Civilization of Love by Pope John Paul II
San Damiano Crucifix
Pope John Paul II's Words on a Civilization of Love
"The moral truth most closely bound up with the world of persons is 'the commandment to love.'" Karol Wojtyla (Pope John Paul II), Introduction to Love and Responsibility, 1960.
San Damiano Crucifix detail
"Do not forget that true love sets no conditions; it does not calculate or complain, but simply loves."
(Pope John Paul II)
San Damiano Crucifix detail
"Whatever you make of your life, let it be something that reflects the love of Christ. The whole people of God will be the richer because of the diversity of your commitments. And whatever you do, remember that Christ is calling you, in one way or the other, to the service of love: the love of God and of your neighbor." (Pope John Paul II, "To Youth," Boston Common, 1979)
The Civilization of Love
10. At the conclusion of these considerations, I feel it necessary to repeat that, for the establishment of true peace in the world, justice must find its fulfillment in charity. Certainly law is the first road leading to peace, and people need to be taught to respect that law. Yet one does not arrive at the end of this road unless justice is complemented by love. Justice and love sometimes appear to be opposing forces. In fact they are but two faces of a single reality, two dimensions of human life needing to be mutually integrated. Historical experience shows this to be true. It shows how justice is frequently unable to free itself from rancor, hatred and even cruelty. By itself, justice is not enough. Indeed, it can even betray itself, unless it is open to that deeper power which is love.
For this reason I have often reminded Christians and all persons of good will that forgiveness is needed for solving the problems of individuals and peoples. There is no peace without forgiveness! I say it again here, as my thoughts turn in particular to the continuing crisis in Palestine and the Middle East: a solution to the grave problems which for too long have caused suffering for the peoples of those regions will not be found until a decision is made to transcend the logic of simple justice and to be open also to the logic of forgiveness.
Christians know that love is the reason for God's entering into relationship with man. And it is love which he awaits as man's response. Consequently, love is also the loftiest and most noble form of relationship possible between human beings. Love must thus enliven every sector of human life and extend to the international order. Only a humanity in which there reigns the "civilization of love" will be able to enjoy authentic and lasting peace.
At the beginning of a New Year I wish to repeat to women and men of every language, religion and culture the ancient maxim: "Omnia vincit amor" (Love conquers all). Yes, dear Brothers and Sisters throughout the world, in the end love will be victorious! Let everyone be committed to hastening this victory. For it is the deepest hope of every human heart.
From the Vatican, 8 December 2003.