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World War 1 under the spotlight at Vatican Conference

World War 1 under the spotlight at Vatican Conference

(Vatican Radio) An International Congress entitled “Useless Slaughter: Catholics and the Holy See in the First World War” is currently underway here at the Vatican. The event organised by the Pontifical Council for Historical Sciences in collaboration with the Hungarian Academy in Rome and the Commission International d’Histoire et Etudes du Christianisme, aims to take a fresh look at the War through the eyes of Catholic and other Christian groups and the Holy See.

Listen to Lydia O’Kane’s interview with Professor Keith Robbins

The gathering, one hundred year after the outbreak of the Great War, brings together numerous experts in the field including Professor Keith Robbins, who gave a paper Thursday on British Christians during the First World War.

“What I think emerged in the course of the war from the Chaplains particularly, who had contact with the men was how, on the one hand they had a general Christian belief, but when it came to doctrinal matters as the Chaplains saw it many were very vague and indeed indifferent as to what these great deficiencies were supposed to be. So, in a way the war was a kind of still Christian society still at war, on the other hand it brought home I think to the leaders of all Churches just how great a gap there was between on the one hand pretensions and professions of Christianity and what men actually did or did not believe at the front,” he said.

Professor Robbins added that through archive material much has been discovered about the feelings British soldiers had about the war and how their faith was tested during the conflict.

The congresss run until October 17th

(from Vatican Radio)