THE SOCIAL DOCTRINE OF THE CHURCH
PACEM IN TERRIS
(Peace on Earth)

Fr Rodney Kissinger, S.J.

Table of Contents

GAUDIUM ET SPES

PAPAL ENCYCLICALS ON SOCIAL JUSTICE

MATER ET MAGISTRA

PACEM IN TERRIS

POPULORUM PROGRESSIO

OCTOGESIMA ADVENIENS

CARITAS IN VERITATE - INTRODUCTION

CARITAS IN VERITATE - INTRODUCTION COMMENTARY

CHAPTER TWO
HUMAN DEVELOPMENT IN OUR TIME

CARTAS IN VERITATE CHAPTER TWO
HUMAN DEVELOPMENT IN OUR TIME

CARTAS IN VERITATE CHAPTER THREE
FRATERNITY, ECONOMIC
DEVELOPMENT AND CIVIL SOCIETY

CARITAS IN VERITATE
CHAPTER FOUR
THE DEVELOPMENT OF PEOPLE
RIGHTS AND DUTIES
THE ENVIRONMENT

CARITAS IN VERITATE
CHAPTER FIVE
THE COOPERATION
OF THE HUMAN FAMILY

CARITAS IN VERITATE CHAPTER SIX THE DEVELOPMENT OF PEOPLES AND TECHNOLOGY

CARITAS IN VERITAE
CONCLUSION

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PACEM IN TERRIS
(Peace on Earth)

In 1963, at the end of the first session of the Second Vatican Council, John XXIII promulgated the encyclical Pacem in Terris. It covers the entire spectrum of relations between individuals, between individual and community and between nations and affirms the inviolability of human rights. Peace based on mutual trust can be well-founded only if under girded by a unity of right order in human affairs arising from a genuine respect for and adherence to the law of God. Here are some relevant selections.

“The common good is chiefly guaranteed when personal rights and duties are maintained. The chief concern of civil authorities must therefore be to ensure that these rights are acknowledged, respected, coordinated with other rights, defended and promoted, so that in this way each one may more easily carry out his duties. For "to safeguard the inviolable rights of the human person, and to facilitate the fulfillment of his duties, should be the chief duty of every public authority." (#60)

Beginning our discussion of the rights of man, we see that every person has the right to life, to bodily integrity, and to the means which are suitable for the proper development of life; these are primarily food, clothing, shelter, rest, medical care, and finally the necessary social services. Therefore a human being also has the right to security in cases of sickness, inability to work, widowhood, old age, unemployment, or in any other case in which one is deprived of the means of subsistence through no fault of one's own. (#11)

Any human society, if it is to be well-ordered and productive, must lay down as a foundation this principle, namely, that every human being is a person; that is, human nature is endowed with intelligence and free will. Indeed, precisely because one is a person one has rights and obligations flowing directly and simultaneously from one's very nature. And as these rights and obligations are universal and inviolable, so they cannot in any way be surrendered. (#8-10)
This means that, if any government does not acknowledge the rights of the human person or violates them, it not only fails in its duty, but its orders completely lack juridical force. (#61)

It is also demanded by the common good that civil authorities should make earnest efforts to bring about a situation in which individual citizens can easily exercise their rights and fulfill their duties as well. For experience has taught us that, unless these authorities take suitable action with regard to economic, political and cultural matters, inequalities between the citizens tend to become more and more widespread, especially in the modern world, and as a result human rights are rendered totally ineffective and the fulfillment of duties is compromised. (#63)

There is a social duty essentially inherent in the right of private property. (#22)

One of the fundamental duties of civil authorities, therefore, is to coordinate social relations in such fashion that the exercise of one person's rights does not threaten others in the exercise of their own rights nor hinder them in the fulfillment of their duties. (#62)

The natural rights with which We have been dealing are, however, inseparably connected, in the very person who is their subject, with just as many respective duties; and rights as well as duties find their source, their sustenance and their inviolability in the natural law which grants or enjoins them....Once this is admitted, it also follows that in human society to one man's right there corresponds a duty in all other persons: the duty, namely, of acknowledging and respecting the right in question. For every fundamental human right draws its indestructible moral force from the natural law, which in granting it imposes a corresponding obligation. Those, therefore, who claim their own rights, yet altogether forget or neglect to carry out their respective duties, are people who build with one hand and destroy with the other. (#28-30)

Since men are social by nature they are meant to live with others and to work for one another's welfare. A well-ordered human society requires that men recognize and observe their mutual rights and duties. It also demands that each contribute generously to the establishment of a civic order in which rights and duties are more sincerely and effectively acknowledged and fulfilled. It is not enough, for example, to acknowledge and respect every man's right to the means of subsistence if we do not strive to the best of our ability for a sufficient supply of what is necessary for his sustenance. (#31-32)

It is in keeping with their dignity as persons that human being should take an active part in government. (#73)

This statement of St. Augustine seems to be very apt in this regard: "What are kingdoms without justice but large bands of robbers." (#92)

If we turn our attention to the economic sphere it is clear that man has a right by the natural law not only to an opportunity to work, but also to go about his work without coercion. (#18)

Indeed since the whole reason for the existence of civil authorities is the realization of the common good, it is clearly necessary that, in pursuing this objective, they should respect its essential elements, and at the same time conform their laws to the circumstances of the day. (#54)

The dignity of the human person involves the right to take an active part in public affairs and to contribute one's part to the common good of the citizens. For, as Our Predecessor of happy memory, Pius XII, pointed out: "The human individual, far from being an object and, as it were, a merely passive element in the social order, is in fact, must be and must continue to be, its subject, its foundation and its end." (#26)

Furthermore--and this must be specially emphasized--the worker has a right to a wage determined according to criterions of justice, and sufficient, therefore, n proportion to the available resources, to give workers and their families a standard of living in keeping with the dignity of the human person. (#20)

Since women are becoming ever more conscious of their human dignity, they will not tolerate being treated as mere material instruments, but demand rights befitting a human person both in domestic and in pubic life. (#41)

It is clearly laid down that the paramount task assigned to government officials is that of recognizing, respecting, reconciling, protecting and promoting the rights and duties of citizens. (#77)

Once again we exhort our people to take an active part in public life, and to contribute towards the attainment of the common good of the entire human family as well as to that of their own country. They should endeavor, therefore, in the light of the Faith and with the strength of love, to ensure that the various institutions--whether economic, social, cultural or political in purpose -- should be such as not to create obstacles, but rather to facilitate or render less arduous people's perfectioning of themselves both in the natural order as well as in the supernatural. (#146)

The government should make similarly effective efforts to see that those who are able to work can find employment in keeping with their aptitudes, and that each worker receives a wage in keeping with the laws of justice and equity. It should be equally the concern of civil authorities to ensure that workers be allowed their proper responsibility in the work undertaken in industrial organization, and to facilitate the establishment of intermediate groups which will make social life richer and more effective. (#64)

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