Pope hails British fight against Nazis' 'evil ideology'

19th September 2010, Comments 0 comments

Pope Benedict XVI paid tribute Sunday to Britain's "courageous" fight against the "evil ideology" of the Nazi regime, in the final mass of his state visit.

The German-born pope said: "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."

Speaking in the city of Birmingham in central England, the pope said his thoughts in particular went to the nearby city of Coventry, "which suffered such heavy bombardment and massive loss of life in November 1940".

"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.

On the first day of his four-day visit, the 83-year-old pope praised Britain's courage in standing up to Nazi "tyranny" in a speech in Edinburgh.

The head of the Roman Catholic Church has admitted that growing up in Bavaria, southern Germany, he was an involuntary member of the Hitler Youth movement during World War II.

The mass in Birmingham to beatify 19th century cardinal John Henry Newman is the climax of the visit before the pope returns to Rome later Sunday.

© 2010 AFP

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