Notable quotations from Pope John Paul II and official teachings of the Roman Catholic Church
There will be peace only to the extent that humanity as a whole rediscovers its fundamental calling to be one family, a family in which the dignity and rights of individuals —whatever their status, race or religion — are accepted as prior and superior to any kind of difference or distinction.
Christ came to unite what was divided, to destroy sin and hatred, and to reawaken in humanity the vocation to unity and brotherhood... He is "the source and model of that renewed humanity, imbued with brotherly love, sincerity, and a peaceful spirit..." (Vatican II).
No one should be deceived into thinking that the simple absence of war, as desirable as it is, is equivalent to lasting peace. There is no true peace without fairness, truth, justice and solidarity.
Failure awaits every plan which would separate two indivisible and interdependent rights: the right to peace and the right to an integral development born of solidarity.
The one issue which most challenges our human and Christian consciences is the poverty of countless millions of men and women. This situation becomes all the more tragic when we realize that the major economic problems of our times do not depend on a lack of resources but on the fact that present economic, social and cultural structures are ill-equipped to meet the demands of genuine development.
"The advancement of the poor constitutes a great opportunity for the moral, cultural and even economic growth of all humanity" (Encyclical Centesimus annus). Let us look at the poor not as a problem, but as people who can become the principal builders of a new and more humane future for everyone.
The very fact that humanity, called to form a single human family, is still tragically split in two by poverty ... means that there is an urgent need to reconsider the models which inspire development policies.
More than a billion four hundred million people are living in a situation of dire poverty.
For the Catholic faithful, the commitment to build peace and justice is not secondary but essential. It is to be undertaken in openness towards their brothers and sisters of other Churches and Ecclesial Communities, towards the followers of other religions, and towards all men of good will...
(Source: Message for World Day of Peace, issued December 8, 1999)
Published by: Presentation Ministries, 3230 McHenry Ave., Cincinnati, OH 45211, (513) 662-5378, www.presentationministries.com