Today’s Catechism sections discuss respect for the dead and peace. Supporting material comes from the Pastoral Constitution, “Gaudium et Spes”.

Respect for the dead

2299 The dying should be given attention and care to help them live their last moments in dignity and peace. They will be helped by the prayer of their relatives, who must see to it that the sick receive at the proper time the sacraments that prepare them to meet the living God.

2300 The bodies of the dead must be treated with respect and charity, in faith and hope of the Resurrection. The burial of the dead is a corporal work of mercy;91 it honors the children of God, who are temples of the Holy Spirit.

2301 Autopsies can be morally permitted for legal inquests or scientific research. The free gift of organs after death is legitimate and can be meritorious.
The Church permits cremation, provided that it does not demonstrate a denial of faith in the resurrection of the body.92

III. Safeguarding Peace

Peace

2302 By recalling the commandment, "You shall not kill,"93 our Lord asked for peace of heart and denounced murderous anger and hatred as immoral.
Anger is a desire for revenge. "To desire vengeance in order to do evil to someone who should be punished is illicit," but it is praiseworthy to impose restitution "to correct vices and maintain justice."94 If anger reaches the point of a deliberate desire to kill or seriously wound a neighbor, it is gravely against charity; it is a mortal sin. The Lord says, "Everyone who is angry with his brother shall be liable to judgment."95

2303 Deliberate hatred is contrary to charity. Hatred of the neighbor is a sin when one deliberately wishes him evil. Hatred of the neighbor is a grave sin when one deliberately desires him grave harm. "But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven."96

2304 Respect for and development of human life require peace. Peace is not merely the absence of war, and it is not limited to maintaining a balance of powers between adversaries. Peace cannot be attained on earth without safeguarding the goods of persons, free communication among men, respect for the dignity of persons and peoples, and the assiduous practice of fraternity. Peace is "the tranquillity of order."97 Peace is the work of justice and the effect of charity.98

2305 Earthly peace is the image and fruit of the peace of Christ, the messianic "Prince of Peace."99 By the blood of his Cross, "in his own person he killed the hostility,"100 he reconciled men with God and made his Church the sacrament of the unity of the human race and of its union with God. "He is our peace."101 He has declared: "Blessed are the peacemakers."102

2306 Those who renounce violence and bloodshed and, in order to safeguard human rights, make use of those means of defense available to the weakest, bear witness to evangelical charity, provided they do so without harming the rights and obligations of other men and societies. They bear legitimate witness to the gravity of the physical and moral risks of recourse to violence, with all its destruction and death.103

The Pastoral Constitution, “Gaudium et Spes” discusses peace.

78. Peace is not merely the absence of war; nor can it be reduced solely to the maintenance of a balance of power between enemies; nor is it brought about by dictatorship. Instead, it is rightly and appropriately called an enterprise of justice. Peace results from that order structured into human society by its divine Founder, and actualized by men as they thirst after ever greater justice. The common good of humanity finds its ultimate meaning in the eternal law. But since the concrete demands of this common good are constantly changing as time goes on, peace is never attained once and for all, but must be built up ceaselessly. Moreover, since the human will is unsteady and wounded by sin, the achievement of peace requires a constant mastering of passions and the vigilance of lawful authority.

But this is not enough. This peace on earth cannot be obtained unless personal well-being is safeguarded and men freely and trustingly share with one another the riches of their inner spirits and their talents. A firm determination to respect other men and peoples and their dignity, as well as the studied practice of brotherhood are absolutely necessary for the establishment of peace. Hence peace is likewise the fruit of love, which goes beyond what justice can provide.

Footnotes

91 Cf. ⇒ Tob 1:16-18.
92 Cf. ⇒ CIC, can. 1176 # 3.
93 ⇒ Mt 5:21.
94 St. Thomas Aquinas, STh II-II, 158, 1 ad 3.
95 ⇒ Mt 5:22.
96 ⇒ Mt 5:44-45.
97 St. Augustine, De civ. Dei, 19, 13, 1: PL 41, 640.
98 Cf. ⇒ Isa 32:17; cf. GS 78 ## 1-2.
99 ⇒ Isa 9:5.
100 ⇒ Eph 2:16 J.B.; cf. ⇒ Col 1:20-22.
101 ⇒ Eph 2:14.
102 ⇒ Mt 5:9[ETML:C/].
103 Cf. GS 78 # 5.