Sunday, October 21, 2007

Human Rights Not Negotiable

...thus spake the Holy See.

"Many in contemporary society actually deny the existence of a specific human nature, which only adds to confusion and, in many cases, hinders authentic dialogue.

"Clarity in this regard is needed so that a weak vision of the person will not open the door to authoritarian impositions and leave people defenseless and easy targets for oppression and violence."

The monsignor asked, "Relativistic notions of what it means to be a person offer insufficient justification and defense of human rights; because if rights are absolute, how can they be founded on a notion that is merely relative?"

He added: "Human rights, therefore, must be grounded in the objective requirements of human nature. Otherwise, in some cases the human person is marked by a permanent dignity, and rights that are always and everywhere valid; in other cases a person may not have a permanent dignity, and negotiable rights.

"This state of affairs is what we witness everyday in acts of intolerance and discrimination.

"Without a clear and strong awareness of who we are as persons, it will always be easier to claim that some people are worthy of respect and others are not; some people have the right to life, liberty, and religious belief, and others do not."

"Yet," Monsignor Frontiero concluded, "the task at hand is not simply to condemn actual injustices in the light of an adequately understood concept of the human person and human dignity, but to work together for a meaningful new future."