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Remembering Pacem in Terris, 50 years on

The Cold War encyclical was to all men of good will, not just Catholics

  • J.J.Ziegler for Catholic World Report
  • International
  • June 18, 2013
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On April 11, 1963, The Beverly Hillbillies was the top television show in the United States, works by J. D. Salinger and John Steinbeck topped the fiction and nonfiction bestseller lists, and the lead headline in the New York Times was “Atom Submarine with 129 Lost in Depths 220 Miles Off Boston; Oil Slick Seen Near Site of Dive.” The Chiffons’ “He’s So Fine” was the nation’s most popular song; It Happened at the World’s Fair, starring Elvis Presley, was the most popular movie. And Blessed John XXIII issued Pacem in Terris (“Peace on Earth”), the first papal encyclical addressed not only to the Catholic faithful, but also to all men of good will.

“By addressing an encyclical on peace to all men of good will, John XXIII was not merely being good Pope John,” says Mary Ann Glendon, president of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences and the Learned Hand Professor of Law at Harvard Law School. “He was insisting that the responsibility for setting conditions for peace does not just belong to the great and powerful of the world—it belongs to each and every one of us. That’s crystal clear in the closing paragraphs where he says, ‘There is an immense task incumbent on all men of good will’—the task ‘of bringing about true peace in the order established by God.’ It’s ‘an imperative of duty; a requirement of love.’”

Full Story: Pacem in Terris at 50 

Source: Catholic World Report

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