Pacem In Terris 132-135: Inadequacy of Modern States to Ensure the Universal Common Good

First a word of hope:

132. No era will ever succeed in destroying the unity of the human family, for it consists of (people) who are all equal by virtue of their natural dignity. Hence there will always be an imperative need—born of (our) very (human) nature—to promote in sufficient measure the universal common good; the good, that is, of the whole human family.

It strikes me that Pope John alludes to something very basic to human nature, a God-given unity placed within our very being. To the extent that human unity and the working toward a common good is a divine spark, then all the racists and despots evil can throw at us will not achieve triumph over this aspect.

133. In the past rulers of States seem to have been able to make sufficient provision for the universal common good through the normal diplomatic channels, or by top-level meetings and discussions, treaties and agreements; by using, that is, the ways and means suggested by the natural law, the law of nations, or international law.

134. In our own day, however, mutual relationships between States have undergone a far reaching change. On the one hand, the universal common good gives rise to problems of the utmost gravity, complexity and urgency—especially as regards the preservation of the security and peace of the whole world. On the other hand, the rulers of individual nations, being all on an equal footing, largely fail in their efforts to achieve this, however much they multiply their meetings and their endeavors to discover more fitting instruments of justice. And this is no reflection on their sincerity and enterprise. It is merely that their authority is not sufficiently influential.

135. We are thus driven to the conclusion that the shape and structure of political life in the modern world, and the influence exercised by public authority in all the nations of the world are unequal to the task of promoting the common good of all peoples.

While the threat of nuclear catastrophe seems largely gone, the problem remains for many political leaders. They try hard … sometimes. They lack influence. Many lack true leadership. Even democracies are burdened with people “sold” into office, but unable to translate marketing into authentic results.

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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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