by Rev. Benjamin Urmston, S.J., Ph.D.
The most distinctive contribution of Pacem in Terris is what we would call today a democratic world federation. The best commentary on world order are statements of subsequent Catholic sources.
- John XXIII, Peace on Earth 1963 No. 137: “Today the universal common good poses problems of world-wide dimensions which cannot be adequately tackled or solved except by the efforts of public authorities endowed with a breadth of powers, structure, and means of the same proportions: that is, of public authorities which are in a position to act in an effective manner on a world-wide basis. The moral order itself, therefore, demands that such a form of public authority be established.”
- Vatican II, The Church in the Modern World 1965 No. 82: “It is our clear duty, then, to strain every muscle as we work for the time when all war can be completely outlawed by international consent. This goal undoubtedly requires the establishment of some universal public authority acknowledged as such by all, and endowed with effective power to safeguard, on the behalf of all, security, regard for justice, and respect for rights.
- Pope Paul VI, The Progress of Peoples 1967 No.78: “Who does not see the necessity of thus establishing progressively a world authority, capable of acting effectively in the juridical and political sectors?” From Fr. John O’Malley’s What Really Happened at Vatican II [p. 263]. Pope Paul VI at the United Nations: “The Pope spoke of the horrors of war and the absolute necessity of world peace. He pleaded, with deep emotion in his voice, ‘No more war! War never again!”
- Pope John Paul II, World Day of Peace Message, 2005, No. 9: “Down the centuries, the teaching of the Church, drawing upon the philosophical and theological reflection of many Christian thinkers, has made a significant contribution in directing international law to the common good of the whole human family. Especially in more recent times the Popes have not hesitated to stress the importance of international law as a pledge of peace.” “War is the most barbarous and least effective way of resolving conflicts.” (Pope John Paul II quoted in Challenge of Peace 102). Again Pope John Paul II, “Violence begets violence. . . war must always be considered a defeat: a defeat of reason and of humanity. May we soon make a spiritual and cultural leap forward to outlaw war! Yes, never again war!” (Sept. 8, 2004. Address to religious leaders of the world at Assisi, Italy.)
- Pope Benedict XVI, Love in Truth No. 67 and footnotes: “To manage the global economy; to revive economies hit by the crisis; to avoid any deterioration of the present crisis and the greater imbalances that would result; to bring about integral and timely disarmament, food security and peace; to guarantee the protection of the environment and to regulate migration: for all this, there is urgent need of a true world political authority, as my predecessor Blessed John XXIII indicated some years ago (2009).
- U.S. Catholic Bishops, The Challenge of Peace, God’s Promise and our Response, No. 334 ff. 1983: “We feel that a more all-inclusive and final solution is needed. We speak here of the truly effective international authority for which Pope John XXIII ardently longed in Peace on Earth (No. 137) and of which Pope Paul VI spoke to the United Nations (1965), #2.