Pacem In Terris 6-7: Mischief Frustrates Good Order

Let’s continue our look at the “Order in Human Beings,” which concludes this introductory section of Pope John’s encyclical:

6. But the mischief is often caused by erroneous opinions. Many people think that the laws which govern (people’s) relations with the State are the same as those which regulate the blind, elemental forces of the universe. But it is not so; the laws which govern (human beings) are quite different. The Father of the universe has inscribed them in (human) nature, and that is where we must look for them; there and nowhere else.

7. These laws clearly indicate how a (person) must behave toward (others) in society, and how the mutual relationships between the members of a State and its officials are to be conducted. They show too what principles must govern the relations between States; and finally, what should be the relations between individuals or States on the one hand, and the world-wide community of nations on the other. (C)ommon interests make it imperative that at long last a world-wide community of nations be established.

There’s a good bit on which to comment here. Paragraph 6 suggests that people of politics as well as people of faith really must be students of human nature. And one of the key points of this time in the church, which I think we haven’t really absorbed, is that human nature is malleable and adaptable to various circumstances. Paragraph 7 picks up on this. Mutual relationships must be nurtured. And what works in one relationship (husband and wife, for example) may not work for another (client and provider, for example).

Human beings do share common interests, however. And since the world of 2013 is much more deeply connected than that of fifty years ago, I suspect this is more true than ever, despite the howlings from individualists.

Your comments?


About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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