108 – Authentic Islam and the proper reading of the Koran are opposed to every form of violence. The Quran is a prophetic book of peace. (II)

In the first part of the study, we saw how the Redemption gave to man an abundance of grace, liberating him from sin, which is the true demolisher of peace. It was Christ, therefore, who brought peace to the earth and it is only within the religion He founded – the only dispenser of grace – that true peace is found, since peace is always a fruit of justice and charity. Christ is peace and his Church is the only element that guarantees it. Pius XII affirmed: “How far removed from procuring a secure peace are those who trample underfoot the sacred rights of the Catholic Church”….. which is precisely what Islam does!!!

Francis

 

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We Christians should embrace with affection and respect Muslim immigrants to our countries in the same way that we hope and ask to be received and respected in countries of Islamic tradition. I ask and I humbly entreat those countries to grant Christians freedom to worship and to practice their faith, in light of the freedom which followers of Islam enjoy in Western countries! Faced with disconcerting episodes of violent fundamentalism, our respect for true followers of Islam should lead us to avoid hateful generalisations, for authentic Islam and the proper reading of the Koran are opposed to every form of violence. (Apostolic exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, no. 253, November 24, 2013)

The Quran is a prophetic book of peace. (In-flight press conference from Istanbul to Rome, November 30, 2014)

Teachings of the Magisterium

Part I – Introductory doctrinal note: what is peace?

Part II – Christ is the Prince of peace

Part III – Islam and peace

Table of contents

II – Christ is the Prince of Peace

A – Peace came to the earth from Christ
B – True and stable peace is only found in Christ and the Religion He founded
C – The Catholic Religion, dispenser of grace through the Sacraments, is the only one who guarantees peace


II – Christ is the Prince of Peace

A – Peace came to the earth from Christ

Sacred Scripture
– A son is given us: the Prince of Peace
– From on high He will visit to guide our feet into the path of peace
– Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests

Saint Jerome
– Those of ‘good will’ are those who acknowledge the birth of Christ

Saint Cyril of Alexandria
– Christ is both our Peace and Goodwill

Saint Bernard of Clairvaux
– A child who holds the plenitude of the divinity: here peace exists

Benedict XVI
– True peace comes from Christ
– Wherever Christ is welcomed, islands of peace develop
– Peace in this world always remains weak and fragile for it implies opening our hearts to God

Sacred Scripture
– Christ made peace by the Blood of his cross
– The peace of Christ is not of the world

John Paul II
– The sacrifice of Christ on the cross is the price of peace, with victory over sin

Saint Augustine of Hippo
-To have peace it is necessary to be in accord with Christ, and not with the world

Origen
-Where Jesus is not, there are strifes and fightings

Sacred Scripture
– The fruit of the Spirit is peace
– Christ is our peace: he who broke down the dividing wall of enmity

Saint Gregory of Nyssa
– If we have Christ as peace, let us kill the enemy in ourselves – when the flesh’s prudence is subject to the divine law, we are transformed into a new peaceful man

Saint Bede the Venerable
-The perturbations on this earth show that the foundations of peace are constructed over sand

Vatican Council II (Ecumenical XXI)
– When men vanquish sin by a union of love, they vanquish violence as well
– That earthly peace which arises from love of neighbor is a symbol of and results from the peace of Christ

CELAM – Document of Medellin
– Human solidarity comes about only in Christ, who gives Peace that the world cannot give


B – True and stable peace is only found in Christ and the Religion He founded


Sacred Scripture
– The peace of God will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus
– We have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ

Benedict XVI
– Jesus builds the great new community of new men who place their will in his
– Christ is our true peace: in him there is but one family reconciled in love

Paul VI
– The reconciliation with God by Christ, and our peace coincide – one is the cause of the other

Saint Gregory Nazianzus
– Peace is a blessing commended by all, but observed by few – those who do not know God do not have peace

Pius XI
– The remedy for the ills which afflict society is the true peace of Christ in the Kingdom of Christ

Vatican Council II (Ecumenical XXI)
– The Church strengthens peace among men for the glory of God
– Peace results from that order structured into human society by its divine Founder
– The Church is like a standard lifted high for the nations to see

Benedict XVI
– If peace is to be authentic and lasting it must be built on the bedrock of the truth about God and the truth about man


C – The Catholic Religion, dispenser of grace through the Sacraments, is the only one who guarantees peace


Vatican Council II (Ecumenical XXI)
– The Church preaches the Gospel to all men and dispenses the treasures of grace ensuring peace
– The mission of the Church is to lead to the peace of Christ by the Sacraments and other means of grace

Saint Thomas Aquinas
– A Sacrament signifies the grace it communicates

Catechism of the Catholic Church
– The Sacraments are ‘of the Church’ in the double sense: they are ‘by her’ and ‘for her’
– The Sacraments are efficacious signs of grace

John Paul II
– When an interior transformation is achieved in the soul of each one, the way toward the ‘civilization of peace’ will be opened

Pius XI
– Christian peace dominates sinful passions and promotes the dignity of human life
– Only the Church, confided with Christ’s doctrine and the promise of His assistance, can bring about true peace today and secure it for the future
– True peace is impossible unless humans willingly accept the teachings and obey the law of Christ, divinely commissioned to the Church

Pius XII
– Peace can only be obtained from the principles and norms dictated by Christ and put into practice with sincere piety
– How far removed from procuring a secure peace are those who trample underfoot the sacred rights of the Catholic Church


II – Christ is the Prince of Peace


A – Peace came to the earth from Christ


Sacred Scripture

  • A son is given us: the Prince of Peace

For a child is born to us, a son is given us; upon his shoulder dominion rests. They name him Wonder-Counselor, God-Hero, Father-Forever, Prince of Peace. (Is 9:5)

  • From on high He will visit to guide our feet into the path of peace

Because of the tender mercy of our God by which the daybreak from on high will visit us to shine on those who sit in darkness and death’s shadow, to guide our feet into the path of peace. (Lk 1:78 – 79)

  • Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests

And suddenly there was a multitude of the heavenly host with the angel, praising God and saying: ‘Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.’ (Lk 2:13 – 14)

Saint Jerome

  • Those of ‘good will’ are those who acknowledge the birth of Christ

Notice what the Gospel says. In Heaven, where there is no discord, glory rules; on earth, where every day is warfare, peace prevails. On earth peace. Peace among whom? Among men. Why are the Gentiles without peace; why, too, the Jews? That is exactly the reason for the qualification: Peace among those of good will, among those who acknowledge the birth of Christ. (Saint Jerome. Homily 88: on the Nativity of Our Lord)

Saint Cyril of Alexandria

  • Christ is both our Peace and Goodwill

But we, wretched beings, by having set up our own lusts in opposition to the will of our Lord, had put ourselves into the position of enemies unto Him. But by Christ this has been done away: for He is our peace; for He has united us by Himself unto God the Father, having taken away from the middle the cause of the enmity, even sin, and so justifies us by faith, and makes us holy and without blame, and calls near unto Him those who were afar off: and besides this, He has created the two people into one new man, so making peace, and reconciling both in one body to the Father. For it pleased God the Father to form into one new whole all things in Him, and to bind together things below and things above, and to make those in heaven and those on earth into one flock. Christ therefore has been made for us both Peace and Goodwill. (Saint Cyril of Alexandria. Commentary upon the Gospel of Saint Luke, Sermon II, 2:8 – 18)

Saint Bernard of Clairvaux

  • A child who holds the plenitude of the divinity: here peace exists

Behold peace, not promised but sent, not deferred but conferred, not prophesied but presented. Behold, God the Father has sent to the earth, as it were, a sack filled with his mercy; a sack that must be cut to pieces in the passion so that it can pour out what is concealed in it for our ransom; a small sack, indeed, but stuffed full. A child has been given us, but in him dwells the whole fullness of divinity. When the plenitude of time arrived, the plenitude of divinity came also. (Saint Bernard of Clairvaux. Sermon I on the Epiphany of Our Lord: PL 183, 142 – 143English)

Benedict XVI

  • True peace comes from Christ

True peace comes from Christ (cf. Jn 14:27). It cannot be compared with the peace that the world gives. It is not the fruit of negotiations and diplomatic agreements based on particular interests. It is the peace of a humanity reconciled with itself in God, a peace of which the Church is the sacrament. (Benedict XVI. Apostolic exhortation Africae munus, no. 30, November 30, 2011)

  • Wherever Christ is welcomed, islands of peace develop

Et erit iste pax’ – this will be peace, the Prophet Micah says (Mic 5:4) about the future ruler of Israel, whose birth in Bethlehem he announces. The Angels said to the shepherds grazing their flocks in the fields around Bethlehem: ‘on earth peace among men’, the expected One has arrived (Lk 2:14). He himself, Christ, the Lord, said to his disciples: ‘Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you’ (Jn 14:27). It is from these words that the liturgical greeting developed: ‘Peace be with you’. This peace that is communicated in the liturgy is Christ himself. He gives himself to us as peace, as reconciliation beyond all frontiers. Wherever he is welcomed, islands of peace develop. (Benedict XVI. Address to the Roman Curia, December 22, 2006)

  • Peace in this world always remains weak and fragile for it implies opening our hearts to God

We human beings would have liked Christ to banish all wars once and for all, to destroy weapons and establish universal peace. But we have to learn that peace cannot be attained only from the outside with structures, and that the attempt to establish it with violence leads only to ever new violence. We must learn that peace – as the Angel of Bethlehem said – is connected with eudokia, with the opening of our hearts to God. We must learn that peace can only exist if hatred and selfishness are overcome from within. The human being must be renewed from within, must become new and different. Thus, peace in this world always remains weak and fragile. We suffer from this. For this very reason we are called especially to let ourselves be penetrated within by God’s peace and to take his power into the world. All that was wrought in and through the Sacrament of Baptism must be fulfilled in our lives: the dying of the former self, hence, the rebirth of the new. And we will pray to the Lord insistently over and over again: Please move hearts! Make us new people! Help the reason of peace to overcome the irrationality of violence! Make us bearers of your peace! (Benedict XVI. Address to the Roman Curia, December 22, 2006)

Sacred Scripture

  • Christ made peace by the Blood of his cross

For in him all the fullness was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile all things for him, making peace by the blood of his cross (through him), whether those on earth or those in heaven. (Col 1:19 – 20)

  • The peace of Christ is not of the world

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give it to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid. (Jn 14:27)

John Paul II

  • The sacrifice of Christ on the cross is the price of peace, with victory over sin

Christ is our peace (cf. Eph 2:14): it is He who has reconciled us with the Father; it is He who, re-pacifying man of all times with God, has reconciled humanity, marked with the inheritance of original sin. Assuming the guilt of the first Adam, through his death on the Cross, Jesus has abolished the ancient sin and, in this way, ‘where sin increased, grace overflowed all the more’ (Rom 5:20). His sacrifice is the price of this peace. (John Paul II. Homily for the World Day of Prayer for Peace in the Balkans, no. 3, January 23, 1994)

Saint Augustine of Hippo

  • To have peace it is necessary to be in accord with Christ, and not with the world

But when the Lord proceeded to say, ‘Not as the world gives, give I unto you’, what else does He mean but, Not as those give who love the world, give I unto you? For their aim in giving themselves peace is that, exempt from the annoyance of lawsuits and wars, they may find enjoyment, not in God, but in the friendship of the world; and although they give the righteous peace, in ceasing to persecute them, there can be no true peace where there is no real harmony, because their hearts are at variance. For as one is called a consort who unites his lot (sortem) with another, so may he be termed concordant whose heart has entered into a similar union. Let us, therefore, beloved, with whom Christ leaves peace, and to whom He gives His own peace, not after the world’s way, but in a way worthy of Him by whom the world was made, that we should be of one heart with Himself, having our hearts run into one, that this one heart, set on that which is above, may escape the corruption of the earth. (Saint Augustine of Hippo. Tractates on the Gospel of Saint John, Tractate 77, no. 5)

Origen

  • Where Jesus is not, there are strifes and fightings

Where Jesus is not, there are strifes and fightings; where He is, there is peace and all good things. (Origen quoted by Saint Thomas Aquinas. Catena Aurea in Mt 27:15 – 26)

Sacred Scripture

  • The fruit of the Spirit is peace

In contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. Now those who belong to Christ (Jesus) have crucified their flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also follow the Spirit. (Gal 5:22-25)

  • Christ is our peace: he who broke down the dividing wall of enmity

But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have become near by the blood of Christ. For he is our peace, he who made both one and broke down the dividing wall of enmity, through his flesh. (Eph 2:13-14)

Saint Gregory of Nyssa

  • If we have Christ as peace, let us kill the enemy in ourselves – when the flesh’s prudence is subject to the divine law, we are transformed into a new peaceful man

By understanding Christ as peace we will manifest the true name of Christian if we show Christ in our life by his peace: he destroyed the enemy, as the Apostle says (Eph 2.14). Let none of us hand over life to this enemy; rather, let us exhibit his death in our lives. Let us never incite to our soul’s detriment what God has slain for our salvation through anger and the recollection of injuries. If we followed this path, we would bring about a bad resurrection of what has been put to death. But if we have Christ who is peace, let us kill the enemy in ourselves; by believing in him we will follow him in our lives. Christ destroyed the intervening wall and formed one man in himself out of two, thereby making peace (Eph 2.14). Let us hasten to reconcile not only those fighting outside us but those rebelling within, that the flesh may no longer lust against the spirit and the spirit against the flesh (Gal 5.17). With the flesh’s prudence subjected to the divine law, we may enjoy peace within, having been transformed into one new peaceful man and with the two becoming one. The definition of peace is harmony of discordant elements. When the civil war in our nature is destroyed, we become peace by cultivating it and by showing the true, proper name of Christ. By understanding Christ as the true light (Jn 1.9) which has no part in falsehood, we learn that the rays of the true light must enlighten our lives. Virtues are the rays of the sun of righteousness emanating for our illumination. They banish works of darkness enabling us to walk becomingly in the day (Rom 13.12-13) after having renounced hidden, shameful works. With all our actions done in the light we become light itself so that we may illumine others about what befits the light. (Saint Gregory of Nyssa. Treaty on the perfect model of a Christian: PG 46, 259-262)

Saint Bede the Venerable

  • The perturbations on this earth show that the foundations of peace are constructed over sand

True peace, the only peace of souls in this world consists in being full of the love of God and encouraged by the hope of heaven, to the point of considering a small thing the success or losses of this world. […] They are mistaken who imagine that they may find peace in the enjoyment of the goods of this world and its riches. The frequent perturbations on this earth, and the end of this world should convince man that he has constructed his foundations of peace over sand. (Saint Bede the Venerable. Homilies, Book II. Homily 11, on the vigil of Pentecost: ML 94, 196-197)

Vatican Council II (Ecumenical XXI)

  • When men vanquish sin by a union of love, they vanquish violence as well

Insofar as men are sinful, the threat of war hangs over them, and hang over them it will until the return of Christ. But insofar as men vanquish sin by a union of love, they will vanquish violence as well and make these words come true: ‘They shall turn their swords into plough-shares, and their spears into sickles. Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more’ (Is 2:4). (Vatican Council II. Pastoral constitution Gaudium et spes, no. 78, December 7, 1965)

  • That earthly peace which arises from love of neighbor is a symbol of and results from the peace of Christ

That earthly peace which arises from love of neighbor symbolizes and results from the peace of Christ which radiates from God the Father. For by the cross the incarnate Son, the prince of peace reconciled all men with God. By thus restoring all men to the unity of one people and one body, He slew hatred in His own flesh; and, after being lifted on high by His resurrection, He poured forth the spirit of love into the hearts of men. For this reason, all Christians are urgently summoned to do in love what the truth requires, and to join with all true peacemakers in pleading for peace and bringing it about. (Vatican Council II. Pastoral constitution Gaudium et spes, no. 78, December 7, 1965)

CELAM – Document of Medellin

  • Human solidarity comes about only in Christ, who gives Peace that the world cannot give

Finally, peace is the fruit of love. It is the expression of true fraternity among men, a fraternity given by Christ, Prince of Peace, in reconciling all men with the Father. Human solidarity cannot truly take effect unless it is done in Christ, who gives Peace that the world cannot give. (Second Conference of the Episcopate of Latin American and the Caribbean. Medellin Document, II, 14, c, September 6, 1968)


2 – True and stable peace is only found in Christ and the Religion He founded


Sacred Scripture

  • The peace of God will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus

Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God. Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. (Phil 4:6 – 7)

  • We have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ

Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access (by faith) to this grace in which we stand, and we boast in hope of the glory of God. (Rom 5:1 – 2)

Benedict XVI

  • Jesus builds the great new community of new men who place their will in his

The stable becomes a palace – and setting out from this starting-point, Jesus builds the great new community, whose key-word the angels sing at the hour of his birth: ‘Glory to God in the highest, and peace on earth to those whom he loves’ – those who place their will in his, in this way becoming men of God, new men, a new world. (Benedict XVI. Homily for the Solemnity of the Nativity of the Lord, December 25, 2007)

  • Christ is our true peace: in him there is but one family reconciled in love

‘Peace is not merely the absence of war, and it is not limited to maintaining a balance of powers between adversaries. Peace cannot be attained on earth without safeguarding the goods of persons, free communication among men, respect for the dignity of persons and peoples, and the assiduous practice of fraternity’. We Christians believe that Christ is our true peace: in him, by his Cross, God has reconciled the world to himself and has broken down the walls of division that separated us from one another (cf. Eph 2:14 – 18); in him, there is but one family, reconciled in love. (Benedict XVI. Message for the celebration of the XLV World Day of Peace, no. 5, January 1, 2012)

Paul VI

  • The reconciliation with God by Christ, and our peace coincide – one is the cause of the other

For it reminds us all that the first and indispensable reconciliation to be achieved is reconciliation with God. For us believers there can be no other way to Peace than this. Indeed, in the definition of our salvation, reconciliation with God and our Peace coincide; one is the cause of the other. This is the work of Christ. He has repaired the break which sin produces in our vital relationship with God. We recall, among many, one of the phrases of Saint Paul in this regard: ‘It is all God’s work. It was God who reconciled us .to himself through Christ’ (2Cor 5:18). (Paul VI. Message for the celebration of the VIII World Day of Peace, January 1, 1975)

Saint Gregory Nazianzus

  • Peace is a blessing commended by all, but observed by few – those who do not know God do not have peace

Let us then reverence the gift of peace, which Christ when He departed hence left to us. Peace both in name and reality is sweet, which also we have heard to be of God, as it is said, The peace of God; and that God is of it, as He is our peace. Peace is a blessing commended by all, but observed by few. What then is the cause? Perhaps the desire of dominion or riches, or the envy or hatred of our neighbor, or some one of those vices into which we see men fall who know not God. For peace is peculiarly of God, who binds all things together in one, to whom nothing so much belongs as the unity of nature, and a peaceful condition. It is borrowed indeed by angels and divine powers, which are peacefully disposed towards God and one another. It is diffused through the whole creation, whose glory is tranquillity. But in us it abides in our souls indeed by the following and imparting of the virtues, in our bodies by the harmony of our members and organs, of which the one is called beauty, the other health. (Saint Gregory Nazianzus quoted by Saint Thomas Aquinas. Catena Aurea in Lk 24:36 – 40)

Pius XI

  • The remedy for the ills which afflict society is the true peace of Christ in the Kingdom of Christ

Is it to be wondered at then that, with the widespread refusal to accept the principles of true Christian wisdom, the seeds of discord sown everywhere should find a kindly soil in which to grow and should come to fruit in that most tremendous struggle, the Great War, which unfortunately did not serve to lessen but increased, by its acts of violence and of bloodshed, the international and social animosities which already existed? Up to this We have analyzed briefly the causes of the ills which afflict present-day society, the recital of which however, Venerable Brothers, should not cause us to lose hope of finding their appropriate remedy, since the evils themselves seem to suggest a way out of these difficulties.

First, and most important of all, for mankind is the need of spiritual peace. We do not need a peace that will consist merely in acts of external or formal courtesy, but a peace which will penetrate the souls of men and which will unite, heal, and reopen their hearts to that mutual affection which is born of brotherly love. The peace of Christ is the only peace answering this description: ‘let the peace of Christ rejoice in your hearts’ (Col 3:15). Nor is there any other peace possible than that which Christ gave to His disciples (Jn 14:27) for since He is God, He ‘beholdeth the heart’ (1Kings 16:7) and in our hearts His kingdom is set up. Again, Jesus Christ is perfectly justified when He calls this peace of soul His own for He was the first Who said to men, ‘all you are brethren’ (Mt 23:8). He gave likewise to us, sealing it with His own life’s blood, the law of brotherly love, of mutual forbearance – ‘This is my commandment, that you love one another, as I have loved you’ (Jn 15:12). ‘Bear ye one another’s burdens; and so you shall fulfill the law of Christ’ (Gal 6:2). From this it follows, as an immediate consequence, that the peace of Christ can only be a peace of justice according to the words of the prophet ‘the work of justice shall be peace’ (Is 22:17) for he is God ‘who judgest justice’ (Ps 9:5). But peace does not consist merely in a hard inflexible justice. It must be made acceptable and easy by being compounded almost equally of charity and a sincere desire for reconciliation. […] It is, therefore, a fact which cannot be questioned that the true peace of Christ can only exist in the Kingdom of Christ – ‘the peace of Christ in the Kingdom of Christ’. It is no less unquestionable that, in doing all we can to bring about the re-establishment of Christ’s kingdom, we will be working most effectively toward a lasting world peace. (Pius XI. Encyclical Ubi Arcano Dei consilio, no. 31 – 34.49, December 23, 1922)

Vatican Council II (Ecumenical XXI)

  • The Church strengthens peace among men for the glory of God

The Church herself makes use of temporal things insofar as her own mission requires it. She, for her part, does not place her trust in the privileges offered by civil authority. She will even give up the exercise of certain rights which have been legitimately acquired, if it becomes clear that their use will cast doubt on the sincerity of her witness or that new ways of life demand new methods. It is only right, however, that at all times and in all places, the Church should have true freedom to preach the faith, to teach her social doctrine, to exercise her role freely among men, and also to pass moral judgment in those matters which regard public order when the fundamental rights of a person or the salvation of souls require it. In this, she should make use of all the means – but only those – which accord with the Gospel and which correspond to the general good according to the diversity of times and circumstances. While faithfully adhering to the Gospel and fulfilling her mission to the world, the Church, whose duty it is to foster and elevate all that is found to be true, good and beautiful in the human community, strengthens peace among men for the glory of God. (Vatican Council II. Pastoral constitution Gaudium et spes, no. 76, December 7, 1965)

  • Peace results from that order structured into human society by its divine Founder

Peace is not merely the absence of war; nor can it be reduced solely to the maintenance of a balance of power between enemies; nor is it brought about by dictatorship. Instead, it is rightly and appropriately called an enterprise of justice. Peace results from that order structured into human society by its divine Founder, and actualized by men as they thirst after ever greater justice. The common good of humanity finds its ultimate meaning in the eternal law. But since the concrete demands of this common good are constantly changing as time goes on, peace is never attained once and for all, but must be built up ceaselessly. Moreover, since the human will is unsteady and wounded by sin, the achievement of peace requires a constant mastering of passions and the vigilance of lawful authority. (Vatican Council II. Pastoral constitution Gaudium et spes, no. 78, December 7, 1965)

  • The Church is like a standard lifted high for the nations to see

The Church, then, is God’s only flock; it is like a standard lifted high for the nations to see it: for it serves all mankind through the Gospel of peace as it makes its pilgrim way in hope toward the goal of the fatherland above. This is the sacred mystery of the unity of the Church, in Christ and through Christ, the Holy Spirit energizing its various functions. It is a mystery that finds its highest exemplar and source in the unity of the Persons of the Trinity: the Father and the Son in the Holy Spirit, one God. (Vatican Council II. Decree Unitatis redintegratio, no. 2, November 21, 1964)

Benedict XVI

  • If peace is to be authentic and lasting it must be built on the bedrock of the truth about God and the truth about man

For her part, the Church, in fidelity to the mission she has received from her Founder, is committed to proclaiming everywhere ‘the Gospel of peace’. In the firm conviction that she offers an indispensable service to all those who strive to promote peace, she reminds everyone that, if peace is to be authentic and lasting, it must be built on the bedrock of the truth about God and the truth about man. This truth alone can create a sensitivity to justice and openness to love and solidarity, while encouraging everyone to work for a truly free and harmonious human family. The foundations of authentic peace rest on the truth about God and man. (Benedict XVI. Message for the celebration of the XXXIX World Day of Peace, no. 15, January 1, 2006)


3 – The Catholic Religion, dispenser of grace through the Sacraments, is the only one who guarantees peace


Vatican Council II (Ecumenical XXI)

  • The Church preaches the Gospel to all men and dispenses the treasures of grace ensuring peace

Since, in virtue of her mission received from God, the Church preaches the Gospel to all men and dispenses the treasures of grace, she contributes to the ensuring of peace everywhere on earth and to the placing of the fraternal exchange between men on solid ground by imparting knowledge of the divine and natural law. Therefore, to encourage and stimulate cooperation among men, the Church must be clearly present in the midst of the community of nations both through her official channels and through the full and sincere collaboration of all Christians – a collaboration motivated solely by the desire to be of service to all. (Vatican Council II. Pastoral constitution Gaudium et spes, no. 89, December 7, 1965)

  • The mission of the Church is to lead to the peace of Christ by the Sacraments and other means of grace

The mission of the Church, therefore, is fulfilled by that activity which makes her, obeying the command of Christ and influenced by the grace and love of the Holy Spirit, fully present to all men or nations, in order that, by the example of her life and by her preaching, by the sacraments and other means of grace, she may lead them to the faith, the freedom and the peace of Christ; that thus there may lie open before them a firm and free road to full participation in the mystery of Christ. (Vatican Council II. Decree Ad gentes, no. 5, December 7, 1965)

Saint Thomas Aquinas

  • A Sacrament signifies the grace it communicates

A sacrament properly speaking is that which is ordained to signify our sanctification. In which three things may be considered; viz. the very cause of our sanctification, which is Christ’s passion; the form of our sanctification, which is grace and the virtues; and the ultimate end of our sanctification, which is eternal life. And all these are signified by the sacraments. Consequently a sacrament is a sign that is both a reminder of the past, i.e. the passion of Christ; and an indication of that which is effected in us by Christ’s passion, i.e. grace; and a prognostic, that is, a foretelling of future glory. (Saint Thomas Aquinas. Summa Theologica, III, q. 60, a. 3)

Catechism of the Catholic Church

  • The Sacraments are ‘of the Church’ in the double sense: they are ‘by her’ and ‘for her’

The sacraments are ‘of the Church’ in the double sense that they are ‘by her’ and ‘for her.’ They are ‘by the Church,’ for she is the sacrament of Christ’s action at work in her through the mission of the Holy Spirit. They are ‘for the Church’ in the sense that ‘the sacraments make the Church’ (Saint Augustine, De civ. Dei 22, 17; cf. Saint Thomas Aquinas, Sth III, 64, 2 ad 3) since they manifest and communicate to men, above all in the Eucharist, the mystery of communion with the God who is love, One in three persons. (Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 1118)

  • The sacraments are efficacious signs of grace

The sacraments are efficacious signs of grace, instituted by Christ and entrusted to the Church, by which divine life is dispensed to us. The visible rites by which the sacraments are celebrated signify and make present the graces proper to each sacrament. They bear fruit in those who receive them with the required dispositions. (Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 1131)

John Paul II

  • When an interior transformation is achieved in the soul of each one, the way toward the ‘civilization of peace’ will be opened

The Church has continually remembered that the Gospel of peace will arrive at the institutions passing through the hearts of the people; and that society will not be pacified if consciences have not been pacified first, liberating them from sin and from its social consequences. When this interior transformation is achieved in the soul of each one, there will be created, with the strength of life itself, new forms of social and cultural relations, and the way toward a ‘civilization of peace’ will be opened to the world. (John Paul II. Homily in Mendoza, Argentina, April 7, 1987)

Pius XI

  • Christian peace dominates sinful passions and promotes the dignity of human life

Of this peace of Christ, which dwells in our hearts and is, in effect, the love of God, We can repeat what the Apostle has said of the kingdom of God which also rules by love – ‘the kingdom of Christ is not meat and drink’ (Rom 14:17). In other words, the peace of Christ is not nourished on the things of earth, but on those of heaven. […] This does not mean that the peace of Christ, which is the only true peace, exacts of us that we give up all worldly possessions. On the contrary, every earthly good is promised in so many words by Christ to those who seek His peace: ‘Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his justice, and all these things shall be added unto you’ (Mt 6:33; Lk 7:31). This peace of Christ, however, surpasses all human understanding – ‘the peace of God which surpasseth all understanding’ (Phil 4:7), and for this very reason dominates our sinful passions and renders such evils as division, strife, and discord, which result solely from the unrestrained desire for earthly possessions, impossible. If the desire for worldly possessions were kept within bounds and the place of honor in our affections given to the things of the spirit, which place undoubtedly they deserve, the peace of Christ would follow immediately, to which would be joined in a natural and happy union, as it were, a higher regard for the value and dignity of human life. Human personality, too, would be raised to a higher level, for man has been ennobled by the Blood of Christ and made kin to God Himself by means of holiness and the bond of brotherly love which unites us closely with Christ, by prayer and by the reception of the Sacraments. (Pius XI. Encyclical Ubi arcano Dei consilio, no. 37 – 38, December 23, 1922)

  • Only the Church, confided with Christ’s doctrine and the promise of His assistance, can bring about true peace today and secure it for the future

If we stop to reflect for a moment that these ideals and doctrines of Jesus Christ, for example, his teachings on the necessity and value of the spiritual life, on the dignity and sanctity of human life, on the duty of obedience, on the divine basis of human government, on the sacramental character of matrimony and by consequence the sanctity of family life – if we stop to reflect, let Us repeat, that these ideals and doctrines of Christ (which are in fact but a portion of the treasury of truth which He left to mankind) were confided by Him to His Church and to her alone for safekeeping, and that He has promised that His aid will never fail her at any time for she is the infallible teacher of His doctrines in every century and before all nations, there is no one who cannot clearly see what a singularly important role the Catholic Church is able to play, and is even called upon to assume, in providing a remedy for the ills which afflict the world today and in leading mankind toward a universal peace. […] Since the Church is the safe and sure guide to conscience, for to her safe-keeping alone there has been confided the doctrines and the promise of the assistance of Christ, she is able not only to bring about at the present hour a peace that is truly the peace of Christ, but can, better than any other agency which We know of, contribute greatly to the securing of the same peace for the future, to the making impossible of war in the future. […] An attempt in this direction has already and is now being made; its results, however, are almost negligible and, especially so, as far as they can be said to affect those major questions which divide seriously and serve to arouse nations one against the other. (Pius XI. Encyclical Ubi Arcano Dei consilio, no. 41. 44. 45, December 23, 1922)

  • True peace is impossible unless humans willingly accept the teachings and obey the law of Christ, divinely commissioned to the Church

No merely human institution of today can be as successful in devising a set of international laws which will be in harmony with world conditions […] There exists an institution able to safeguard the sanctity of the law of nations. This institution is a part of every nation; at the same time it is above all nations. She enjoys, too, the highest authority, the fullness of the teaching power of the Apostles. Such an institution is the Church of Christ. She alone is adapted to do this great work, for she is not only divinely commissioned to lead mankind, but moreover, because of her very make-up and the constitution which she possesses, by reason of her age-old traditions and her great prestige, which has not been lessened but has been greatly increased since the close of the War, cannot but succeed in such a venture where others assuredly will fail. It is apparent from these considerations that true peace, the peace of Christ, is impossible unless we are willing and ready to accept the fundamental principles of Christianity, unless we are willing to observe the teachings and obey the law of Christ, both in public and private life. If this were done, then society being placed at last on a sound foundation, the Church would be able, in the exercise of its divinely given ministry and by means of the teaching authority which results there from, to protect all the rights of God over men and nations. (Pius XI. Encyclical Ubi Arcano Dei consilio, no. 45, 46 – 47, December 23, 1922)

Pius XII

  • Peace can only be obtained from the principles and norms dictated by Christ and put into practice with sincere piety

However, realizing that ‘every best gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights’ (Jas 1:17), We consider it opportune, Venerable Brothers, to call once again for public prayers and supplications to implore concord among peoples. It will be the care of your pastoral zeal not only to urge the souls committed to you to raise fervent prayers to God, but also to encourage them to works of penance and expiation, by which the Divine Majesty, which has been offended by so many grievous public and private crimes, can be appeased. Meanwhile, in accordance with your office, give notice to the faithful of this our paternal invitation; recall to them once more from what principles a just and lasting peace may issue and by what means it must be sought. Indeed, as you well know, it can only be obtained from the principles and norms dictated by Christ and put into practice with sincere piety. Such principles and norms, in fact, recall men to truth, justice and charity; they put a restraint on their unruly desires; they force the senses to be obedient to reason; they move the reason to obey God; they produce this effect, that all men, even those who are rulers of the peoples, may recognize the freedom that is due to religion, which, beyond its primary purpose of leading souls to eternal salvation, has also another, of safeguarding and protecting the very foundations of the State. (Pius XII. Encyclical Summi maeroris, no. 7 – 9, July 19, 1950)

  • How far removed from procuring a secure peace are those who trample underfoot the sacred rights of the Catholic Church

From what We have said so far, it is easy to conclude, Venerable Brothers, how far removed from procuring a secure peace are those who trample underfoot the sacred rights of the Catholic Church. They forbid her ministers the free exercise of religious worship. They even condemn them to exile and to prison. They impede or directly proscribe and destroy schools and institutes of education which are conducted according to Christian norms and principles. Through errors, calumnies and every kind of indecency, they draw the people, especially the tender youth, away from integrity of morals, from virtue and innocence, to the allurements of vice and corruption. […] You must teach all this with frankness; because only when the Christian commandments inform private and public life, only then may we rightly hope that, after human dissensions have been composed, the various classes of citizens, peoples and nations will live together in brotherly concord. (Pius XII. Encyclical Summi maeroris, no. 10, 13, July 19, 1950)


to be continued… Part III – Islam and peace

 

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