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
WELCOME - PROTECT - PROMOTE - INTEGRATE: The number of people forced to flee their homes in 2017 rose by nearly million to 68.5 million.(According to the head of the UN High Commission On Refugees (UNHCR) Flippio Grandi). Taken from "Pope Francis: WELCOME - PROTECT - PROMOTE - INTEGRATE: Refugees and Migrants"
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)"
"We do not need a State which regulates and controls everything, but a State which, in accordance with the principle of subsidiarity, generously acknowledges and supports initiatives arising from the different social forces and combines spontaneity with closeness to those in need." (DCE,28) Taken from "Benedict's Thoughts on the Role of the State - from Deus Caritas Est"
Related Events on Human Rights
Related Speakers / Panelists / Authors on: Human Rights
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