Contemporary Issue: Development & Peace


Pope Paul VI articulately and astutely encompassed the Church's concept of Peace as an active enterprise, brought about - in part - through social justice:

"Peace is not merely the absence of war; nor can it be reduced solely to the maintenance of a balance of power between enemies; nor is it brought about by dictatorship. Instead, it is rightly and appropriately called an enterprise of justice. Peace results from that order structured into human society by its divine Founder, and actualized by men as they thirst after ever greater justice." (GES, 78)

And, as such, Peace is not a mere arrival; for man, it is always a work in progress:

"[S]ince the concrete demands of this common good are constantly changing as time goes on, peace is never attained once and for all, but must be built up ceaselessly. Moreover, since the human will is unsteady and wounded by sin, the achievement of peace requires a constant mastering of passions and the vigilance of lawful authority." (GES, 78)

But social justice is only part of the equation to bring about development and peace. The other critical aspect, His Holiness was quick to point out, is love in the service of Human Dignity, which surpasses justice both in essence and action:

"This peace on earth cannot be obtained unless personal well-being is safeguarded and men freely and trustingly share with one another the riches of their inner spirits and their talents. A firm determination to respect other men and peoples and their dignity, as well as the studied practice of brotherhood are absolutely necessary for the establishment of peace. Hence peace is likewise the fruit of love, which goes beyond what justice can provide." (GES, 78)

In his work, Pope Saint John Paul II often equated the term "peace" with "authentic development", for humanity can only truly develop through bringing about peace. With this notion, our Holy Father was steadfast in The Church's teaching that peace cannot truly be brought about by the mere and incomplete manipulation of the "technical" economic and political structures of society: 

“…whatever affects the dignity of individuals and peoples, such as authentic development, cannot be reduced to a "technical" problem. If reduced in this way, development would be emptied of its true content, and this would be an act of betrayal of the individuals and peoples whom development is meant to serve.” (SRS, 41)

As perhaps the most precient precursor to the modern concept of Globalization, so frequently touched upon by his sucessors, Pope Paul VI recognized during his pontificate the growing, inescapable, interconnectedness of the various peoples of the the world, however disparate their respective cultures, politics, and internal economies may be from each other. He implored the further establishment of our international community to devote themselves specifically to bringing about development and peace across the globe:

"In view of the increasingly close ties of mutual dependence today between all the inhabitants and peoples of the earth, the apt pursuit and efficacious attainment of the universal common good now require of the community of nations that it organize itself in a manner suited to its present responsibilities, especially toward the many parts of the world which are still suffering from unbearable want. To reach this goal, organizations of the international community, for their part, must make provision for men's different needs, both in the fields of social life—such as food supplies, health, education, labor and also in certain special circumstances which can crop up here and there, e.g., the need to promote the general improvement of developing countries, or to alleviate the distressing conditions in which refugees dispersed throughout the world find themselves, or also to assist migrants and their families." (GES, 84)

Related Thoughts on Development & Peace

"To destroy such structures and replace them with more authentic forms of living in community is a task which demands courage and patience." (CA,38) Taken from "Saint John Paul's thoughts on the Human Environment - from Centesimus Annus"
Pope Francis affirms the necessity of harmonious collaboration among all social forces (business men and women, governments, civil society), with each one committed, according to their area of expertise and responsibility, to the pursuit of the common good.  Taken from "Poverty and Development: a Catholic Perspective - Conference Dinner Event Address by His Eminence, Pietro Cardinal Parolin"
WELCOME - PROTECT - PROMOTE - INTEGRATE: The number of people forced to flee their homes in 2017 rose by nearly million to 68.5 million.(According to the head of the UN High Commission On Refugees (UNHCR) Flippio Grandi). Taken from "Pope Francis: WELCOME - PROTECT - PROMOTE - INTEGRATE: Refugees and Migrants"

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Just a Thought
Putting people always first means protecting, at every stage and in every circumstance, the dignity of the person, and its human rights and fundamental freedoms, and in a specific way, the rights to life and to freedom of religion from which all other rights flow and which are therefore the common foundation of the pillars of peace and security and integral human development. Read more