Social Doctrine of the Church: The Contribution of the Church to Peace

The ┬ápromotion of world peace is a central part of the Church’s mission. It is a part of Christ’s work of redemption. The Church is a “sacrament” or sign and instrument of peace for the world.

The Church teaches that true peace is possible only through forgiveness and reconciliation. Forgiveness can be a unilateral act, whereas reconciliation is multilateral. The need for mutual forgiveness does not eliminate the need for justice and truth for they represent the requisites for reconciliation. There is a right to peace which must be respected by all.

It is through prayer that the Church fights for peace, especially in the Eucharistic celebration. This does not preclude, though, an active presence and work by the faithful in establishing peace, including the establishment of international judicial bodies. ┬áThe principle of universal jurisdiction applies, as does the principle of subsidiarity. The right to peace encourages a society in which there are structures of cooperation with a view to the common good. This peace, as Pope Paul VI said, “[i]s fostered by personal sacrifice, clemency, mercy and love.” (1976 World Day of Peace Message: AAS 67 [1975], 671)

For a more comprehensive discussion of this topic, refer to the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, 516-520.

About Deacon Bob

Moderator: Deacon Bob Yerhot of the Diocese of Winona-Rochester, Minnesota.
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