Pacem in Terris - Common Good of the Entire Human Family

In his landmark encyclical on peace, Pacem in Terris, Pope John XXIII gave special attention to the "characteristics of the present day" and "signs of the times." Almost 20 years after the end of World War II, Pope John witnessed the after effects of centuries of European colonialism.  Newly independent nation states in Asia and Africa were taking initial steps toward economic development and prosperity.  As he observed, "soon no nation will rule over another and none will be subjected to alien power" (PT 42).

Drawing upon the teaching of his predecessor Pope Piux XII that "smaller States have the right of assuring their own economic development," (PT 124) John exhorts wealthier states to provide assistance to poorer states while respecting their national characteristics and repudiating "any policy of domination" (PT 125).

Since relationships between States must be regulated in accordance with the principles of truth and justice, States must further these relationships by taking positive steps to pool their material and spiritual resources. In many cases this can be achieved by all kinds of mutual collaboration; and this is already happening in our own day in the economic, social, political, educational, health and athletic spheres—and with beneficial results. We must bear in mind that of its very nature civil authority exists, not to confine men within the frontiers of their own nations, but primarily to protect the common good of the State, which certainly cannot be divorced from the common good of the entire human family. (PT 98)

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