VATICAN CITY, JULY 4, 2002 (Zenit.org).- John Paul II has turned to a 1963 encyclical for inspiration for the theme of the next World Day of Peace.
The theme of the 36th World Day, to be observed Jan. 1, is “‘Pacem in Terris’: A Constant Endeavor.”
In a statement, the Vatican Press Office explained that the Pope wishes to commemorate the 40th anniversary of this encyclical written by Blessed John XXIII.
“The Message will recall the four foundations of peace in light of the present circumstances,” the text explained, namely: truth, justice, charity and liberty (see “Pacem in Terris,” 89).
“‘Pacem in Terris’ was the first encyclical in which a Pontiff not only addressed Catholics but all ‘men of good will,'” the Vatican explanatory note stated.
By emphasizing “the bonds that unite man with God,” John XXIII with this encyclical “was laying the spiritual and cultural foundations of new forms of political organization, with the conviction of the natural and equal dignity of human beings,” the note added.
“These new forms should seek the universal common good and, thanks to a public and world authority, protect and promote fundamental human rights,” the statement continues.
“In this connection, the Message of the 2003 World Day of Peace will call attention to the precarious state of peace in the world and encourage all to a wise reading of the signs of the times and to more careful consideration of the values necessary to construct genuine human coexistence,” the note says.
“Aware of the concerns stemming from the accentuation of terrorism and other forms of fratricidal struggle, John Paul II recalls the perennial timeliness of these fundamental values and will make an appeal for a new and courageous commitment in favor of peace,” the statement concludes.