“Pacem in Terris is intended as our Easter gift of the Year of the Lord 1963”. “The Letter expounds the Church’s teaching on this matter, the synthesis of all the elements which lead to true peace at the personal, family and community levels”. These words, spoken by Pope John XXIII in his radio message on Holy Saturday, 13 April 1963, introduce the video posted by Vatican News to mark the 55th anniversary of “Pacem in Terris”, the Encyclical Letter written by “the Good Pope” on peace.
“On 11 April, Holy Thursday 1963 – Vatican News recalls -, Pope Roncalli published his eighth Encyclical open to the aspirations of the contemporary world, which the Pontiff interpreted through the ‘signs of the times’”. “It would be the last Encyclical of John XXIII, who was already seriously ill”, and also for this reason, “it is considered by many as a sort of spiritual testament left to the Church and to all men and women of good will, to which, for the first time, an encyclical was addressed, believers and non-believers alike”. At the time of the Cold War, with conflicts raging in Vietnam, in Africa, in Latin America, and the threat of a “nuclear arms race”, John XIII warned that “peace is but an empty word, if it does not rest upon that order” which the Encyclical outlined with trusting hope. An order which is “founded on truth, built up on justice, nurtured and animated by charity, and brought into effect under the auspices of freedom”.