It is enough to recall that the blood of millions, countless unheard-of sufferings, useless massacres and frightening ruins have sanctioned the agreement that unites you with an oath that ought to change the future history of the world: never again war, never again war! It is peace, peace, that has to guide the destiny of the nations of all mankind!

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As you know very well, peace is not built merely by means of politics and a balance of power and interests. It is built with the mind, with ideas, with the works of peace. You are working at this great endeavor, but you are only at the beginning of your labors. Will the world ever come to change the selfish and bellicose outlook that has spun out such a great part of its history up to now? It is hard to foresee the future, but easy to assert that the world has to set out resolutely on the path toward a new history, a peaceful history, one that will be truly and fully human, the one that God promised to men of good will. The pathways are marked out before you and the first one is disarmament.

If you want to be brothers, let the arms fall from your hands. A person cannot love with offensive weapons in his hands. Arms, and especially the terrible arms that modern science has provided you, engender bad dreams, feed evil sentiments, create nightmares, hostilities, and dark resolutions even before they cause any victims and ruins. They call for enormous expenses. They interrupt projects of solidarity and of useful labor. They warp the outlook of nations. So long as man remains the weak, changeable, and even wicked being that he so often shows himself to be, defensive arms will, alas, be necessary. But your courage and good qualities urge you on to a study of means that can guarantee the security of international life without any recourse to arms.

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Pope St. Paul VI

Address to the United Nations

October 4, 1965


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