Paul VI was the first reigning pope to travel via airplane. On one such trip, he addressed the UN General Assembly, emphatically declaring “War never again! Never again war!” During the same period, Paul VI also saw the Second Vatican Council through to its completion. Vatican II produced an articulation of substantive peace in one of its final documents, Gaudium et Spes. This article employs an analytical yardstick through reading Gaudium et Spes in conversation with a Peace and Conflict Studies perspective, as a means to assess Paul VI’s peacemaking efforts on the levels of insight and action. Specifically, this article addresses Paul VI’s diplomatic initiatives, ecumenical outreach, and his contributions to Catholic Social Teaching, inclusive of the establishment of the annual World Day for Peace Messages. One of those messages is the source of what is his most repeated social teaching: “if you want peace, work for justice.”

Author Bio(s)

Christopher Hrynkow earned a PhD in Peace and Conflict Studies from the Mauro Centre for Peace and Justice, St. Paul’s College, University of Manitoba and a ThD in Christian Ethics, specializing in Ecological Ethics, awarded jointly by the University of Toronto, the University of St. Michael’s College, and the Toronto School of Theology. Previously, among other appointments Hrynkow taught Conflict Transformation Studies at the Canadian Mennonite University and Conflict Resolutions Studies at Menno Simons College, University of Winnipeg. Currently, he is an Associate Professor in the Department of Religion and Culture at St. Thomas More College, University of Saskatchewan where he teaches courses in Religious Studies, Catholic Studies, and Critical Perspectives on Social Justice and the Common Good. Hrynkow has been teaching and researching about Catholic Social Teaching since 2001.


The author is very grateful to Martin Poulsom, SDB (Heythrop College, University of London), and the three anonymous reviewers for feedback that greatly improved this article.


Paul VI, World Day for Peace Messages, Catholic Social Teaching, Second Vatican Council, John XXIII, Peacebuilding

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