From the Second Vatican Council’s pastoral constitution “Gaudium et spes” on the Church in the modern world
The duty of Christians to build peace
Christians should co-operate, willingly and wholeheartedly, in building an international order based on genuine respect for legitimate freedom and on a brotherhood of universal friendship. This is all the more urgent because the greater part of the world still experiences such poverty that in the voices of the poor Christ himself can be heard, crying out for charity from his followers. There are nations, many of them with a Christian majority, which enjoy an abundance of goods, while others are deprived of the necessities of life, and suffer from hunger, disease and all kinds of afflictions. This scandal must be removed from among men, for the glory of Christ’s Church and its testimony to the world are the spirit of poverty and the spirit of love.
Christians, especially young Christians, deserve praise and support when they offer themselves voluntarily in the service of other people and other nations. Indeed, it is the duty of all God’s people, with bishops giving a lead by word and example, to do all in their power to relieve the sufferings of our times, following the age-old custom of the Church in giving not only what they can spare but also what they need for themselves.
Without being uniform or inflexible, a method of collecting and distributing contributions should be established in each diocese and nation and on a world-wide level. Wherever it seems appropriate, there should be joint action between Catholics and other Christians. The spirit of charity, far from forbidding prudence and orderliness in social and charitable action, in fact demands them. Those intending to serve the developing countries must therefore undergo appropriate and systematic training.
In order to foster and encourage cooperation among men, the Church must be present and active in the community of nations. It must work through its own public organisations with the full and sincere cooperation of all Christians in their one desire to serve all mankind.
This end will be more effectively achieved if the faithful are themselves conscious of their human and Christian responsibilities and seek to awaken among those in their own walk of life a readiness to co-operate with the international community. Special care should be taken to give this kind of formation to young people in their religious and secular education.
Finally, it is to be hoped that, in carrying out their responsibilities in the international community, Catholics will seek to co-operate actively and constructively with other Christians, who profess the same Gospel of love, and with all men who hunger and thirst for true peace.
Behold, I come from the south: I, the Lord your God, will visit you in peace.
I will look on you with favour, I will make you fruitful and increase your numbers: I will give my covenant with you its full effect. I, the Lord your God, will visit you in peace.
Let us pray.
God of power and mercy,
by whose grace your people give you praise and worthy service,
save us from faltering
on our way to the joys you have promised.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.