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The Popes and the World Day of Peace (background)

December 31, 2010

On January 1, the Church will commemorate the 44th World Day of Peace. In his message for the 1st World Day of Peace, Pope Paul VI wrote, “We address Ourselves to all men of good will to exhort them to celebrate ‘The Day of Peace,’ throughout the world, on the first day of the year, January 1, 1968. It is Our desire that then, every year, this commemoration be repeated as a hope and as a promise, at the beginning of the calendar which measures and outlines the path of human life in time, that Peace with its just and beneficent equilibrium may dominate the development of events to come.”

The Catechism of the Catholic Church summarizes Catholic teaching on peace and just war in its treatment of the Fifth Commandment; the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church discusses Catholic teaching on peace in Chapter 11. Between 1914 and 1968, five popes wrote 21 encyclicals on peace. Since 1968, papal teaching on peace has primarily been expressed in the messages for the World Day of Peace.


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