This year's plenary assembly of the Pontifical Academy for Social Sciences is dedicated to the fiftieth anniversary of Blessed Pope John XXIII’s landmark encyclical Pacem in terris. Stefano Leszczynski spoke to President of the Academy, Dr Mary Ann Glendon.
Q: You will begin your plenary session which is dedicated to the 50th anniversary of the Encyclical Letter Pacem in terris. The document is still very important and current today, just as it was 50 years ago…
A: I think the topic of Pacem in terris will always be topical this is the second of three conferences that we are devoting to Pacem in terris in preparation for the 50 anniversary which comes up next year. The first conference last year, was devoted to something that was quite new at the time of Pacem in terris; the idea that the Church would give its approval to the modern human rights project and in terms that very closely tracked the universal declaration of human rights. So last years topic was universal human rights and this year we are moving more into questions of what the Pope referred to in Assisi this year of trying to understand what is the state of play with respect to peace on earth at this moment in the world.
Q: What are the main problems which represent a threat to stability on earth
A: I think we would say that the main problems begin with human nature itself. As the Pope has often said peace is something that has to be built and won in every generation. So in this conference we are bringing together people from the financial world like Mario Draghi from the European Central Bank, who will be talking about the serious problems in the economic order. We will be bringing in a great many people theoreticians and practical politicians who will be talking about conflict around the world, civil conflict and international threats. I think that at the end of this conference what we hope for is to have an idea about what are the promising signs that these people can disclose for us. What can they tells us about new agents and new ideas and particularly of interest to us, what could be the role of religion in the quest for that tranquillity of order which is peace.
Pacem in Terris. Always Topical (Vatican Radio)