The Apostolic Constitution Pastor Bonus of 28 June 1988 defined the objectives and mandate of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace in the following terms:
"The Council will promote justice and peace in the world, in the light of the Gospel and of the social teaching of the Church (art. 142).
§ 1. It will deepen the social doctrine of the Church and attempt to make it widely known and applied, both by individuals and communities, especially as regards relations between workers and employers. These relations must be increasingly marked by the spirit of the Gospel.
§ 2. It will assemble and evaluate various types of information and the results of research on justice and peace, the development of peoples and the violations of human rights. When appropriate, it will inform Episcopal bodies of the conclusions drawn. It will foster relations with international Catholic organizations and with other bodies, be they Catholic or not, that are sincerely committed to the promotion of the values of justice and peace in the world.
§ 3. It will heighten awareness of the need to promote peace, above all on the occasion of the World Day of Peace (art. 143).
It will maintain close relations with the Secretariat of State, especially when it deals publicly with problems of justice and peace in its documents or declarations (art. 144)".
The primary work of the Pontifical Council is to engage in action-oriented studies based on both the papal and episcopal social teaching of the Church. Through them, the Pontifical Council also contributes to the development of this teaching in the following vast fields:
JUSTICE. The Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace is concerned with all that touches upon social justice, the world of work, international life, development in general and social development in particular. It also promotes ethical reflection on the evolution of economic and financial systems and addresses problems related to the environment and the responsible use of the earth's resources.
PEACE. The Pontifical Council reflects on a broad range of questions related to war, disarmament and the arms trade, international security, and violence in its various and everchanging forms (terrorism, exaggerated nationalism etc.). It also considers the question of political systems and the role of Catholics in the political arena. It is responsible for the promotion of the World Day of Peace.
HUMAN RIGHTS. This question has assumed increasing importance in the mission of the Church and consequently in the work of the Pontifical Council. Pope John Paul II consistently stresses that the dignity of the human person is the foundation of the promotion and defense of his or her inalienable rights. The Council deals with the subject from three perspectives: deepening the doctrinal aspect, dealing with questions under discussion in international organizations, showing concern for the victims of the violation of human rights.