Life in Christ
Respect for and development of human life require peace.
Peace is not merely the absence of war, and it is not limited to
maintaining a balance of powers between adversaries. Peace can
not be attained on earth without safeguarding the goods of per
sons, free communication among men, respect for the dignity of
persons and peoples, and the assiduous practice of fraternity. Peace
is “the tranquillity of order.”
Peace is the work of justice and the
effect of charity.
Earthly peace is the image and fruit of the peace of Christ,
the messianic “Prince of Peace.”
By the blood of his Cross, “in
his own person he killed the hostility,”
he reconciled men with
God and made his Church the sacrament of the unity of the human
race and of its union with God. “He is our peace.”
declared: “Blessed are the peacemakers.”
Those who renounce violence and bloodshed and, in order
to safeguard human rights, make use of those means of defense
available to the weakest, bear witness to evangelical charity, pro
vided they do so without harming the rights and obligations of
other men and societies. They bear legitimate witness to the gravity
of the physical and moral risks of recourse to violence, with all its
destruction and death.
The fifth commandment forbids the intentional destruc
tion of human life. Because of the evils and injustices that accom
pany all war, the Church insistently urges everyone to prayer and
to action so that the divine Goodness may free us from the ancient
bondage of war.
All citizens and all governments are obliged to work for
the avoidance of war.
98 St. Augustine,
De civ. Dei,
19, 13, 1: PL 41, 640.
78 §§ 1-2.
2:16 J.B.; cf.
78 § 5.
81 § 4.