Eduard Giurgi: Peace in the world conditioned by the peace in the heart: a closer look at Pacem in terris

In a war-torn world it is essential to seek the key to peace. Pope John XXIII has presented this key in his papal magisterium. The aim of this essay is to present this key as found in the encyclical Pacem in terris. The way in which this key is presented in this paper is as follows: first the historical context in which the encyclical was written is presented, i.e., the risk of nuclear war involving the USA and the Soviet Union, and the situation of the new states in the early 1960s, then each part of the encyclical is analyzed. In this presentation it is emphasized that there are four pillars which sustain the whole edifice of a society: truth, justice, love and freedom. These pillars belong to the natural law, which is inscribed in the human heart of every person. Also, it is stressed that the notion of the person is central to the encyclical and as a consequence, the encyclical draws the rights and duties of the human being from the very fact that he/she is a person. There can be no peace in the world if the four pillars abovementioned are not respected as well as the rights and duties which belong to every human being. Additionally, peace cannot be achieved if we do not take into account that we are human persons, constituted of body and soul, and as such we cannot reach happiness if we do not take care of the harmonious development of our body and soul. Finally, peace can be achieved if we do not forget to ask Jesus, the Prince of Peace, to grant us this gift, he promised us.


Dialog 51-4 Giurgi



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