A 1963 Encyclical Resounds Again in U.N.

Universal Common Good and World Authority Linked, Says Archbishop Martino

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NEW YORK, OCT. 8, 2003 (Zenit.org).- Pope John XXIII's encyclical "Pacem in Terris" is as relevant as ever, a Vatican official said at a symposium at the United Nations.



Archbishop Renato Martino, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, addressed the meeting, emphasizing the profound relation between the universal common good and world authority.

John Paul II has used the 1963 encyclical as a guide in his efforts over the past year to promote world peace. The Holy See's permanent mission at the United Nations organized the symposium.

The meeting, also promoted by the Path to Peace Foundation, helped to commemorate the 25th anniversary of John Paul II's pontificate. Attendees included Cardinal Edward Egan, archbishop of New York; Archbishop Celestino Migliore, permanent observer of the Holy See's U.N. mission; and Julian Hunte, president of the U.N. General Assembly.

In his address, Archbishop Martino stressed the importance of referring "to the precious indications of 'Pacem in Terris' given the need, again very relevant and urgent, of bringing together world public powers," a statement of the dicastery reported today.

"Of particular importance among such indications is the correlation between the historical contents of the universal common good and the configuration and functioning of world public powers," the archbishop noted.

Promoting the real dignity of every person, as well as defending the right to life and the right to freedom of conscience and religious liberty, nourishes the contents of that universal common good, he said.

Archbishop Martino also pointed to the need to safeguard the value and rights of the family, the promotion of democratic regimes, and the centrality of the human person in socioeconomic life.

"Universal authority must be built patiently, always founded on the unity of the human family and placed at its service so that it will not become an instrument for particular interests," said the Vatican official who will be elevated to cardinal Oct. 21.

At the end of the symposium, the Path to Peace Foundation awarded "Servitor Pacis" prizes to Mother Teresa's Missionaries of Charity for their work in Baghdad, and posthumously to Italian Dr. Carlo Urbani, who sacrificed his life to cure SARS patients.