Harder Than War: Catholic Peacemaking in Twentieth-Century America

By Patricia McNeal | Go to book overview

6
The Catholic Peace Movement and Vietnam

IN LESS THAN A year after the adoption of The Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World at the Second Vatican Council, Pope Paul VI undertook a series of pilgrimages for peace. For the first time in American history a pope visited the United States. The highlight of his visit occurred on 5 October 1965, when the pope addressed the General Assembly of the United Nations on its twentieth anniversary. In his address, Paul VI confirmed the teachings of the peace encyclical, Pacem in Terris, and the new approach to the issues of war and peace stated in the pastoral directives of the Second Vatican Council.

The pope's message reached its climax when he proclaimed: "No more war, war never again! Peace, it is peace that must guide the destinies of peoples and of all mankind."1 The pope elaborated on this point by stating:

If you wish to be brothers, let the arms fall from your hands. One can not love while holding offensive arms. Those armaments, especially those terrible arms, which modern science has given you, long before they produce victims and ruins, nourish bad feelings, create nightmares, distrust and somber resolutions. They, demand enormous expenditures, they obstruct projects of union and useful collaboration. They falsify the psychology of peoples.2

The pope's message, like that of John XXIII and the council, called for a new, approach to the issues of war and peace. In 1967, in his encyclical Populorum Progressio he approved conscientious objection and alternative service and connected justice and peace by spelling out the relation between the arms race and the poverty of the Third World.3 In

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