Catechism of the Catholic Church

Life in Christ 555 2304 Respect for and development of human life require peace. Peace is not merely the absence of war, and it is not limited to maintaining a balance of powers between adversaries. Peace can­ not be attained on earth without safeguarding the goods of per­ sons, free communication among men, respect for the dignity of persons and peoples, and the assiduous practice of fraternity. Peace is “the tranquillity of order.” 98 Peace is the work of justice and the effect of charity. 99 2305 Earthly peace is the image and fruit of the peace of Christ, the messianic “Prince of Peace.” 100 By the blood of his Cross, “in his own person he killed the hostility,” 101 he reconciled men with God and made his Church the sacrament of the unity of the human race and of its union with God. “He is our peace.” 102 He has declared: “Blessed are the peacemakers.” 103 2306 Those who renounce violence and bloodshed and, in order to safeguard human rights, make use of those means of defense available to the weakest, bear witness to evangelical charity, pro­ vided they do so without harming the rights and obligations of other men and societies. They bear legitimate witness to the gravity of the physical and moral risks of recourse to violence, with all its destruction and death. 104 Avoiding war 2307 The fifth commandment forbids the intentional destruc­ tion of human life. Because of the evils and injustices that accom­ pany all war, the Church insistently urges everyone to prayer and to action so that the divine Goodness may free us from the ancient bondage of war. 105 2308 All citizens and all governments are obliged to work for the avoidance of war. 98 St. Augustine, De civ. Dei, 19, 13, 1: PL 41, 640. 99 Cf. Isa 32:17; cf. GS 78 §§ 1-2. 100 Isa 9:5. 101 Eph 2:16 J.B.; cf. Col 1:20-22. 102 Eph 2:14. 103 Mt 5:9. 104 Cf. GS 78 § 5. 105 Cf. GS 81 § 4. 1909 1807 1468 2267