At the outbreak of hostilities the Imperial Government, through the mouth of the Chancellor and of the Secretary for Foreign Affairs, did not search for vain pretexts for the aggression of which Belgium has been the victim. They justified it on the plea of military interests. Since then, in face of the universal reprobation which this odious action has excited, they have attempted to deceive public opinion by representing Belgium as bound already before the war to the Triple Entente. These intrigues will deceive nobody. They will recoil on the head of Germany. History will record that this power, after binding itself by treaty to defend the neutrality of Belgium, took the initiative in violating it, without even finding a pretext with which to justify itself.
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ATROCITIES OF THE WAR
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[Illustration: HIS HOLINESS THE LATE POPE PIUS X. (From a Painting by A. Muller-Ury.)]
By Pope Pius X., Kaiser Wilhelm II., President Poincare, and King Albert of Belgium.
Official Message from Pope Pius X. at the Vatican, Aug. 2.
At this moment, when nearly the whole of Europe is being dragged into the vortex of a most terrible war, with its present dangers and miseries and the consequences to follow, the very thought of which must strike every one with grief and horror, we whose care is the life and welfare of so many citizens and peoples cannot but be deeply moved and our heart wrung with the bitterest sorrow.
And in the midst of this universal confusion and peril we feel and know that both Fatherly love and the Apostolic ministry demand of us that we should with all earnestness turn the thoughts of Christendom thither “whence cometh help”—to Christ, the Prince of Peace, and the most powerful mediator between God and man.
We charge, therefore, the Catholics of the whole world to approach the throne of Grace and Mercy, each and all of them, and more especially the clergy, whose duty furthermore it will be to make in every parish, as their Bishops shall direct, public supplication so that the merciful God may, as it were, be wearied with the prayers of His children and speedily remove the evil causes of war, giving to them who rule to think the thoughts of peace and not of affliction.
From the palace of the Vatican, the second day of August, 1914.
PIUS X. Pontifex Maximus.
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Pronounced by Pius X. at the Vatican, Aug. 20.