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Message for the 20th anniversary of the United Nations Charter*


Having received the invitation to attend the ceremonies commemorative the twentieth anniversary of the founding of the United Nations, which are to be held in San Francisco from June twenty-fourth to June twenty-seventh, We have chosen you, Venerable Brother, to represent Us at the « Convocation of Religion for World Peace » and to be the bearer of Our message of heartfelt good wishes to ali those participating in this memorable celebration.

How truly right and proper it is that a religions Convocation for peace has been included among the ceremonies commemorative of the signing of the United Nations Charter twenty years ago. What value, in fact, would the principle of the dignity of man, who has been created free by God, have or what value would the principle of solidarity among nations – on which the entire structure of the United Nations is supported – possess, if the idea of the universal fatherhood of God be excluded?

Religious faith nourishes in the souls of believers the bond of love which, as Our Predecessor Pius XII stated «united all peoples in a common brotherhood, as sons of the same heavenly Father, redeemed by the same Savior of the world and working towards the same sublime destiny. Any hope of a better world in the future and a peace that will last beyond the day is futile, unless it can find sure footing on this fundamental truth of Religion » (Pius XII, Discorsi e Radiomessaggi, vol. VII, p. 213).

If therefore, men are sons of the same Father and nations are part of the single great human family, all have the grave duty of promoting peace, seeking it, defending it, proclaiming it. Our Predecessor, John XXIII, Who recognized in the existence and activity of the United Nations Organization a « sign of the times », expressed the wish toward the end of His Encyclical, Pacem in terris, that the United Nations, with adequate means and in its structures, might be able to be a secure safeguard of human rights and an efficacious instrument for peace and concord among nations.

Peace, which, according to St. Augustine, is « the tranquillity of order » and the work of justice, is likewise a gif t of God and the fruit of goodwill among men. God has created the world to be a sojourn of peace. He, who is the God of peace (Rom. 15. 33), has given men the precept of peace. If, therefore, peace is desired, faith in God must be nourished, and our prayer must be directed to Him, the giver of every good: « Grant peace in our days, O Lord ». Then, not hate but love must be encouraged, not indifference but solidarity, not the race to arm but to disarm, not the thirst to dominate but to serve.

While expressing to the Authorities of the United Nations, Our hope that their efforts to render the United Nations Organization an ever more efficacious instrument of peace may be blessed by the Lord, We willingly invoke upon all those engaged in the noble endeavor of fostering peace among men and nations, and upon all participating in the memorable ceremonies in San Francisco in honor of the twentieth anniversary of the founding of the United Nations, an abundance of choice heavenly blessings and divine favors.

From the Vatican, June 24, 1965.


*AAS (1965), p.662-663.

L'Osservatore Romano 28-29.6.1965, p.2.


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