Freethought Almanac

Lighting a candle in toxic air.

December 18: Pius XII, Optatissima Pax (1947) and the Powerlessness of Prayer

It was on this date, December 18, 1947, that Pope Pius XII, in the ninth year of his papacy, promulgated the encyclical Optatissima Pax, On Prescribing Prayers for Peace. This was timed well, for World War Two had ended just two years earlier. And Pius was the same pope, born Eugenio Pacelli, whose tepid and infrequent condemnations of Hitler and the Nazis, while somewhat successful, only show that had he condemned the atrocities more forcefully and more frequently, millions of Jewish lives could have been saved.

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Originally published December 2003 by Ronald Bruce Meyer.

Ronald Bruce Meyer

Our Fearless Leader.


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July 11: John Quincy Adams

There are in this country... a certain proportion of restless and turbulent spirits who must always have something to quarrel about with their neighbors. These people are the authors of religious revivals.



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