Justice Sunday Celebration on 18th August in India

August 16, 2013 by  
Filed under newsletter-india

Delhi, August 16, 2013: Peace on Earth in Justice

Social JusticeThe Office for Justice, Peace and Development of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India invites the Catholic faithful in India to a meaningful observance of Justice Sunday on 18 August 2013. The theme of the Justice Sunday this year, Peace on Earth in Justice, has been specially selected as a tribute to Pacem in Terris on its completion of 50 years. Pacem in Terris is an Encyclical that was authored and released by Pope John XXIII on 11 April 1963. Having circulated a printed message among all the dioceses in India, the CBCI Office for Justice, Peace and Development appeals to the Catholic faithful in India to allow themselves to be reminded and inspired by the Encyclical’s guiding principles.

Envisioning a new world order built on the pillars of truth, justice, love and freedom, Pacem in Terris recommends a new spirituality and a culture of peace. The Encyclical’s recipe for peace is very simple: recognition of human dignity as well as respect for the rights of every person in all human relationships (Pacem in Terris, no. 9). The encyclical holds that human rights “are the expression of a man’s personal dignity” (no. 44). Again, the encyclical recommends negotiations and dialogue to settle all disputes between or among nations (no. 126). Cautioning the world against ‘the appalling slaughter and destruction that war would bring in its wake’ (no. 111), Pacem in Terris  emphatically states: “Hence justice, right reason, and the recognition of man’s dignity cry out insistently for a cessation to the arms race.” (no. 112) The Encyclical’s advocacy of ‘cessation of arms race’ gains a special significance and relevance in the Indian context, as India, being the largest importer of arms in the world, is one of the 24 countries that abstained from the UN Arms Trade Treaty a few months ago.

It has been a customary practice for the Catholic Church in India to observe the Justice Sunday on a Sunday following the celebration of India’s Independence Day. Incidentally, the Justice Sunday this year is the 30th one.  As per the Report of the General Meeting of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India, Bombay, January 6-12, 1983 (p. 51), the stated objective of Justice Sunday is “to make individuals and institutions sensitive to the realities of society and to respond to the demands of justice.” Of course this stated objective is very much in consonance with the stipulations of the Canon Law. According to the Code of Canon Law, all the Christian faithful are “obliged to promote social justice…” (Canon, no. 222 §2); pastors of parishes are obliged “to foster works through which the spirit of the Gospel is promoted, even in what pertains to social justice” (Canon, no. 528 §1).

– dr charles irudayam

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