In his Message for the World Day of Peace, January 1, 2005, which was published today, Pope John Paul II stressed that the common good of human society requires not only socio-economic well being, but a transcendent dimension based in God.
The message, whose theme is Saint Paul’s exhortation to the Romans 'Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good' (12:21), states that "peace is a good to be promoted with good: it is a good for individuals, for families, for nations and for all humanity."Evil and the universal moral law
The Pope addresses the question of the existence of evil, explaining that it “is not some impersonal, deterministic force at work in the world. It is the result of human freedom. Evil always has a name and a face: the name and face of those men and women who freely choose it. ... Each of these choices has an intrinsic moral dimension."
"At its deepest level,” states the Pope, “evil is a tragic rejection of the demands of love. Moral good, on the other hand, is born of love, shows itself as love and is directed towards love."
The Pope points to " the spread of various social and political manifestations of evil: from social disorders to anarchy and war, from injustice to acts of violence and killing” present in the world, and states that “to steer a path between the conflicting claims of good and evil, the human family urgently needs to preserve and esteem that common patrimony of moral values bestowed by God himself."
"This common grammar of the moral law requires ever greater commitment and responsibility in ensuring that the life of individuals and of peoples is respected and advanced. In this light, the evils of a social and political nature which afflict the world, particularly those provoked by outbreaks of violence, are to be vigorously condemned,” he stated.
The Holy Father highlighted “the beloved continent of Africa, ... or the dangerous situation of Palestine, the Land of Jesus, ... the troubling phenomenon of terrorist violence, which appears to be driving the whole world towards a future of fear and anguish, ... the drama unfolding in Iraq, which has given rise to tragic situations of uncertainty and insecurity for all," as examples of the crisis of evil current in the world.The common good
John Paul II said that "when the common good is promoted at every level, peace is promoted. ... Each person, in some way, is called to work for the common good, constantly looking out for the good of others as if it were his own. This responsibility belongs in a particular way to political authorities at every level," he affirmed.
He noted that "certain reductive visions of humanity tend to present the common good as a purely socio-economic state of well-being lacking any transcendent purpose, thus emptying it of its deepest meaning. Yet,” he underscored, “the common good has a transcendent dimension, for God is the ultimate end of all His creatures."Peace and economic justice
Turning to the economic sphere he stated: "Since the good of peace is closely linked to the development of all peoples, the ethical requirements for the use of the earth's goods must always be taken into account."
He said that "the good of peace will be better ensured if the international community takes on greater responsibility for what are commonly called public goods" such as "the judiciary system, the defense system and the network of highways and railways."
"The tragedy of poverty remains closely linked to the issue of the foreign debt of poor countries," reaffirmed the Holy Father.
"What is urgently needed is a moral and economic mobilization. ... New impulse should be given to Public Aid for Development, and new forms of financing for development should be explored, whatever the difficulties entailed," he said.
The Pope recalled that his “Apostolic Letter Novo Millennio Ineunte, addressed the need for “a new creativity in charity,” especially when considering “the many difficult problems standing in the way of development in Africa: numerous armed conflicts, pandemic diseases aggravated by extreme poverty, and political instability leading to widespread insecurity."Christian hope and love
"Based on the certainty that evil will not prevail,” said the Pope, “Christians nourish an invincible hope which sustains their efforts to promote justice and peace."
He emphasized that "no man or woman of good will can renounce the struggle to overcome evil with good. This fight can be fought effectively only with the weapons of love. When good overcomes evil, love prevails and where love prevails, there peace prevails."
"Christians,” stated the Pope in conclusion “should show by their lives that love is the only force capable of bringing fulfillment to persons and societies, the only force capable of directing the course of history in the way of goodness and peace."