VATICAN CITY, JAN. 8, 2003 (Zenit.org).- A new book published y the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace contains John Paul II’s addresses to the Diplomatic Corps between 1978 and 2002.
“John Paul II and the Family of Nations” is dedicated to the late Vietnamese Cardinal François Xavier Nguyên Van Thuân, a former president of the council.
Bishop Giampaolo Crepaldi, council secretary, supervised the publication of the volume, which is issued by Vatican Press. The work will soon appear in a number of languages.
“When John Paul II speaks to the diplomats, he goes beyond their persons; his speech is addressed to everyone because the universal vocation of the Church concerns all people,” Bishop Crepaldi told ZENIT in this interview.
Author of the book’s introduction, Bishop Crepaldi added: “The Holy See’s action is addressed above all to consciences; it has no interests to defend, except those of justice and of a solidarity without limits, and this enables it to support the cause of those who suffer and whose voice cannot be heard.”
Q: The Church’s universal intervention might be seen as interference in the sovereignty of some states.
Bishop Crepaldi: Today, sovereignty in the political sense is proper to states, but the Holy Father underlines its origin, which stems from moral and cultural sovereignty. The state is the expression of the sovereign self-determination of peoples and nations; its moral authority consists of this.
For the Pope, sovereignty is the expression of the good of persons and peoples. The Holy See’s diplomatic activity is concerned with the internal relations of a nation, which the Church interlaces with persons. The Holy Father has specified many times that “the Church and the Holy See in no way wish to impose judgments or precepts, but only to offer testimony of their concept of man and history, which they know come from divine Revelation.”
Q: Why was the book entitled “John Paul II and the Family of Nations”?
Bishop Crepaldi: The Holy Father’s addresses to the Diplomatic Corps may be interpreted as examples of the social magisterium of the Supreme Pontiff. And even before referring to the social doctrine of the Church, the Holy Father expresses the love of God toward men.
The Pope addresses individuals, peoples and nations as a father addresses his children, concerned with their good, concentrated on alerting them to dangers, motivated by a profound desire for a better future for them.
The horizon on which the addresses to the Diplomatic Corps are situated is the love of God for men and, therefore, that of the relation between the Church and the world — a relation of service, not of power.
Q: What are the main topics of the Holy Father’s addresses?
Bishop Crepaldi: The topic of the unity of the human family is a theme that is always present in the addresses. For the Holy Father, humanity is only one family. In addition, there is religious liberty and peace.
In regard to religious liberty, the Holy Father has repeatedly pointed out the sad situations of countries in which Christians cannot freely profess their own faith. “There is a country in which Christian worship is absolutely prohibited and to possess a Bible is an offense punishable by law,” he said in 1999.
On peace, John Paul II has underlined on many occasions that it is not conceived as an absence of war, but as containing the good of the human community.
John Paul II says: “God inscribes the moral law in the heart of man. God wants an existence based on justice. God makes brothers of men called to form only one family. God is the inspirer of peace through the Holy Spirit.
“However, it is also true that peace is the fruit of free wills, guided by reason toward the common good that must be attained. (…) War is not a fatality: peace is possible! It is possible because man has a conscience and a heart. It is possible because God loves each one of us, as we are, to transform us and make us grow.”