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Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace

Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace

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The Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace (Justitia et Pax) is a part of the Roman Curia
Roman Curia
The Roman Curia is the administrative apparatus of the Holy See and the central governing body of the entire Catholic Church, together with the Pope...

 dedicated to "action-oriented studies" for the international promotion of justice
Justice
Justice is a concept of moral rightness based on ethics, rationality, law, natural law, religion, or equity, along with the punishment of the breach of said ethics; justice is the act of being just and/or fair.-Concept of justice:...

, peace
Peace
Peace is a state of harmony characterized by the lack of violent conflict. Commonly understood as the absence of hostility, peace also suggests the existence of healthy or newly healed interpersonal or international relationships, prosperity in matters of social or economic welfare, the...

, and human rights
Human rights
Human rights are "commonly understood as inalienable fundamental rights to which a person is inherently entitled simply because she or he is a human being." Human rights are thus conceived as universal and egalitarian . These rights may exist as natural rights or as legal rights, in both national...

 from the perspective of the Roman Catholic Church
Roman Catholic Church
The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the world's largest Christian church, with over a billion members. Led by the Pope, it defines its mission as spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ, administering the sacraments and exercising charity...

. To this end, it cooperates with various religious orders and advocacy groups, as well as scholarly, ecumenical, and international organizations.

Among its reference works is the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church.

The current Cardinal President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace is Peter Kodwo Appiah Cardinal Turkson. The current Secretary of the Pontifical Council is Bishop
Bishop
A bishop is an ordained or consecrated member of the Christian clergy who is generally entrusted with a position of authority and oversight. Within the Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox Churches, in the Assyrian Church of the East, in the Independent Catholic Churches, and in the...

 Mario Toso
Mario Toso
Mario Toso SDB is the current Secretary of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace since his appointment by Pope Benedict XVI on 22 October 2009....

, S.D.B.. The current Undersecretary of the Pontifical Council is Flaminia Giovanelli. She is currently the highest-ranking laywoman to work in the Roman Curia
Roman Curia
The Roman Curia is the administrative apparatus of the Holy See and the central governing body of the entire Catholic Church, together with the Pope...

.

Origin


The Second Vatican Council
Second Vatican Council
The Second Vatican Council addressed relations between the Roman Catholic Church and the modern world. It was the twenty-first Ecumenical Council of the Catholic Church and the second to be held at St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican. It opened under Pope John XXIII on 11 October 1962 and closed...

 had proposed the creation of a body of the universal Church whose role would be "to stimulate the Catholic Community to foster progress in needy regions and social justice on the international scene" . It was in reply to this request that Pope Paul VI established the Pontifical Commission "Justitia et Pax" by a Motu Proprio dated 6 January 1967 (Catholicam Christi Ecclesiam).
Two months later, in Populorum Progressio, Paul VI succinctly stated of the new body that "its name, which is also its programme, is Justice and Peace" (No. 5). Gaudium et Spes and this Encyclical, which "in a certain way... applies the teaching of the Council" , were the founding texts and points of reference for this new body.
After a ten-year experimental period, Paul VI gave the Commission its definitive status with the Motu Proprio Iustitiam et Pacem of 10 December 1976. When the Apostolic Constitution Pastor Bonus of 28 June 1988 reorganized the Roman Curia
Roman Curia
The Roman Curia is the administrative apparatus of the Holy See and the central governing body of the entire Catholic Church, together with the Pope...

, Pope John Paul II changed its name from Commission to Pontifical Council and reconfirmed the general lines of its work.

Objectives and mandate


Pastor Bonus defined the objectives and mandate of the Pontifical Council
Pontifical Council
The Pontifical Councils are a group of several mid-sized agencies, each led by a Cardinal or archbishop as president, which are part of the larger organization called the Roman Curia. The Roman Curia is charged with helping the Pope in his governance and oversight of the Roman Catholic Church...

 for Justice and Peace in the following terms:
"The Council will promote justice and peace in the world, in the light of the Gospel and of the social teaching of the Church (art. 142).
§ 1. It will deepen the social doctrine of the Church and attempt to make it widely known and applied, both by individuals and communities, especially as regards relations between workers and employers. These relations must be increasingly marked by the spirit of the Gospel.
§ 2. It will assemble and evaluate various types of information and the results of research on justice and peace, the development of peoples and the violations of human rights. When appropriate, it will inform Episcopal bodies of the conclusions drawn. It will foster relations with international Catholic organizations and with other bodies, be they Catholic
Catholic
The word catholic comes from the Greek phrase , meaning "on the whole," "according to the whole" or "in general", and is a combination of the Greek words meaning "about" and meaning "whole"...

 or not, that are sincerely committed to the promotion of the values of justice and peace in the world.
§ 3. It will heighten awareness of the need to promote peace, above all on the occasion of the World Day of Peace (art. 143).
It will maintain close relations with the Secretariat of State, especially when it deals publicly with problems of justice and peace in its documents or declarations (art. 144)".

Structure


The Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace has a President who is assisted by a Secretary and an Under-Secretary, all named by the Holy Father for a period of five years. A staff of lay persons, religious and priests of different nationalities works with them in carrying out the programmes and activities of the Council.
The Holy Father
Pope
The Pope is the Bishop of Rome, a position that makes him the leader of the worldwide Catholic Church . In the Catholic Church, the Pope is regarded as the successor of Saint Peter, the Apostle...

 also appoints about forty Members and Consultors who serve in a personal capacity for a period of five years. Coming from different parts of the world, the Members meet in Rome at regular intervals for a Plenary Assembly during which each one, according to his or her background and professional or pastoral experience, contributes to the overall planning for the activities of the Pontifical Council. A high point in the life of the Council, the Plenary Assembly is a time of authentic discernment of the "signs of the times".
The Consultors, some of whom are experts in the social teaching of the Church, can be called upon to participate in working groups on specific topics.

Presidents of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace

  • Maurice Roy
    Maurice Roy
    -External links:***...

     (6 Jan 1967 - 16 Dec 1976)
  • Bernardin Gantin (15 Dec 1976 - 8 Apr 1984)
  • Roger Etchegaray (8 Apr 1984 - 24 Jun 1998)
  • François-Xavier Nguyễn Văn Thuận
    Nguyen Van Thuan
    François-Xavier Nguyễn Văn Thuận was a Cardinal in the Roman Catholic Church. He was the nephew of South Vietnam’s first President, Ngô Đình Diệm, and of Archbishop Ngô Đình Thục.-Early life:He was born in the Imperial capital of Huế, Vietnam....

      (24 Jun 1998 - 16 Sep 2002)
  • Renato Martino (1 Oct 2002 - 24 Oct 2009)
  • Peter Turkson (24 Oct 2009 - )

Secretaries of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace

  • Joseph Gremillion (1966–1974)
  • Andrea Cordero Lanza di Montezemolo (1976 – 5 May 1977)
  • Roger Joseph Heckel, S.J. (1977 – 27 March 1980)
  • Jan Pieter Schotte, C.I.C.M. (27 June 1980 – 20 December 1983)
  • Diarmuid Martin
    Diarmuid Martin
    Diarmuid Martin is the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Dublin and Primate of Ireland. He was born in Dublin.-Early life and education:...

     (1994 – 17 January 2001)
  • Giampaolo Crepaldi
    Giampaolo Crepaldi
    Giampaolo Crepaldi is the current Archbishop-Bishop of Trieste since his appointment by Pope Benedict XVI on 4 July 2009. He had previously served as secretary of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace. -Early life and ordination:...

     (3 March 2001 – 4 July 2009)
  • Mario Toso
    Mario Toso
    Mario Toso SDB is the current Secretary of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace since his appointment by Pope Benedict XVI on 22 October 2009....

    , S.D.B. (22 October 2009 - )

Activities


The primary work of the Pontifical Council is to engage in action-oriented studies based on both the papal and episcopal social teaching of the Church. Through them, the Pontifical Council also contributes to the development of this teaching in the following vast fields:
  • Justice
    Justice
    Justice is a concept of moral rightness based on ethics, rationality, law, natural law, religion, or equity, along with the punishment of the breach of said ethics; justice is the act of being just and/or fair.-Concept of justice:...

    : the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace is concerned with all that touches upon social justice, the world of work, international life, development in general and social development in particular. It also promotes ethical reflection on the evolution of economic and financial systems and addresses problems related to the environment and the responsible use of the Earth's resources.
  • Peace
    Peace
    Peace is a state of harmony characterized by the lack of violent conflict. Commonly understood as the absence of hostility, peace also suggests the existence of healthy or newly healed interpersonal or international relationships, prosperity in matters of social or economic welfare, the...

    : the Pontifical Council reflects on a broad range of questions related to war, disarmament and the arms trade, international security, and violence in its various and everchanging forms (terrorism, exaggerated nationalism etc.). It also considers the question of political systems and the role of Catholics in the political arena. It is responsible for the promotion of the World Day of Peace.
  • Human rights
    Human rights
    Human rights are "commonly understood as inalienable fundamental rights to which a person is inherently entitled simply because she or he is a human being." Human rights are thus conceived as universal and egalitarian . These rights may exist as natural rights or as legal rights, in both national...

    : this question has assumed increasing importance in the mission of the Church and consequently in the work of the Pontifical Council. Pope John Paul II consistently stressed that the dignity of the human person is the foundation of the promotion and defense of his or her inalienable rights. The Council deals with the subject from three perspectives: deepening the doctrinal aspect, dealing with questions under discussion in international organizations, showing concern for the victims of the violation of human rights.


There was a two-day (June 16 and 17, 2011 "Executive Summit on Ethics for the Business World", which examined Christian views, from the Catholic perspective of Pope benedict XVI's on financial ethics and possible positive Christian-based alternatives to contemporary status quo secular best practices in the field. The summit was co-hosted by the Pontifical Regina Apostolorum University and the Fidelis International Institute, as well as the Pontifical Academy of Sciences
Pontifical Academy of Sciences
The Pontifical Academy of Sciences is a scientific academy of the Vatican, founded in 1936 by Pope Pius XI. It is placed under the protection of the reigning Supreme Pontiff. Its aim is to promote the progress of the mathematical, physical and natural sciences and the study of related...

.
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According to an online news story on the conference by Carol Glatz of Catholic News Service
Catholic News Service
Catholic News Service is an American news agency covering the Roman Catholic Church. CNS was established in 1920 and is a leading source of news for Catholic print and broadcast media throughout the world....

, on Friday, June 17, 2011, "The Vatican and some Catholic thinkers are urging businesses to not only employ ethical policies within their companies, but to become dedicated to bringing economic justice to the wider world. In fact, people should be wary of superficial ethical practices that "are adopted primarily as a marketing device, without any effect on relationships inside and outside the business itself" and without promoting justice
Justice
Justice is a concept of moral rightness based on ethics, rationality, law, natural law, religion, or equity, along with the punishment of the breach of said ethics; justice is the act of being just and/or fair.-Concept of justice:...

 and the common good
Common good
The common good is a term that can refer to several different concepts. In the popular meaning, the common good describes a specific "good" that is shared and beneficial for all members of a given community...

, said Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Vatican's secretary of state. Cardinal Bertone was one of a number of speakers invited to the Executive Summit on Ethics for the Business World, sponsored by the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace and the Legionairies of Christ's Fidelis International Institute, which promotes ethics in business. The June 16-17 conference brought high-profile leaders from the manufacturing, industrial, banking and financial sectors including representatives from General Electric
General Electric
General Electric Company , or GE, is an American multinational conglomerate corporation incorporated in Schenectady, New York and headquartered in Fairfield, Connecticut, United States...

 and Goldman Sachs
Goldman Sachs
The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. is an American multinational bulge bracket investment banking and securities firm that engages in global investment banking, securities, investment management, and other financial services primarily with institutional clients...

, as well as Catholic experts in Catholic social teaching. "Everyone here has been 'cherry-picked.' It wasn't an open invitation to everybody," said Father Luis Garza Medina, vicar general of the Legionairies of Christ, who helped in the planning of the event. Organizers purposely chose people from different industries, countries and religions in order to hammer out ethical principles held in common, which often reflect the views inherent in Catholic social thought, namely the principles of the centrality of the human person, subsidiarity
Subsidiarity
Subsidiarity is an organizing principle that matters ought to be handled by the smallest, lowest or least centralized competent authority. The Oxford English Dictionary defines subsidiarity as the idea that a central authority should have a subsidiary function, performing only those tasks which...

, solidarity
Solidarity
Solidarity is a Polish trade union federation that emerged on August 31, 1980 at the Gdańsk Shipyard under the leadership of Lech Wałęsa. It was the first non-communist party-controlled trade union in a Warsaw Pact country. Solidarity reached 9.5 million members before its September 1981 congress...

 and the pursuit of the common good
Common good
The common good is a term that can refer to several different concepts. In the popular meaning, the common good describes a specific "good" that is shared and beneficial for all members of a given community...

, he told Catholic News Service
Catholic News Service
Catholic News Service is an American news agency covering the Roman Catholic Church. CNS was established in 1920 and is a leading source of news for Catholic print and broadcast media throughout the world....

 June 17. The real challenge, however, is taking those common principles and translating them into concrete action that will have a real impact on local and world economies, and on people's lives, he said. The meeting's goal was to show how "Charity in Truth", Pope Benedict XVI
Pope Benedict XVI
Benedict XVI is the 265th and current Pope, by virtue of his office of Bishop of Rome, the Sovereign of the Vatican City State and the leader of the Catholic Church as well as the other 22 sui iuris Eastern Catholic Churches in full communion with the Holy See...

's 2009 encyclical
Encyclical
An encyclical was originally a circular letter sent to all the churches of a particular area in the ancient Catholic Church. At that time, the word could be used for a letter sent out by any bishop...

 on social justice issues, could inspire leaders to find practical applications of these universal values
Universal values
Something is of universal value if it has the same value or worth for all, or almost all, people. This claim could mean two importantly different things. First, it could be that something has a universal value when everybody finds it valuable. This was Isaiah Berlin's understanding of the term...

. In his talk June 16, Cardinal Bertone said the encyclical makes clear that there is no way businesses can remain ethically neutral: They are either serving the common good or they are not,"
<>

Network


The Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace collaborates with all those within the Church who are seeking the same ends.
As an organism of the Holy See, the Council is first and foremost at the service of the Holy Father and also collaborates with other departments of the Roman Curia.

As a body of the universal Church, it is also at the service of the local Churches. It maintains systematic contacts with Episcopal Conferences and their regional groupings and collaborates regularly with them. Through the Episcopal Conferences, or with their assent, the Pontifical Council likewise is in touch with a broad range of Church bodies on the national level that have been established to make the faithful aware of their responsibilities in the field of justice and peace. Some of these are primarily for study and reflection, while others are more action-oriented. They include national Justice and Peace Commissions or Commissions for Social Questions, movements for the defense of human rights or for the promotion of peace or development etc.

The Pontifical Council maintains contact with the various institutions or international movements within the Church (religious orders and congregations, international Catholic organizations) that, in communion with the Bishops, help Christians to bear witness to their faith in the social field.

The Pontifical Council also turns to the academic and intellectual world and seeks the advice of professors of the social teaching of the Church, especially those from the Pontifical Universities in Rome. It has, moreover, systematic links with the Pontifical Academy for Social Sciences.
Enriching contacts with other churches and religions have been established as a result of the mandate of the Pontifical Council to work from an ecumenical perspective. The Pontifical Council collaborates in a special way with the World Council of Churches
World Council of Churches
The World Council of Churches is a worldwide fellowship of 349 global, regional and sub-regional, national and local churches seeking unity, a common witness and Christian service. It is a Christian ecumenical organization that is based in the Ecumenical Centre in Geneva, Switzerland...

.

Finally, mention must be made of various links with secular organizations working for the promotion of justice
Justice
Justice is a concept of moral rightness based on ethics, rationality, law, natural law, religion, or equity, along with the punishment of the breach of said ethics; justice is the act of being just and/or fair.-Concept of justice:...

, peace
Peace
Peace is a state of harmony characterized by the lack of violent conflict. Commonly understood as the absence of hostility, peace also suggests the existence of healthy or newly healed interpersonal or international relationships, prosperity in matters of social or economic welfare, the...

 and the respect for human dignity. Over the years, relations with international organizations have increased considerably. Because of the interest of the Holy See in the work of the United Nations, the Pontifical Council, in collaboration with the Secretariat of State, has frequent contacts with the United Nations
United Nations
The United Nations is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace...

 and its specialized agencies, especially at the time of the major international conferences that deal with such questions as development, population, environment, international trade, or human rights. Equal importance is given to regional organizations, among which the Council of Europe
Council of Europe
The Council of Europe is an international organisation promoting co-operation between all countries of Europe in the areas of legal standards, human rights, democratic development, the rule of law and cultural co-operation...

 and the European Union
European Union
The European Union is an economic and political union of 27 independent member states which are located primarily in Europe. The EU traces its origins from the European Coal and Steel Community and the European Economic Community , formed by six countries in 1958...

. The Pontifical Council also welcomes exchanges with non-governmental organizations that share its aims and are working in the field of peace, justice and human rights.

Publications


The Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace issues documents on current topics such as the international debt, racism, the international arms trade and land distribution. In each case, these documents draw on the social teaching of the Church in formulating pertinent ethical principles and guidelines. The Council also publishes books: reports of meetings that it has organized, systematic collections of pontifical texts on a particular social question, studies on contemporary issues, such as the perspective of the Catholic Church on human rights, the environment, or the ethical dimensions of the economy, financial activities and the world of work.
The purpose of these publications is to spread knowledge of the social teaching of the Church, especially among those who can in turn make it known directly or indirectly to others. They include Episcopal Conferences and their Justice and Peace Commissions or Commissions for Social Questions, associations and movements of the laity
Laity
In religious organizations, the laity comprises all people who are not in the clergy. A person who is a member of a religious order who is not ordained legitimate clergy is considered as a member of the laity, even though they are members of a religious order .In the past in Christian cultures, the...

, priests, religious, seminarians and religious educators.

External links