Pacem In Terris 86-89: In Truth

What serve the human race as basic principles for interpersonal conduct, applies as well to nations:

86. The first point to be settled is that mutual ties between States must be governed by truth. Truth calls for the elimination of every trace of racial discrimination, and the consequent recognition of the inviolable principle that all States are by nature equal in dignity. Each of them accordingly has the right to exist, to develop, and to possess the necessary means and accept a primary responsibility for its own development. Each is also legitimately entitled to its good name and to the respect which is its due.

And as we know from experience, this is very difficult at times within the Church, where there is often a grave lack of respect among groups and constituencies. At any rate, Truth is indeed a core value. And people, though different, are entitled to that basic respect. And those more talented and gifted? Their responsibilities are greater:

87. As we know from experience, (people) frequently differ widely in knowledge, virtue, intelligence and wealth, but that is no valid argument in favor of a system whereby those who are in a position of superiority impose their will arbitrarily on others. On the contrary, such (people) have a greater share in the common responsibility to help others to reach perfection by their mutual efforts.

It is true for gifted nations:

88. So, too, on the international level: some nations may have attained to a superior degree of scientific, cultural and economic development. But that does not entitle them to exert unjust political domination over other nations. It means that they have to make a greater contribution to the common cause of social progress.

Natural dignity makes us equals:

89. The fact is that no one can be by nature superior to (any other), since all (people) are equally noble in natural dignity. And consequently there are no differences at all between political communities from the point of view of natural dignity. Each State is like a body, the members of which are human beings. And, as we know from experience, nations can be highly sensitive in matters in any way touching their dignity and honor; and with good reason.


About catholicsensibility

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