The right to peace in the most recent documents of the Catholic Magisterium
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Faculty of Law of the University of Bari (Italy
Publication date: 2016-03-31
JoMS 2016;28(1):27-46
The close coincidence between the 50 years of the Council and the 50 years of the Encyclical “Pacem in Terris” by John XXIII is significantly representative of the particular kind of journey undertaken by the Catholic Church, which insists on the very topic of peace. With its reflections and its concrete work on this crucial issue of human history and contemporary history in particular, the Church stands as one of the most active subjects of the scenario of today’s world engaged in the construction of theoretical and practical scenarios of peaceful coexistence among peoples. This is particularly evident considering the topics which the last two Popes Benedict XVI and Francis cared and taught about. Particularly, the central idea of the first message of Pope Francis for the International Day of Peace (January 1st 2014) talks about the brotherhood that, as the essential dimension of man as rational being, is an essential dimension for the building of a just society and of a solid and long lasting peace. This observation leads to the contemporary and delicate matter of the relationships between North and South, to the raising occurrence of immigration, to the problem of the relationship and balance between cultures and different worlds. As in this field, and more widely in the one of the acceptance and solidarity, the work of the Church seems particularly intense, and the Pope’s judgment is of a great importance. According to the Pope, the relational difficulties of men in a time of multiculturalism are born of a cultural matter and of a particular vision of the reality. The new ideologies – according to Francis – characterized by widespread individualism, egocentrism and materialistic consumerism, weaken the social bounds. Francis considers the principle of brotherhood (that is the evangelical concept quite different from the most generic concept of solidarity) as a concrete articulation of the opportunity to build peaceful human relationships. The brotherhood is a condition for concrete and political human works to reach the social justice, to defeat poverty, to set economical systems based on new economical models and lifestyles, to check fears and wars, to defeat corruption and crime, to help preserving the natural resources. The way of peace today – according to Pope Francis’ specific interpretation – is bound to the development of links of brotherly relations, mutuality and forgiveness: these concepts are not really moralistic but they are set out according to a precise way of growth of the contemporary society. This vision of dignity of man as a condition of harmonic social development, based on mutuality and global peace, comprises an in-depth analysis of the topics of social doctrine already confronted by Benedict XVI, whose reflections on the topic of peace among men and Countries, have been widely dealt with. Pope Ratzinger’s approach cares about the human being with his vital – material and spiritual – needs thus explaining his particular persistence on economical and social topics linked to today’s economical and financial crisis, as it appears clear in the message for the International Day of Peace of the year 2013. The economical growth cannot be pursued by penalizing “the social functions of the State and the webs of solidarity of civil society”, thus violating the social rights and duties, in particular the right to work. For the peace operators a high, even political, profile, is expected: to act for the affirmation of a “new model of development and economy”, that is, of a model of good global governance, bound to the binomial State of right/social State, the two faces of the same coin called humanly sustainable statehood. Thus, Pope Benedict makes his own a fundamental principle of the current international Law of human rights, the principle of interdependency and indivisibility of all person right’s, which means that the right to work, the right to feed, the right to assistance in case of necessity, the right to health, the right to education, are as fundamental as the right to freedom of association. This principle has its root in the ontological, material and spiritual truth of human being. This is the field of humanism that, according to Benedict XVI, must be “a humanism open to the transcendence”, marked by “the ethic of communion and partake” and respectful of “the unavoidable natural moral law written by God in the conscience of each and every man”. The Pope states that the first education to peace is within family, that the article 16th of the Universal Declaration defines as “the fundamental and natural core of society that has the right to be protected from the society and the State”. The right to peace in the most recent documents of the Catholic Magisterium Journal of Modern Science tom 1/28/2016 29 On the same educational field the Pope assigns a special task to “the cultural, scholastic and academic institutions” to make them undertake, besides the formation of “new generations of leaders”, “the renewal of public, national and international institutions” too. In the multi-thematic vision of Benedict XVI the considerations on freedom of religion have great relevance, which the Pope means as dual freedom: freedom from (for example, from constriction about the choosing of its own religion) and freedom to (witness, teach, etc.). Strictly linked to this passage is the affirmation that “an important cooperation to peace is that judiciary and the administration of justice recognize the right to use the principle of freedom of conscience towards the laws and governmental measures that threaten the human dignity, as abortion and euthanasia”. The widest theological interpretation of the history proposed by Pope Ratzinger gives an overall view to world and time, so that it can set contemporary culture free, mostly the Catholic one, from non-Christian lines of interpretation that have been dominant in the 20th century. Objectives The study has the purpose to go deep through the conceptual and cooperative contribution of the most recent teaching of Catholic Church about human rights, peace, peaceful interstate and intercultural relationships. The research underlines the contribution that the papal Magisterium has given to the building of a more aware sensibility, among peoples and the people in charge of the States, towards the concrete topics linked to the theme of peace. Methods The method pursued in the course of the study is about a systematic illustration of the sources, giving ample space to original the texts. The interpretation of papal documents always considers the published critical literature. The topics carried out are developed for thematic units, to give a better expositive and interpretative clarity.
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