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Pope Francis - Copyright AGF s.r.l. / REX
World News

Cardinal hopes Pope will "deliver a warning" at Auschwitz

by Hannah Tooley

No date has yet been set, but Church leaders in Poland hope that Pope Francis will visit the former Nazi concentration camp during a July 2016 visit to Poland for World Youth Day, according to the Catholic Herald.

It is estimated around 1.2 million people, mostly Jews, died at the camp between 1940 and 1945.

Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz of Krakow said: "We hope Pope Francis will come to Auschwitz and deliver a warning to the world by again demonstrating the horrors of war and the camps, so they'll never recur."

In a Twitter message in January to mark the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the camp, the Pope said Auschwitz "cries out with the pain of immense suffering and pleads for a future of respect, peace and encounter among peoples."

Retired Bishop Tadeusz Pieronek is a former Bishops' Conference general secretary who now lives in Krakow. He said that he hoped more details of the potential visit would soon be released.

He said: "Any visit by the head of the Catholic Church to Auschwitz, in the footsteps of John Paul II in 1979 and Benedict XVI in 2006, would always have huge significance.

"This is a place of great importance for the whole of humanity, so it would be received very well if the pope came here to pray and commemorate."

Cardinal Dziwisz also spoke about preparations for World Youth Day in his diocese.

He said bishops and youth groups from abroad were arriving in Krakow daily to check on preparations.

Pope Francis is also expected to visit a home for the poor, and many groups have been getting in contact asking him to pay them a visit.

During his trip for World Youth Day, Pope Francis is scheduled to lead a Way of the Cross procession from the Krakow's Divine Mercy Sanctuary, a prayer vigil on youth issues near the Wieliczka Salt Mine and a final Mass in the city's Blonia Park.

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