Pacem In Terris 8-10: Order Between People

Section I:

8. We must devote our attention first of all to that order which should prevail among (people).

9. Any well-regulated and productive association of (people) in society demands the acceptance of one fundamental principle: that each individual (human being) is truly a person. (Theirs) is a nature, that is, endowed with intelligence and free will. As such (people have) rights and duties, which together flow as a direct consequence from (their) nature. These rights and duties are universal and inviolable, and therefore altogether inalienable. (Cf. Pius XII’s broadcast message, Christmas 1942, AAS 35 (1943) 9-24; and John XXIII’s sermon, Jan. 4, 1963, AAS 55 (1963) 89-91)

The basic essence of a biological human being is personhood. Aspects of human society, therefore, from governments to corporations to workplaces to associations of peers, are obliged to adhere to this. And by extension, the respect of the rights of persons, as well as a recognition of their duties. Rights and duties stand together.

10. When, furthermore, we consider (human) personal dignity from the standpoint of divine revelation, inevitably our estimate of it is incomparably increased. (People) have been ransomed by the blood of Jesus Christ. Grace has made them (children) and friends of God, and heirs to eternal glory.

Pope John seems to adopt the notion of “for all” here. The human race has been redeemed by Christ. Jesus was our brother, and fully human. Therefore we are children of the Father, whether we recognize, embrace, or reject this. One does not cancel an act of salvation any more than we can deny our nature as human beings. Others cannot do it to us. We cannot do it to ourselves. It is the agency of God: we are created as human beings, and Christ binds us into the family of the Father.


About catholicsensibility

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