IMAGE: CNS/Joseph Roger O’Donnell via Vatican Press Office
VATICAN CITY (CNS) — As 2017 was drawing to a close, the
horrors of war and people’s yearnings for peace were on Pope Francis’ mind and
in his prayers.
In an unusual move late Dec. 30, the pope had the Vatican
press office and Vatican media distribute a copy of a famous photograph from
the aftermath of the atomic bombing of Nagasaki.
The photo shows a young boy, about 10 years old, carrying
his dead little brother on his back. The boy is taking his brother to be
On the back of the card, Pope Francis wrote, “The fruit
of war” and signed his name.
Below his signature, the pope explained that the photo was taken
by U.S. Marine Corps photographer Joseph Roger O’Donnell. After the bombs were
dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945, O’Donnell was assigned to document the
“The sadness of the child is expressed only by his
lips, bitten and oozing blood,” the pope wrote.
The Vatican newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano, printed a copy
of the photograph and pope’s explanation on the back page of its edition for
Jan. 1, the Catholic Church’s World Peace Day.
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