Resources on Faith, Ethics and Public Life

Pacem in Terris (Peace on Earth)

April 11, 1963

Pacem in Terris, Pope John XXIII's final encyclical, reinterprets fundamental Christian precepts such as the dignity of the person and the inviolability of human rights and is the first encyclical addressed to "all men of good will." In it, John presses for an end to the Cold War and refutes the notion that Marxism is inherently antithetical to Christianity, but argues that its precepts frequently have been misinterpreted. John praises the progress of workers' rights, the emancipation of women, and the self-determination of newly independent nation-states, insisting that the role of government is to further human rights and the common good. John lauds the United Nations and its Universal Declaration on Human Rights, and he argues that international political authorities will be increasingly important in an era of growing interdependence. Finally, he calls upon Catholics to actively participate in political life and cooperate with non-Catholics in achieving social and economic ends.

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