Catholic leaders, academics, and U.S. government officials addressed Catholic peacebuilding and U.S. foreign policy at a major conference, Peacebuilding 2013: Pacem in Terris at 50, April 9-10, at The Catholic University of America in Washington, DC.
Fifty years ago, Pacem in terris broke new ground by elaborating an approach to peace and engagement in the world that went beyond merely avoiding violence. Using human rights as a foundation for a vision of peace that involves authentic development and a just world order, Pacem in terris catalyzed what has become a vibrant and broad engagement in peacebuilding by Catholic actors around the world and at all levels.
In his keynote address, Cardinal Peter Turkson, President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, issued a call to those present: “The pressing question now is the manner in which everyone of good will may make peacebuilding their own personal practice, rather than leaving it to a few in high office.” He continued, “Proper arrangements between nations and careful observance of others’ rights are essential in this globalized era, but they are not enough. We must also build bridges of true dialogue and true fraternity if we are to build peace.”
Maryann Cusimano Love of Catholic University’s Institute for Policy Research & Catholic Studies and the Catholic Peacebuilding Network noted that “the purpose of the conference was to bring together a wide variety of Catholic institutions to commemorate Pacem in terris as a living document that reminds us of the special responsibility we have as Catholics in the United States to ensure that our nation uses its enormous power and influence to be a force for peace around the world.” Continue reading