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475 Document No. 87: Speech by Pope John Paul II Concerning Martial Law December 13, 1981 The Vatican’s reaction to martial law was immediate but tempered. Anxious not to inflame the situation, the Pope kept his initial statement brief, stressing the need to avoid bloodshed and to do “everything possible… to peacefully build the future of the Homeland.” December 13, 1981, The Vatican The events of the last hours call for me once again to address everyone on the matter of our shared Homeland with a request for a prayer. I recall what I said in September: Polish blood cannot be shed, because too much of it has been shed, especially during the last war. Everything possible must be done to peacefully build the future of the Homeland. In the face of the coming 600th anniversary of Jasna Góra2, I commend [to] Poland and all its Compatriots the course which is the Nation’s to defend. [Source: L`Osservatore Romano, No. 12, 1981, p. 1. Translated by L. W. Głu­ chow­ski for the National Security Archive.] 2  Site of the monastery and shrine of the Black Madonna. See also Document No. 3. ...

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