Pope Francis praised Allied troops who took part in critical D-Day landings in France 75 years ago, while also remembering German soldiers who died fighting under Nazi orders.
“We know the landings on 6th June 1944, here in Normandy were decisive in the struggle against Nazi barbarism, allowing a path to open towards ending a war which had so profoundly battered Europe and the world,” Pope Francis said in a message to Bishop Jean-Claude Boulanger of Bayeux, France.
“I recall with recognition all those soldiers from France and other countries who had the courage to engage and give their lives for freedom and peace,” he said in the message posted on the diocesan website on 6th June. “I entrust them to the Lord’s infinitely merciful love, along with this war’s millions of victims, without forgetting those on the German side who fought in obedience to a regime animated by a murderous ideology.”
The pope expressed “spiritual closeness and prayer” to representatives of various faiths jointly commemorating D-Day, which marked a key stage in Europe’s World War II liberation.
“I hope this commemoration allows all generations in Europe and around the world to reaffirm forcefully that peace is based on respect for every person, whatever their history, and on respect for law, the common good and creation,” Pope Francis said.
Picture: Pegasus Bridge in Normandy, France during commemorations for the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings. (Owen Humphreys/PA).