Peace on Earth

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In 2013, on the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of the Encyclical Letter Pacem in Terris, the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace promoted several broad initiatives to study the text and reflect on its contemporary relevance. One of these was to prepare an extensive volume published by the Vatican Printing House entitled Il concetto di pace. Attualità della Pacem in terris nel 50° anniversario (1963-2013), The concept of peace: the relevance of Pacem in Terris 50 years later (1963-2013). The Pontifical Council also organised a Three-day conference in Rome, 2-4 October 2013. The study and reflection centred on the main aspects of the document’s relevance today: the education of new generations of Catholics to be involved in politics, the role of International Organisations in promoting the universal common good, and the new challenges of peace. These three commemorative days drew a large number of leading scholars, commentators and experts from all over the world.

On 3 October, Pope Francis received the participants in audience. Taking up the central issues of the Encyclical, the Pope asked,

What is the foundation of building peace? Pacem in Terris makes us recall this: it consists in the divine origin of man, of society and of authority itself which calls individuals, families, different social groups and States to live out relations of justice and solidarity. It is the duty of all men and women to build peace following the example of Jesus Christ, through these two paths: promoting and exercising justice with truth and love; everyone contributing, according to his means, to integral human development following the logic of solidarity. [1]

Here we have the central lesson for our times, times that are so ravaged by the bitterest of conflicts, not only of the armed sort but, broadly speaking, social, personal and interpersonal.

About three years after that Conference, the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace is publishing the proceedings. Peace on Earth. The relevance of the message of Pacem in Terris today (LEV 2016) .


The volume, 450 pages, is available in Libreria Editrice Vaticana corner shops, in Catholic bookstores, and can easily be found in online stores. You can also purchase it by e-mail writing to: 

For more information write to:


[1] Pope Francis, Address to participants at the meeting organised by the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace on the 50th anniversary of Pacem in Terris, Clementine Hall, Thursday 3 October 2013 <>.