Much to the world's surprise. the conclave of 1958 elected an unlikely candidate to be Pope - Angelo Roncalli, who took the name of John XXIII. Presumed to be a brief interim leader until the next conclave, John astounded the Church and the world by convoking the Second Vatican Council. But another important gift of his legacy was the encyclical "Pacem in Terris" ("Peace on Earth") issued in April of 1963. Published fifty years ago during the tense moments of the Cold War, John XXIII declared an impassioned plea to the world for a greater understanding among all people and a deeper appreciation of the rights that are naturally endowed upon all people. It was his fond hope that he could assist in the task of bringing about "true peace in the order established by God." May his words continue to encourage a world that continues to long for that elusive peace that only Christ may bring.
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