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 CENTESIMUS ANNUS PRO PONTIFICE 2015 STATEMENT - "A Reformed Market Economy: Entrepreneurship for Human Development” - is the result of the May 2013 challenge by Pope Francis to members of CAPP for recommendations on how the market economy might be made more sensitive to the needs of the poor and marginalized. Taken from "A Reformed Market Economy: Entrepreneurship for Human Development-The Centesimus Annus Pro Pontifice 2015 Statement"
CST places economic freedom parallel to political freedom. It recognizes that free enterprise, rightly understood and implemented, is currently the best available vehicle for systemically caring for the physical needs of the poor, and true global economy is the key way to create lasting development and, thereby, peace. Taken from "Democracy and Free Market Economies"
Related Events on Human Rights
Related Speakers / Panelists / Authors on: Human Rights
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