the world said the operations recall the need for peace and the duty of gratitude to veterans.
Some 156,000 Allied forces landed on five beaches of Normandy June 6, 1944 to liberate the European continent from Nazi German occupation. About 4,400 Allied servicemen died that day, and there were between 4,000 and 9,000 German casualties.
Within a year of D-Day, Nazi Germany had been defeated.
Cardinal Marc Ouellet, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, gave an address June 5 at the Abbey of Saint-Étienne in Caen, not far from the landing sites.
“Seventy-five years after the end of the Second World War, the memory of the victims of this massacre imposes on us a homage of respect and a duty to prevent conflicts by all means,” he said.
“Believing in peace” implies “an increased rational commitment to transform the world according to the imperative of unconditional respect for the dignity of the human person, unfortunately undermined by ideological colonization hostile to the sanctity of human life,” he said.
“In this difficult context, believing in peace also means relying on the efficiency of prayer for peace, since the Spirit of God directs human history towards its transcendent accomplishment with the imperfect but voluntary support of human freedoms.”
Cardinal Ouellet lamented the terrible cost of the World Wars: “The bitter feeling of the monstrous cost of these conflicts remains a heavy legacy that does not erase what has been achieved in the positive and generous achievements in European reconstruction. That is why remembering the end of the last great conflict is a duty of respect for the too many victims of these tragedies and a permanent requirement for reflection and commitment to prevent such disasters from happening again in the future.”