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“The use of a great part of the internal energy of the nucleus of uranium (…) has become a reality and has had its application in the making of the ‘atom bomb’ or ‘nuclear energy bomb’, the most terrible weapon which the human mind has conceived up to date.

In this state of affairs we cannot refrain from expressing a thought which constantly weighs upon our soul, as well as upon that of all who have a true sense of humanity; and in this connection we recall the words of St. Augustine in his treatise De Civitate Dei, where he talks about the horrors of war, even of a just war: ‘Of which evils’ – he writes – ‘if I were to narrate, as it should be, the many and manifold devastations, the harsh and cruel sufferings, although it would be impossible to do justice to the subject, when would we reach the end of the long dispute? Whoever considers with sorrow these horrible and fatal evils must confess their misery; but whoever endures them and thinks of them without anguish in his soul, much more miserably believes himself to be happy, because he has also lost human feeling’. But if the wars of that period already justify such a severe judgment of the Great Doctor, with what words should we judge at present those which struck our generations and bent to the service of their work of destruction and extermination a technology incomparably more advanced? What misfortunes should humanity expect from a future conflict, if it should prove impossible to arrest or curb the use of ever newer and ever more surprising scientific inventions?”

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Venerable Pope Pius XII

Address to the Pontifical Academy of Science

Feb 8th, 1948

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