The papacy of Benedict XV was largely overshadowed by World War I and its sociopolitical consequences in Europe, according to History.com. He declared the neutrality of the Church and attempted to mediate peace in 1916 and 1917. After both sides rejected his initiatives, Benedict XV focused on efforts to lessen the impacts of the war, such as attending to prisoners of war and delivering food to needy populations in Europe. Pope Benedict XVI has described Benedict XV as being a "prophet of peace."
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