ADDRESS OF HIS HOLINESS PIUS XII
TO THE MEMBERS OF THE UNITED STATES SENATE*
Saturday, 1° November 1947
Your journey through Europe, however limited and rapid, has no doubt brought you face to face with some of the appalling conditions which only those can realize who witness them. The still gaping wounds of war, that cut so deeply into family life and shattered the body politic to the point of prostration and apparent impotence, make an eloquent appeal to hearts schooled to sympathize with their fellowmen in distress. But the cry that reaches one's ears in deeper tones, more sustained, larger in volume and from every corner is not the cry for passing help, though that is essential, but the cry for peace. That word rings so hollow today over the fields of famine and devastation and oppression.
What is peace? Surely it is something more than the mere absence of armed warfare and shedding of blood. It has a positive character of noble dignity. St. Augustine's celebrated definition holds true in every field of moral and social life. Peace is the tranquillity of order. And what is order? Order is an arrangement of components, equal and unequal, assigning to each its proper place (De Civitate Dei l. 19, c. 13). Let each and every element hold or return to its proper place in the universal harmony of human society; confirm this order in such a way that it will endure and its benefits be reaped in calm security. You will then have enthroned peace in God's world. Admirable formula, perfectly exact, comprehensive, elegant. No other has been ever advanced to take its place or to equal it. It echoes the divine message of the Redeemer; it expresses the immortal tradition of the Church. Now the goal towards which human society must direct its efforts and its hopes, if it would measure up to the sovereign will of God and the demands of its own rational nature precisely is and always will be peace: the tranquillity that comes with order.
A goal of radiant beauty! A challenging goal for every one of good will not yet wholly blinded by swollen pride and self-seeking!
The honourable members of the Senate here present have been recalled to the seat of your government for a task of momentous import to Europe and the world. May We suggest that even the wise and prompt accomplishment of that task be considered only a step towards the coveted goal. God grant that the world, the whole world, may soon set its foot firmly in the path of justice and charity. That is the only path that leads to the goal, the tranquillity of order which is Peace.
With sincere affection and interest in your tasks We pray for you, and We beg God's choicest blessings on all who are near and dear to you.
*Discorsi e Radiomessaggi di Sua Santità Pio XII, IX,
Nono anno di Pontificato, 2 marzo 1947- 1° marzo 1948, pp. 325-326
Tipografia Poliglotta Vaticana.
L’Osservatore Romano, 3-4.11.1947, p.1.
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