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Encyclical Letter Essay

1085 words - 5 pages

Pacem in Terris, Peace on Earth
Pope John XXIII, April 11, 1963
This document is available on the Vatican Web Site:

In Peace on Earth, Pope John XXIII contends that peace can be established only if the social order set down by God is fully observed. Relying extensively on reason and the natural law tradition, John XXIII sketches a list of rights and duties to be followed by individuals, public authorities, national governments, and the world community. Peace needs to be based on an order “founded on truth, built according to justice, vivified and integrated by charity, and put into practice in freedom.”

Written during the first year of Vatican II, Peace ...view middle of the document...

Duties • To acknowledge and respect rights of others (#30). • To collaborate mutually (#31). • To act for others responsibly (#3 9). • To preserve life and live it becomingly (#42).

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Pacem in Terris, Peace on Earth
Signs of the Times • Working classes have gradually gained ground in economic and social affairs (#40). • Women are participating in public life (#41). • All nations are becoming independent (#42). II. Relations between Individuals and Public Authorities in a Single State Nature of Authority • Authority is necessary for the proper functioning of society (#46). • It derives its force from the moral order which has God for its end (#47). • A state which uses, as its chief means, punishments and rewards cannot effectively promote the common good (#48). • A state cannot oblige in matters of conscience (#49). • A command contrary to God’s will is not binding (#51). Characteristics of Common Good • Human person must be considered (#55). • All members of the state share in common good (#56). • More attention must be given to the less fortunate members of society (#56). • State must promote material and spiritual welfare of citizens (#57). Civil Authority • Chief concern should be to ensure the common good (#59). • Coordinates social relations in a way that allows people to exercise their rights and duties peacefully (#60). • A three-fold division of powers—legislative, executive, and judicial—is recommended for public authorities (#68). • Often a prudent and thoughtful juridical system seems inadequate for society’s needs (#71). • Three requisites for good government: • charter of human rights (#75); • written constitution (#76); • relations between governed and government in terms of rights and duties (#77).

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Pacem in Terris, Peace on Earth
III. Relations Between States In Truth

• Elimination of racism (#86). • Right to self-development (#86). • Obligation of mutual assistance (#87). • Objective use of media (#90).

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