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29 Moreover, bishops have a very heavy burden in consequence of the difficulties of the times; and heavier still is their anxiety for the salvation of the flock committed to their care: «For they watch as being to render an account of your souls» (He 13,17). Are not, then, they to be termed cruel who, by the refusal of the obedience which is due, increase that burden and its bitterness? «For this is not expedient for you» (He 13,17), the Apostle would say to them, and that, because «the Church is a people united to its bishop, a flock which adheres to its pastor» (St. Cyprian: Ep. 66 [al. 69]), whence it follows that he is not with the Church who is not with the bishop.

30 And now, Venerable Brethren, at the end of this Letter, our mind turns spontaneously to the subject with which we began; and we implore with our most earnest prayers the end of this most disastrous war for the sake of human society and for the sake of the Church; for human society, so that when peace shall have been concluded, it may go forward in every form of true progress; for the Church of Jesus Christ, that freed at length from all impediments it may go forth and bring comfort and salvation even to the most remote parts of the earth.

31 For a long time past the Church has not enjoyed that full freedom which it needs-never since the Sovereign Pontiff, its Head, was deprived of that protection which by divine Providence had in the course of ages been set up to defend that freedom. Once that safeguard was removed, there followed, as was inevitable, considerable trouble amongst Catholics: all, from far and near, who profess themselves sons of the Roman Pontiff, rightly demand a guarantee that the common Father of all should be, and should be seen to be, perfectly free from all human power in the administration of his apostolic office. And so while earnestly desiring that peace should soon be concluded amongst the nations, it is also Our desire that there should be an end to the abnormal position of the Head of the Church, a position in many ways very harmful to the very peace of nations. We hereby renew, and for the same reasons, the many protests Our Predecessors have made against such a state of things, moved thereto not by human interest, but by the sacredness of our office, in order to defend the rights and dignity of the Apostolic See.

32 It remains for Us, Venerable Brethren, since in God's hands are the wills of princes and of those who are able to put an end to the suffering and destruction of which We have spoken, to raise Our voice in supplication to God, and in the name of the whole human race, to cry out: «Grant, O Lord, peace, in our day.» May He who said of himself: «I am the Lord ... I make peace» (Is 41,6-7) appeased by our prayers, quickly still the storm in which civil society and religious society are being tossed; and may the Blessed Virgin, who brought forth «the Prince of Peace», be propitious towards us; and may she take under her maternal care and protection Our own humble person, Our Pontificate, the Church and the souls of all men, redeemed by the divine blood of her Son.

33 We most lovingly grant to you, Venerable Brethren, to your clergy and to your people, the Apostolic Benediction, as a harbinger of heavenly gifts and as a pledge of our affection.

Given at St. Peter's, Rome, on the Feast of All Saints the first day of November, one thousand nine hundred and fourteen the first year of our Pontificate.

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