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Apply the principles of Pacem in Terris today, Pope says

Catholic World News - October 03, 2013

“Looking at our current situation, I wonder if we have learnt the lessons of Pacem in Terris” Pope Francis said in an October 3 address to a conference marking the 50th anniversary of the landmark encyclical by Blessed John XXIII.

“I ask myself whether the words 'justice' and 'solidarity' exist only in our dictionary, or if we indeed all work towards making them a reality,” the Pope continued. He observed that Pacem in Terris was written amid the tensions of the Cold War, as a plea for peace in a world troubled by the threat of nuclear devastation. “The seeds of peace sown by Blessed John XXIII bore fruit,” Pope Francis said, but the quest for a lasting peace based on justice and solidarity continues.

The encyclical, Pope Francis said, appeals to the dignity of the human person, which must be “promoted, respected, and protected.” The rights that belong to every human person—including the rights to food, shelter, education, health care, and family life—“should be an absolute priority for national and international action,” he said. “Lasting peace for all depends on this,” the Pope said, and our societies will be judged by their progress toward those goals.

The Church does not propose concrete political and economic solutions to social problems, the Pope said. But the Church does encourage discussion and debate based on mutual respect and solidarity, and the aim of Blessed John XXIII in this encyclical was to “orient international debate according to these virtues.”

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