1963 Encyclical Seen as Having Timely Lessons

The introduction to the volume published by the Vatican Publishing House was written by Cardinal Angelo Sodano, Vatican secretary of state. It is followed by a presentation by Archbishop Renato Martino, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, and then by John Paul II's Message for the 2003 World Day of Peace.

A "widespread feeling of fear" is the link between the two periods of history separated by four decades, Cardinal Sodano says in the preface.

Forty years ago, there was fear over the armaments race and nuclear threat. Today, fear is due to the "phenomenon of terrorism evidenced in all its horror," he writes.

Cardinal Sodano recalls the four pillars proposed by John XXIII -- truth, justice, love, freedom -- for the construction of peace, which call for respect of a person's dignity and rights, fulfillment of duties, awareness of belonging to the world community, and need for a supranational authority.

For his part, Archbishop Martino points out other elements in "Pacem in Terris" of present importance, such as the waste of resources used in armaments, the interdependence of nations, the relations of exploitation between the world's North and South, and the need to reinforce the United Nations.

"Forty years later, John XXIII's words are proposed again with the unaltered force of truth," Archbishop Martino writes. "If a certain political fundamentalism prevailed then, today there is a risk of fueling forms of religious fundamentalism which alter the authentic face of religion, turning it into an instrument of struggle of man against other men."

"If 40 years ago peace between nations was endangered by opposing blocs," he adds, "today this can be so because of the lack of dialogue between states and peoples."


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