VATICAN - PACEM IN TERRIS TEACHING STILL VALID TODAY: A REFLECTION BY THE PONTIFICAL COUNCIL FOR JUSTICE AND PEACE UNDER THE BANNER OF CHRISTIAN HOPE AND OPTIMISM
Vatican City (Fides Service) – The indispensable elements for building a new social order in the era of globalisation, drawn from the teaching, as valid as ever today, of the Pacem in Terris encyclical by John XXIII, are highlighted in a volume prepared by the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace (published by the Libreria Editrice Vaticana Italian only), which proposes to all people of goodwill a re-reading of the famous document, as the apex of studies with regard to peace and the necessity of a culture for peace. At the end of the book, which has a preface by Cardinal Angelo Sodano Vatican Secretary of State and a presentation by Archbishop Renato Martino President of Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, the authors have included Pope John Paul II’s Message for Peace 2003, the most authoritative comment on Pacem in Terris.
In the preface Card. Sodano emphasises among other things a common element between the times of the Encyclical and those of today, filled with the same sense of fear, caused then by the nuclear arms race and caused today by “the phenomenon of terrorism which has exploded in all its horror”. He recalls also the indispensable pillars indicated by Pope John for the building of Peace: truth, justice, love and freedom, which demand respect for the dignity and rights of every human person, fulfilling of duties, awareness of belonging to the world community and the necessity of a super-national authority, imposed not by force but instituted of common accord and in relation to subsidiarity with national authorities.
For his part Archbishop Martino focusses on other elements in Pacem in Terris still highly important today such as analysis and reflection on: waste of resources used in weaponry; social justice from a global point of view; inter-dependence among peoples; relations of exploitation between north and south; the need to reinforce the United Nations Organisation; the right of peoples to independence. Forty years on - says the President of Justice and Peace – the words of Pope John XXIII are extraordinarily pertinent and unchanged in their power of truth…If in those times a certain political fundamentalism prevailed, today there is a danger of feeding forms of religious fundamentalism which contort the true face of religion, making it a tool of conflict between peoples…If forty years ago peace among nations was threatened by rigid opposite blocks, today it can be threatened by the lack of dialogue between states and between peoples…If at that time the cause of peace could be served above all by valorising differences, suffocated by the flattening effect of totalitarian regimes, today is the time to valorise that which unites as the basis and measure of those same differences” SL (Fides Service 15/9/2003 EM lines 36 Words: 483)
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