Contemporary Issue: Human Rights
Pope Leo XIII's Rerum Novarum is the foundation upon which the CST principle of Human Dignity rests. In a letter that reflected a sea change with regards to the structures of society during the Industrial Revolution, His Holiness urged that
"no man may with impunity violate that human dignity which God himself treats with great reverence" (RN, 40)
Over 110 years later, Pope Benedict XVI echoed Leo's concern in his historical essay, "Europe and Its Discontents", originally published in the journal First Things:
“Fundamental rights are neither created by the lawmaker nor granted to the citizen. The value of human dignity…takes precedence over all political decision-making”. (Benedict XVI, “Europe and its Discontents”, Without Roots: Basic Books, 2007)
Human Rights, Religious Freedom, and the State
In his encyclical letter Dignitatis Humanae which stemmed from the Second Vatican Council, Pope Paul VI provided commentary regarding the concept of freedom of religion - and the extent to which governing states uphold this freedom. His words are quite noteworthy, some 50 years later:
"[F]orms of government still exist under which, even though freedom of religious worship receives constitutional recognition, the powers of government are engaged in the effort to deter citizens from the profession of religion and to make life very difficult and dangerous for religious communities." (DH, 15)
Related Thoughts on Human Rights
A bishop’s document from 1993 states: “Every person has a right to adequate health care.” Note the language is "adequate" - not "basic." It continues, "This right flows from the sanctity of life and the dignity that belongs to all human persons, who are made in the image of God.” Health care is more than a commodity; It’s not simply a possession, it is a basic human right, thereby drawing from Pacem in Terris. Taken from "What is Basic Health Care? (Audio)"
The Catholic Church's view of human dignity springs from human agency and free will, with the further understanding that free will in turn springs from human creation made in the image of God. Taken from "A Deeper Examination of Human Dignity"
Solidarity helps us transcend cultural, political, social and geographic boundaries to embrace the other as thyself. Indeed, Solidarity is Radical (But not in a Political or Ideological Sense). The principle of solidarity is truly radical. Taken from "Solidarity Flows From Faith!"
Related Events on Human Rights
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