50th anniversary of Pacem in Terris

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50th anniversary of Pacem in Terris

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Abr 14, 2013, 10:53am

I thought it might be worth noting the fifitieth anniversary of Pope John XXIII's Pacem in Terris. I've attended three conferences in the USA to mark the anniversary (two in Notre Dame and one in Catholic University in Washington DC), so it is not going unnoticed. The encyclical is a crucial part of the development of Catholic Social Teaching, which arguably began with Pope Leo XIII's Rerum Novarum in 1891.

Cardinal Turkson spoke at one of them, and his reflections on the document are here. Turkson says:

Pope John’s radical insight was to write about peace rather than about absence of war, and to address Pacem in Terris to all people and only secondarily to all nations...

and one might add, secondarily also to all bishops, to whom encyclicals were usually addressed. One might also note how John XXIII deals with human rights and duties, resting on the dignity of the human person, and the common good. It's a very rich document, even fifty years on.

This time of year also marks the anniversary of the assassination of Archbishop Oscar Romero, another figure associated with Catholic Social Teaching, and one of the conferences I attended had a moving lecture by someone who worked closely with him during the last years of his life. Arguably Romero played a significant role in raising awareness about the preferential option for the poor.

Maio 2, 2013, 9:39am

Thanks for posting this. Sometimes I think if I did nothing but read the backlog of encyclicals, it would still be a life well spent.

Maio 2, 2013, 10:20am

I couldn't agree more. Although I read some of the more important ones many years ago, I now find myself going back to the encyclicals and similar documents more and more often, and finding increasing riches in them.

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