Encyclical Letter of Pope John XXIII:
On Establishing Universal Peace: In Truth, Justice, Charity, and Liberty
Order in the Universe
1. Peace on earth,
which all men of every era have most eagerly yearned for,
can be firmly established,
only if, the order laid down by God, be dutifully observed.
2. The progress of learning, and the inventions of technology,
clearly show that,
both in living things and in the forces of nature,
an astonishing order reigns;
And, they also bear witness to the greatness of man,
who can understand that order,
and create suitable instruments to harness those forces of nature,
and use them to his benefit.
3. But the progress of science and the inventions of technology,
show above all,
the Infinite Greatness of God,
Who created the universe and man himself.
He, created all things out of nothing, pouring into them,
the abundance of His wisdom and goodness,
so that, the holy psalmist praises God in these words:
"O Lord our Master, the majesty of thy Name fills all the earth" [Ps. 8:1].
Elsewhere he says:
"What diversity, Lord, in thy creatures!"
"What wisdom has designed them all!" [Ps. 103:24].
God also created man in His own image and likeness [Gen. 1:26],
endowed him with intelligence and freedom,
and made him lord of creation,
as the same psalmist declares in the words:
"Thou hast placed him only a little below the angels,
crowning him with glory and honor,
and bidding him rule over the works of thy hands.
Thou hast put all under his dominion"[Ps. 8:6-8].
Order in human beings
4. How strongly,
does the turmoil of individual men, and peoples, contrast,
with the perfect order of the universe!
It is as if the relationships, which bind them together,
could be controlled only by force.
5. But the Creator of the world has imprinted in man's heart, an order,
which his conscience revels to him, and enjoins him to obey:
This, shows that, the obligations of the Law, are written in their hearts; Their conscience utters its own testimony [ Rom. 2:15].
And, how could it be otherwise?
For, whatever God has made, shows forth His infinite wisdom,
and, it is manifested more clearly,
in the things which have greater perfection [Ps. 18:8-11].
6. But, fickleness of opinion, often produces this error;
That many think that, the relationships between men and States,
can be governed, by the same laws,
as the forces, and irrational elements of the universe;
Whereas, the laws governing them are quite a different kind;
And, are to be sought elsewhere, namely -
where the Father of all things wrote them,
that is, in the nature of man.
*[State Law and Social Law and Moral Law and Religious Law:]
7. By these laws, men are most admirably taught:
First of all,
how, they should conduct their mutual dealings among themselves;
how the relationships between the citizens,
and the public authorities of each State,
should be regulated;
how States should deal with one another,
on the one hand,
individual men and States,
and on the other hand,
the community of all peoples,
should act towards each other;
the establishment of such a community,
being urgently demanded today,
by the requirements of universal common good.
Order Between Men/Women
Every man/woman is a person with rights and duties:
8. First of all, it is necessary, to speak of the order,
which should exist between men -
[all men and women, all individuals, all humankind].
9. Any human society, if it is to be well ordered and productive,
must lay down, as a foundation, this principle, namely, that
every human being is a person,
that is, his/her nature, is endowed with intelligence and free will.
Indeed, precisely because, he/she is a person,
he/she has rights and obligations,
flowing directly and simultaneously, from his/her very nature [Pius XII}.
And, as these rights and obligations are universal,
and inviolable [never to be dishonored],
so they cannot, in any way, be surrendered.
10. If, we look upon the dignity of the human person,
in the light of divinely revealed truth,
we cannot help but esteem it far more highly;
For, men/women are redeemed, by the Blood of Jesus Christ,
they are by grace, the children and friends of God,
and heirs - of Eternal Glory.
* The right to life and a worthy standard of living
11. Beginning our discussion of the rights of man/woman [humankind],
we see that, every man/woman has the right to life,
to bodily integrity,
and to the means, which are suitable for proper development of life;
These, are primarily: food, clothing, shelter, rest, medical care,
and finally, the necessary social services.
Therefore, a human being, also has the right to security, in cases of: sickness, inability to work, widowhood, old age, unemployment,
or in any other case in which he/she is deprived -
of the means of subsistence [maintenance or livelihood],
through no fault of his/her own [Encycl. Divini Redemptoris].
Rights pertaining to Moral and Cultural Values
12. By the natural law, every human being,
has the right to respect - for his/her person,
and to his/her good reputation;
The right to freedom - in searching for truth,
and expressing and communicating his/her opinions,
and, in pursuit of art,
within the limits laid down by the moral order, and common good;
And, he/she has the right to be informed truthfully, about public events.
13. The natural law, also gives man/woman,
the right to share in the benefits of culture,
and therefore, the right to a basic education,
and to technical and professional training -
in keeping with the stage of educational development,
in the country to which he/she belongs.
Every effort should be made, to ensure that persons be enabled,
on the basis of merit, to go on to higher studies,
so that, as far as possible, they may occupy posts,
and take on responsibilities in human society,
in accordance with their natural gifts, and the skills they have acquired [Pius XII].
The Right to Worship God according to one's Conscience
14. This too, must be listed among the rights of a human being,
to honor God, according to the sincere dictates of his/her own conscience, and therefore, the right to practice his/her religion - privately and publicly.
For, as Lactantius so clearly taught:
"We were created for the purpose of showing to the God Who bore us,
the submission we owe Him,
of recognizing Him - alone, and of serving Him.
We are obliged and bound by this duty to God;
from this religion itself, receives its name" [Divinae Institutiones].
And, on this point Our Predecessor of Immortal memory, Leo XIII declared: "This genuine, this honorable freedom of the sons of God,
which most nobly protects the dignity of the human person,
is greater than any violence or injustice;
It has always been sought by the Church, and always most dear to her. This was the freedom, which the Apostles claimed, with intrepid constancy, which the apologists defended with their writings,
and which the martyrs, in such numbers, consecrated with their blood [Encycl. Libertas Praestantissimum, Acta Leonis XIII].
The Right to Choose Freely one's State of Life
15. Human beings, have the right to choose, freely,
the state of life which they prefer,
and therefore, the right to set up a family,
with equal rights and duties, for man and woman,
and also the right to follow a vocation,
to the priesthood or the religious life [Pius XII].
16. The family, grounded on marriage, freely contracted,
monogamous and indissoluble,
is and must be considered, the first and essential cell of human society.
From this, it follows, that most careful provision must be made
for the family, both in economic and social matters,
as well as, in those which are of a cultural and moral nature,
all of which look, to the strengthening of the family,
and helping it carry out its function.
17. Parents, however, have a prior right,
in the support and education of their children [Encycl. Casti Connubii of Pius XI, Puis XII].
18. If we turn our attention to the economic sphere,
it is clear that man/woman, has a right, by the natural law,
not only to an opportunity to work,
but also, to go about his/her work without coercion [Pius XII].
19. To these rights, is certainly joined,
the right to demand working conditions,
in which, physical health is not endangered, morals are safeguarded,
and young people's normal development is not impaired.
Women, have the right to working conditions,
in accordance with their requirements and their duties
as wives and mothers [Encycl. Rerum Novarum of Leo XIII].
20. From the dignity of the human person,
there also arises, the right to carry on economic activities,
according to the degree of responsibility of which one is capable
[Encycl. Mater et Magistra of John XXIII].
Furthermore, and this must be specially emphasized -
the worker has a right to a wage determined,
according to criterions of justice,
and sufficient, therefore, in proportion to the available resources,
to give the worker and his family, a standard of living,
in keeping with the dignity of the human person.
In this regard, Our Predecessor Pius XII said:
"To the personal duty to work imposed by nature,
there corresponds and follows, the natural right of each individual,
to make of his/her work the means to provide for his/her own life,
and the lives of his/her children;
So fundamental, is the law of nature,
which commands man to preserve his life.
21. The right to private property, even of productive goods, also,
derives from the nature of man.
This right, as We have elsewhere declared,
is an effective means for safeguarding the dignity of the human person, and for the exercise of responsibility, in all fields;
It strengthens and gives serenity to the family life,
thereby, increasing the peace and prosperity of the state [Encycl. Mater et Magistra].
22. However, it is opportune to point out,
that there is a social duty,
essentially inherent in the right of private property.
The Right of Meeting and Association
23. From the fact that human beings are by nature social,
there arises the right of assembly and association.
They have also the right to give the societies of which they are members, the form they consider most suitable for the aim they have in view,
and to act within such societies on their own initiative,
and on their own responsibility,
in order to achieve their desired objectives [Encycl. Rerum Novarum of Leo XIII Acta Leonis XIII].
24. And, as We Ourselves, in the encyclical Mater et Magistra,
have strongly urged, it is by all means necessary,
that a great variety of organizations and intermediate groups
be established, which are capable of achieving a goal,
which an individual cannot effectively attain by himself.
These societies and organizations,
must be considered the indispensable means,
to safeguard the dignity of the human person, and freedom,
while leaving intact a sense of responsibility.
The Right to Emigrate and Immigrate
25. Every human being,
has the right to freedom of movement, and of residence,
within the confines of his own country.
And, when there are just reasons for it
the right to emigrate to other countries, and take up residence there.
The fact that one is a citizen of a particular state,
does not detract in any way,
from his membership in the human family - as a whole;
Nor from his citizenship in the world community.
26. The dignity of the human person,
involves the right to take an active part in public affairs,
and to contribute one's part to the common good of the citizens.
For, as Our Predecessor of happy memory, Pius XII, pointed out:
"The human individual, far from being an object,
and, as it were, a merely passive element - in the social order,
is, in fact, must be and must continue to be,
its subject, its foundation, and its end".
27. The human person, is also entitled to a juridical protection of his rights,
a protection, that should be efficacious, impartial and inspired,
by the true norms of justice.
As Our Predecessor Pius XII teaches:
"That perpetual privilege, proper to man/woman,
by which every individual has a claim, to the protection of his/her rights, and by which there is assigned to each,
a definite and particular sphere of rights,
immune from all arbitrary attacks,
is the logical consequence of the order of justice willed by GOD.