POPE PAUL, in a peace encyclical on the eve of the General Assembly of the United Nations this week, calls on men "to lay down their arms before it becomes too late to do so because of the mounting pressure of events."
Referring to Vietnam he says: "We cry to them in God's name to stop. A settlement should be reached now, even at the expense of some inconvenience or loss, for it may have to be made later in the train of bitter slaughter."
His 2,000-word encyclical is addressed to patriarchs, primates, archbishops, bishops and other ordinaries of the Catholic Church. It comes directly after his return to Rome from summer holidays at Castelgandolfo, a summer resort 17 miles up in the mountains.
A RENEWAL OF CAMPAIGN
The encyclical is a renewal of his long campaign for peace in Vietnam, which hitherto has included calls for prayer, quiet diplomatic action and direct appeals to world leaders in America, Soviet Russia and Red China.
It calls for October 4, the first anniversary of Pope Paul's visit to the United Nations, to be set aside by Catholics throughout the world as a day of prayer for peace.
A special ceremony will be held in St. Peter's Basilica on that day in honour of the Virgin Mary, "our intercessor for peace," so that "the one voice of the Church will resound on all the continents of the earth and reach the very gates of heaven."
1-le pledges himself to continue his efforts "working even more intensely" for peace. "lt seems", says the Pope, "as if a very provident God has committed to us a special task. Namely, that we labour with patient and persevering effort for the preservation and the strengthening of peace.
"But this peace must rest on justice and the liberty of mankind, and take into account the rights of individuals and communities, otherwise it will be shifting and unstable."
ARMS RACE CONDEMNED
Although the encyclical was directed primarily at Vietnam and the threat of world war, the Pope also referred to the arms race, the unscrupulous efforts for the expansion of one's nation, the excessive glorification of one's race, the obsession for revolution, the segregations enforced on citizens, the iniquitous plotting and the murder of the innocent—all of which are potential material for the greatest possible tragedy.
Taking its name from the opening words in the original Latin text, the encyclical is entitled "Christi Matri Rosari" (Rosaries to the Mother of Christ). It especially calls on Catholics to pray to Mary through the Rosary during October.