Pacem in Terris – an appeal by OJPD-CBCI

April 16, 2013 by  
Filed under newsletter-india

Paceme in TerrisNew Delhi, April 14, 2013: India needs to learn arms control and peace from a papal letter written some 50 years ago, says Indian bishops marking the golden Jubilee of the letter, Pacem in Terris.

The letter was issued by Pope John XXIII shortly after the Cuban Missile Crisisan “arm wrestle” between the U.S. and the USSR in 1962, and after the erection of the Berlin Wall, said the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India’s Office for Justice, Peace and Development in their statement while marking the day on April 11.

The statement said that India – the largest importer of arms in the world, and one of the 24 countries that abstained from the UN Arms Trade Treaty – particularly needs to learn right lessons from what Pacem in Terris says about Arms race.

Given the ‘existence and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction,’ an atomic war seemed imminent and John XXIII’s encyclical helped deactivate the horrific mechanism of the crisis, the press release said.

Pacem in Terris by Pope John XXIII had envisioned and commissioned the Vatican II Council. It was the last encyclical of Pope John XXIII and a heartfelt cry for the cause of justice and peace.

The encyclical had the distinctive feature of being ‘an open letter to the world’ as it was addressed to “all people of good will”, to both believers and non-believers, beyond borders and “blocs”.

Its ‘optimistic tone and development of a philosophy of rights’ gave it a universal appeal and evoked favorable response almost from all the quarters and blocs.

The then UN Secretary U-Thant had said: “The encyclical is certainly in line with all ideas and objectives espoused by the United Nations.”

Soviet agency Tass widely distributed the text, stressing, above all, the part about disarmament. The U.S. Department of State welcomed it “as a historic encyclical of global importance.”

The Washington Post wrote that the encyclical “is the voice of the conscience of the world,” and that Pope John XXIII had the support of the people.

Even in Britain, a number of Anglican representatives presented a motion praising John XXIII’s message.

The encyclical sets out four main guidelines for following the path of peace- the importance of the inviolability of a person’s rights; the universal nature of the common good; the moral foundations of politics; the strength of reason and the beacon of faith.

Pacem in Terris – an Incessant Appeal for Peace on Earth: OJPD-CBCI

This day, fifty years ago, was published Pacem in Terris by Pope John XXIII who had envisioned and commissioned the Vatican II Council. Pacem in Terris, being the last encyclical of Pope John XXIII, and being a heartfelt cry for the cause of justice and peace, is a testament to the incontestable fact that Pope John XXIII was an apostle of peace.

None can miss the historical context of the encyclical. It was issued shortly after the Cuban Missile Crisis – an “arm wrestle” between the U.S. and the USSR – in 1962, and after the erection of the Berlin Wall. Given the ‘existence and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction,’an atomic war seemed imminent and John XXIII’s encyclical helped deactivate the horrific mechanism of the crisis.

The encyclical had the distinctive feature of being ‘an open letter to the world’ as it was addressed to “all people of good will”, to both believers and non-believers, beyond borders and “blocs”. Not unexpectedly, the encyclical’s ‘ optimistic tone and development of a philosophy of rights’ gave the encyclical a universal appeal and evoked favourable response almost from all the quarters and blocs. The then UN Secretary U-Thant said: “The encyclical is certainly in line with all ideas and objectives espoused by the United Nations.” Soviet agency Tass widely distributed the text, stressing, above all, the part about disarmament.The U.S. Department of State welcomed it “as a historic encyclical of global importance.” The Washington Post wrote that the encyclical “is the voice of the conscience of the world,” and that Pope John XXIII had the support of the people. Even in Britain, a number of Anglican representatives presented a motion praising John XXIII’s message.

Pacem in Terris is just as pertinent now as it was half a century ago. In fact, on 40th Anniversary of this encyclical, in 2003 Pope John Paul II came out with the World Day of Peace titled: Peace on Earth: a Permanent Commitment. It is as relevant today as it was 50 years ago. If heeded well, its appeal “… any disputes which may arise between nations must be resolved by negotiation and agreement, and not by recourse to arms” (no.126) can go a long way in ensuring and establishing peace not only between South Korea and North Korea but among all warring countries in any part of the world.The encyclical sets out four main guidelines for following the path of peace: the importance of the inviolability of a person’s rights; the universal nature of the common good; the moral foundations of politics; the strength of reason and the beacon of faith.

India – the largest importer of arms in the world, and one of the 24 countries that abstained from the UN Arms Trade Treaty – particularly needs to learn right lessons from what Pacem in Terris says about Arms race. Arms race deprives less developed countries of social and economic progress (no.109) and creates a climate of fear (no.111). “Justice, then, right reason, and consideration for human dignity and life demand that the arms race cease.” (no.112)

Envisioning a new relationship under the sway of truth, justice, love and freedom, the encyclical recommends a culture of peace. The CBCI Office for Justice Peace and Development sees in the encyclical Pacem in Terris a constant reminder to the individuals and the nations that they always chose the path of peace abandoning the path of warand strife. On the fiftieth anniversary of the encyclical, let us choose to be an agent of change and an instrument of peace that the world we live in may become more habitable.

Most Rev. Yvon Ambroise
Chairperson

Most Rev. Mathew Arackal
Most Rev. Gerald Almeida
Member Bishops

Fr. Charles Irudayam
Secretary

Enter Google AdSense Code Here

Comments are closed.