Fratelli Tutti 248: Atrocities, Large Scale

The experience of the atomic end of WW2 is certainly with Jesuits, as this testimony shows. Father Arrupe described 6 August 1945 an experience outside of history, and one for his memory. I wonder how much this memory of his superior general has formed Pope Francis.

248. Nor must we forget the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Once again, “I pay homage to all the victims, and I bow before the strength and dignity of those who, having survived those first moments, for years afterward bore in the flesh immense suffering, and in their spirit seeds of death that drained their vital energy… We cannot allow present and future generations to lose the memory of what happened. It is a memory that ensures and encourages the building of a more fair and fraternal future”. [Address at the Peace Memorial, Hiroshima, Japan(24 November 2019): L’Osservatore Romano, 25-26 November 2019, p. 8]

As tragic and unspeakably shocking as the atomic bombing was, other callous mass murders have plagued us with victims in the tens of millions over time:

Neither must we forget the persecutions, the slave trade and the ethnic killings that continue in various countries, as well as the many other historical events that make us ashamed of our humanity. They need to be remembered, always and ever anew. We must never grow accustomed or inured to them.

I think one measure of respect for memory is to take special care with one’s comparisons. Atomic bombs, the Shoah, the slave trade, twentieth century purges in Russia and China. These do not compare to the trifling annoyances privileged white people experience in places like the US. Making ties with TLM restrictions, wearing masks, and being censored on social media is a disrespect that borders on blasphemy. Feel strong feelings, certainly: any human being is entitled. Soiling serious memories of real persecutions, deaths, genocides? These are expressions of ignorance, forgetfulness, a lack of curiosity, and a lack of any sensitivity for others.

All citations of Fratelli Tutti (which can be found on this link) are © Copyright – Libreria Editrice Vaticana.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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