EG 217-219: The Common Good and Peace in Society

Vasnetsov_Maria_MagdaleneLet’s look at three sections of Evangelii Gaudium. In this subsection of chapter Four, we’ll start looking at “The Common Good and Peace in Society.” This topic will cover twenty-one numbered sections–that looks like about two weeks of posts.

217. We have spoken at length about joy and love, but the word of God also speaks about the fruit of peace (cf. Gal 5:22).

Not to mention Psalm 85:9.

Peace is not considered from a negative, that is, a lack of war or violence or argument among people:

218. Peace in society cannot be understood as pacification or the mere absence of violence resulting from the domination of one part of society over others. Nor does true peace act as a pretext for justifying a social structure which silences or appeases the poor, so that the more affluent can placidly support their lifestyle while others have to make do as they can. Demands involving the distribution of wealth, concern for the poor and human rights cannot be suppressed under the guise of creating a consensus on paper or a transient peace for a contented minority. The dignity of the human person and the common good rank higher than the comfort of those who refuse to renounce their privileges. When these values are threatened, a prophetic voice must be raised.

219. Nor is peace “simply the absence of warfare, based on a precarious balance of power; it is fashioned by efforts directed day after day towards the establishment of the ordered universe willed by God, with a more perfect justice among (people)”.[Populorum Progressio 76] In the end, a peace which is not the result of integral development will be doomed; it will always spawn new conflicts and various forms of violence.

Peace is not imposed from above upon a trampled and passive populace. It’s a common enough bumper sticker, but justice is essential for long-lasting peace. Otherwise, we just talking temporary pacification.

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About catholicsensibility

Todd and his family live in Ames, Iowa. He serves a Catholic parish of both Iowa State students and town residents.
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