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
"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"
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!"
Catholic Social Teaching is a set of values for us to internalize, to evaluate the framework of modern society, and to provide criteria for prudential judgement and direction for current policy and action. Taken from "Precisely, What is Catholic Social Teaching? (Audio)"
Related Speakers / Panelists / Authors on: Human Rights
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