Vatican City (Fides Service) – “The centrality of the human person and the natural relation between individuals and nations are the fundamental indications of the social doctrine of the Church for the international community whose regulation must be finalised to guarantee the effective universal common good of humanity, protecting the physiognomy and identity of each people.” Archbishop Renato Martino, President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, said this in a general introduction to an international meeting promoted in Rome, 23 and 24 May, by the Pontifical Gregorian University and the Jacques Maritain International Institute on the theme: “The Church and World Order” to mark the 40th anniversary of Pope John XXIII’s encyclical Pacem in Terris.
After remarking that the social teaching of the Church founds world order on ethical and juridical values tending to solidarity and collaboration among the different political communities, the Archbishop said that the main purpose of the doctrine is to bind relations between nations with the concept of international justice as an essential component of the common good. With implicit reference to the present critical situation, Archbishop Martino recalls that “freedom and restoration of law have never been reached through the use of force and war” adding that “normative instruments alternative to armed force, already existing in international law, must be re-thought in order to render them respondent to the effective needs of the international community, strengthening their scope and cogency”.
“In the prospective outlined by the social teaching of the Church for a new world order – affirms the President of the Council Justice and Peace – the international community must not propose itself as a simple moment of aggregation in the life of nations, it must become an effective structure in which conflicts can be peacefully resolved and the interests of the single parties involved safeguarded and recomposed on the basis of authentic justice”. The action and evolution of international law must also moreover be finalised to favour real social-economic development with the overcoming of persistent and serious unbalance between countries, geographical areas and peoples.
Archbishop Martino also recalls that “the social teaching of the Church calls insistently for the constitution of public powers at the world level” and that “conflicts between peoples and nations can only be overcome through consultation, that is the installation of a network of relations aimed at reaching common objectives and effective cooperation.” Only then will we see the realisation of hopes expressed by Pope John in Pacem in Terris: “There is reason to hope however that by meeting and negotiating men may come to discover better the bonds that unite them together, deriving from the human nature which they have in common; and that they may also come to discover that one of the most profound requirements of their common nature is this: that between them and their respective peoples, it is not fear which should reign but love, a love which tends to express itself in a collaboration that is loyal, manifold in form and productive of many benefits” (129) SL (Fides Service 23/5/2003 EM lines 34 Words: 466)