From the Second Vatican Council's pastoral constitution "Gaudium et spes" on the Church in the modern world
|We must re-educate our minds towards peace|
Men must not be content simply to support the efforts of others in the work for peace; they must also scrutinize their own attitudes. Statesmen, responsible as they are for the common good of their own nation and at the same time for the well-being of the whole world, are very much dependent on the opinions and convictions of the general public. Their efforts to secure peace are of no avail as long as men are divided or set against each other by feelings of hostility, contempt and distrust, by racial hatred or by inflexible ideologies. There is then a very great and urgent need to re-educate men and to provide fresh inspiration in the field of public opinion.
Those engaged in education, especially among young people, and those who influence public opinion, should consider it a very serious responsibility to work for the re-education of mankind to a new attitude toward peace. We must all undergo a change of heart. We must look out on the whole world and see the tasks that we can all do together to promote the well-being of the family of man. We must not be misled by a false sense of hope. Unless antagonism and hatred are abandoned, unless binding and honest agreements are concluded, safeguarding universal peace in the future, mankind, already in grave peril, may well face in spite of its marvelous advance in knowledge that day of disaster when it knows no other peace than the awful peace of death.
In saying this, however, the Church of Christ, living as it does in the midst of these anxious times, continues unwaveringly in hope. Time and again, in season and out of season, it seeks to proclaim to our age the message of the Apostle: Now is the hour of God’s favour, the hour for a change of heart; now is the day of salvation.
To build peace, the causes of human discord which feed the fires of war must first be eliminated, and among these especially the violations of justice. Many of these causes are due to gross economic inequality and delay in providing necessary remedies. Others arise from a spirit of domination and from a contempt for others, and, among more fundamental causes, from human envy, distrust, pride and other forms of selfishness. Since man cannot bear so many violations of due order, the result is that, even where war does not rage, the world is constantly plagued by human conflict and acts of violence.
The same evils are also found in relations between nations. It is therefore absolutely necessary that international institutions should co-operate more effectively, more resolutely and with greater coordination of effort, in order to overcome or prevent these evils, and to check unbridled acts of violence. There must also be constant encouragement for the creation of organisations designed to promote peace.