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Home > Catholic Library > Church Documents > Datis Nuperrime (1956)

Datis Nuperrime

His Holiness Pope Pius XII
Encyclical on the Ruthless Use of Force in Hungary
November 5, 1956

To the Venerable Brethren, the Patriarchs, Primates, Archbishops, Bishops, and other Local Ordinaries in Peace and Communion with the Apostolic See.

Venerable Brethren, Greetings and Apostolic Benediction.

In the encyclical letter which We recently wrote you, Consecrated Shepherds of the Catholic world, We expressed Our hope that a new day of peace based on justice and liberty might be dawning upon the noble people of Hungary. For conditions in that country seemed to be improving.

2. But tidings have reached Us lately which fill Our heart with pain and sorrow. There is being shed again in the cities, towns, and villages of Hungary the blood of citizens who long with all their hearts for their rightful freedom. National institutions which had just been restored have been overthrown again and violently destroyed. A blood-drenched people have been reduced once more to slavery by the armed might of foreigners.

3. We cannot help but deplore and condemn (for so Our consciousness of Our office bids Us) these unhappy events which fill all Catholics and all free peoples with deepest sorrow and indignation. May those whose commands have caused these tragic events come to realize that the rightful freedom of a people cannot be extinguished by the shedding of human blood.

4. We who watch over all peoples with a father's concern assert that any violence and any bloodshed which anyone unjustly causes is never to be tolerated. On the contrary, We exhort all people and all classes of society to that peace which finds its basis and nurture in justice, liberty, and love.

5. The words which "the Lord said to Cain. . . 'The voice of thy brother's blood crieth to me from the earth'," (Gen. 4, 10) are relevant today. For so the blood of the Hungarian people cries out to God. And even though God often punishes private individuals for their sins only after death, nonetheless, as history teaches, He occasionally punishes in this mortal life rulers of people and their nations when they have dealt unjustly with others. For He is a just judge.

6. May our merciful Redeemer, We suppliantly pray, move the hearts of those upon whose decisions these matters depend, that an end may be put to injustice and a finish to violence, that all nations, being at peace with one another, may be united in peaceful and tranquil harmony.

7. Meanwhile, We implore a most merciful God on behalf especially of all those who have been tragically slain in the course of these unhappy events. May they find eternal life and unending peace in heaven. We desire that all Christians join Us in praying to God for them.

8. And as We address these words to you, We lovingly impart Our Apostolic Benediction to each and every one of you, Venerable Brethren, and to your flocks, and in a very special way to Our beloved Hungarian people. May it be a pledge of heavenly graces and a witness to Our paternal love.

Given at Rome from St. Peter's, on the fifth day of November, in the year 1956, the 18th of Our Pontificate.

Copyright © 2007 by Kevin Knight (EMAIL). Dedicated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.