Contemporary Issue: Human Rights


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 Encyclicals

Rerum Novarum Dignitatis Humanae

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"
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I invite you to look around at the new things which surround us and in which we find ourselves… (Saint John Paul II, Centesimus Annus, 1991) Taken from "Catholic Social Teaching 101"
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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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Just a Thought
Deepr_human_dignity
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. Read more
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