Stocks and News
Home | Week in Review Process | Terms of Use | About UsContact Us
   Articles Go Fund Me All-Species List Hot Spots Go Fund Me
Week in Review   |  Bar Chat    |  Hot Spots    |   Dr. Bortrum    |   Wall St. History
Stock and News: Hot Spots
  Search Our Archives: 
 

 

Hot Spots

http://www.gofundme.com/s3h2w8

AddThis Feed Button
   

04/24/2008

The Pope and Human Rights

[Next column May 8]

Pope Benedict XVI, April 18, 2008, speaking to the U.N.
General Assembly on the topic of human rights.

[Excerpts]

Indeed, questions of security, development goals, reduction of
local and global inequalities, protection of the environment, of
resources and of the climate, require all international leaders to
act jointly and to show a readiness to work in good faith,
respecting the law, and promoting solidarity with the weakest
regions of the planet. I am thinking especially of those countries
in Africa and other parts of the world which remain on the
margins of authentic integral development, and are therefore at
risk of experiencing only the negative effects of globalization. In
the context of international relations, it is necessary to recognize
the higher role played by rules and structures that are
intrinsically ordered to promote the common good, and therefore
to safeguard human freedom. These regulations do not limit
freedom. On the contrary, they promote it when they prohibit
behavior and actions which work against the common good, curb
its effective exercise and hence compromise the dignity of every
human person. In the name of freedom, there has to be a
correlation between rights and duties, by which every person is
called to assume responsibility for his or her choices, made as a
consequence of entering into relations with others. Here our
thoughts turn also to the way the results of scientific research and
technological advances have sometimes been applied.
Notwithstanding the enormous benefits that humanity can gain,
some instances of this represent a clear violation of the order of
creation, to the point where not only is the sacred character of
life contradicted, but the human person and the family are robbed
of their natural identity. Likewise, international action to
preserve the environment and to protect various forms of life on
earth must not only guarantee a rational use of technology and
science, but must also rediscover the authentic image of creation.
This never requires a choice to be made between science and
ethics: rather it is a question of adopting a scientific method that
is truly respectful of ethical imperatives.

Recognition of the unity of the human family, and attention to
the innate dignity of every man and woman, today find renewed
emphasis in the principle of the responsibility to protect. This
has only recently been defined, but it was already present
implicitly at the origins of the United Nations, and is now
increasingly characteristic of its activity. Every State has the
primary duty to protect its own population from grave and
sustained violations of human rights, as well as from the
consequences of humanitarian crises, whether natural or man-
made. If States are unable to guarantee such protection, the
international community must intervene with the juridical means
provided in the United Nations Charter and in other international
instruments. The action of the international community and its
institutions, provided that it respects the principles undergirding
the international order, should never be interpreted as an
unwarranted imposition or a limitation of sovereignty. On the
contrary, it is indifference or failure to intervene that do the real
damage. What is needed is a deeper search for ways of pre-
empting and managing conflicts by exploring every possible
diplomatic avenue, and giving attention and encouragement to
even the faintest sign of dialogue or desire for reconciliation .

The founding of the United Nations, as we know, coincided with
the profound upheavals that humanity experienced when
reference to the meaning of transcendence and natural reason
was abandoned, and in consequence, freedom and human dignity
were grossly violated. When this happens, it threatens the
objective foundations of the values inspiring and governing the
international order and it undermines the cogent and inviolable
principles formulated and consolidated by the United Nations.
When faced with new and insistent challenges, it is a mistake to
fall back on a pragmatic approach, limited to determining
“common ground,” minimal in content and weak in its effect.

This reference to human dignity, which is the foundation and
goal of the responsibility to protect, leads us to the theme we are
specifically focusing upon this year, which marks the sixtieth
anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This
document was the outcome of a convergence of different
religious and cultural traditions, all of them motivated by the
common desire to place the human person at the heart of
institutions, laws and the workings of society, and to consider the
human person essential for the world of culture, religion and
science. Human rights are increasingly being presented as the
common language and the ethical substratum of international
relations. At the same time, the universality, indivisibility and
interdependence of human rights all serve as guarantees
safeguarding human dignity. It is evident, though, that the rights
recognized and expounded in the Declaration apply to everyone
by virtue of the common origin of the person, who remains the
high-point of God’s creative design for the world and for history.
They are based on the natural law inscribed on human hearts and
present in different cultures and civilizations. Removing human
rights from this context would mean restricting their range and
yielding to a relativistic conception, according to which the
meaning and interpretation of rights could vary and their
universality would be denied in the name of different cultural,
political, social and even religious outlooks. This great variety
of viewpoints must not be allowed to obscure the fact that not
only rights are universal, but so too is the human person, the
subject of those rights.

The life of the community, both domestically and internationally,
clearly demonstrates that respect for rights, and the guarantees
that follow from them, are measures of the common good that
serve to evaluate the relationship between justice and injustice,
development and poverty, security and conflict. The promotion
of human rights remains the most effective strategy for
eliminating inequalities between countries and social groups, and
for increasing security. Indeed, the victims of hardship and
despair, whose human dignity is violated with impunity, become
easy prey to the call to violence, and they can then become
violators of peace. The common good that human rights help to
accomplish cannot, however, be attained merely by applying
correct procedures, nor even less by achieving a balance between
competing rights. The merit of the Universal Declaration is that
it has enabled different cultures, juridical expressions and
institutional models to converge around a fundamental nucleus of
values, and hence of rights. Today, though, efforts need to be
redoubled in the face of pressure to reinterpret the foundations of
the Declaration and to compromise its inner unity so as to
facilitate a move away from the protection of human dignity
towards the satisfaction of simple interests, often particular
interests. The Declaration was adopted as a “common standard
of achievement” and cannot be applied piecemeal, according to
trends or selective choices that merely run the risk of
contradicting the unity of the human person and thus the
indivisibility of human rights.

Experience shows that legality often prevails over justice when
the insistence upon rights makes them appear as the exclusive
result of legislative enactments or normative decisions taken by
the various agencies of those in power. When presented purely
in terms of legality, rights risk becoming weak propositions
divorced from the ethical and rational dimension which is their
foundation and their goal. The Universal Declaration, rather, has
reinforced the conviction that respect for human rights is
principally rooted in unchanging justice, on which the binding
force of international proclamations is also based. This aspect is
often overlooked when the attempt is made to deprive rights of
their true function in the name of a narrowly utilitarian
perspective. Since rights and the resulting duties follow
naturally from human interaction, it is easy to forget that they are
the fruit of a commonly held sense of justice built primarily upon
solidarity among the members of society, and hence valid at all
times and for all peoples. This intuition was expressed as early
as the fifth century by Augustine of Hippo, one of the masters of
our intellectual heritage. He taught that the saying: Do not do to
others what you would not want done to you “cannot in any way
vary according to the different understandings that have arisen in
the world.” Human rights, then, must be respected as an
expression of justice, and not merely because they are
enforceable through the will of the legislators .

Discernment, that is, the capacity to distinguish good from evil,
becomes even more essential in the context of demands that
concern the very lives and conduct of persons, communities and
peoples. In tackling the theme of rights, since important
situations and profound realities are involved, discernment is
both an indispensable and a fruitful virtue.

Discernment, then, shows that entrusting exclusively to
individual States, with their laws and institutions, the final
responsibility to meet the aspirations of persons, communities
and entire peoples, can sometimes have consequences that
exclude the possibility of a social order respectful of the dignity
and rights of the person. On the other hand, a vision of life
firmly anchored in the religious dimension can help to achieve
this, since recognition of the transcendent value of every man
and woman favors conversion of heart, which then leads to a
commitment to resist violence, terrorism and war, and to promote
justice and peace. This also provides the proper context for the
inter-religious dialogue that the United Nations is called to
support, just as it supports dialogue in other areas of human
activity. Dialogue should be recognized as the means by which
the various components of society can articulate their point of
view and build consensus around the truth concerning particular
values or goals. It pertains to the nature of religions, freely
practiced, that they can autonomously conduct a dialogue of
thought and life. If at this level, too, the religious sphere is kept
separate from political action, then great benefits ensue for
individuals and communities. On the other hand, the United
Nations can count on the results of dialogue between religions,
and can draw fruit from the willingness of believers to place their
experiences at the service of the common good. Their task is to
propose a vision of faith not in terms of intolerance,
discrimination and conflict, but in terms of complete respect for
truth, coexistence, rights, and reconciliation.

---

Hot Spots returns in two weeks.

Brian Trumbore


AddThis Feed Button

 

-04/24/2008-      
Web Epoch NJ Web Design  |  (c) Copyright 2016 StocksandNews.com, LLC.

Hot Spots

04/24/2008

The Pope and Human Rights

[Next column May 8]

Pope Benedict XVI, April 18, 2008, speaking to the U.N.
General Assembly on the topic of human rights.

[Excerpts]

Indeed, questions of security, development goals, reduction of
local and global inequalities, protection of the environment, of
resources and of the climate, require all international leaders to
act jointly and to show a readiness to work in good faith,
respecting the law, and promoting solidarity with the weakest
regions of the planet. I am thinking especially of those countries
in Africa and other parts of the world which remain on the
margins of authentic integral development, and are therefore at
risk of experiencing only the negative effects of globalization. In
the context of international relations, it is necessary to recognize
the higher role played by rules and structures that are
intrinsically ordered to promote the common good, and therefore
to safeguard human freedom. These regulations do not limit
freedom. On the contrary, they promote it when they prohibit
behavior and actions which work against the common good, curb
its effective exercise and hence compromise the dignity of every
human person. In the name of freedom, there has to be a
correlation between rights and duties, by which every person is
called to assume responsibility for his or her choices, made as a
consequence of entering into relations with others. Here our
thoughts turn also to the way the results of scientific research and
technological advances have sometimes been applied.
Notwithstanding the enormous benefits that humanity can gain,
some instances of this represent a clear violation of the order of
creation, to the point where not only is the sacred character of
life contradicted, but the human person and the family are robbed
of their natural identity. Likewise, international action to
preserve the environment and to protect various forms of life on
earth must not only guarantee a rational use of technology and
science, but must also rediscover the authentic image of creation.
This never requires a choice to be made between science and
ethics: rather it is a question of adopting a scientific method that
is truly respectful of ethical imperatives.

Recognition of the unity of the human family, and attention to
the innate dignity of every man and woman, today find renewed
emphasis in the principle of the responsibility to protect. This
has only recently been defined, but it was already present
implicitly at the origins of the United Nations, and is now
increasingly characteristic of its activity. Every State has the
primary duty to protect its own population from grave and
sustained violations of human rights, as well as from the
consequences of humanitarian crises, whether natural or man-
made. If States are unable to guarantee such protection, the
international community must intervene with the juridical means
provided in the United Nations Charter and in other international
instruments. The action of the international community and its
institutions, provided that it respects the principles undergirding
the international order, should never be interpreted as an
unwarranted imposition or a limitation of sovereignty. On the
contrary, it is indifference or failure to intervene that do the real
damage. What is needed is a deeper search for ways of pre-
empting and managing conflicts by exploring every possible
diplomatic avenue, and giving attention and encouragement to
even the faintest sign of dialogue or desire for reconciliation .

The founding of the United Nations, as we know, coincided with
the profound upheavals that humanity experienced when
reference to the meaning of transcendence and natural reason
was abandoned, and in consequence, freedom and human dignity
were grossly violated. When this happens, it threatens the
objective foundations of the values inspiring and governing the
international order and it undermines the cogent and inviolable
principles formulated and consolidated by the United Nations.
When faced with new and insistent challenges, it is a mistake to
fall back on a pragmatic approach, limited to determining
“common ground,” minimal in content and weak in its effect.

This reference to human dignity, which is the foundation and
goal of the responsibility to protect, leads us to the theme we are
specifically focusing upon this year, which marks the sixtieth
anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This
document was the outcome of a convergence of different
religious and cultural traditions, all of them motivated by the
common desire to place the human person at the heart of
institutions, laws and the workings of society, and to consider the
human person essential for the world of culture, religion and
science. Human rights are increasingly being presented as the
common language and the ethical substratum of international
relations. At the same time, the universality, indivisibility and
interdependence of human rights all serve as guarantees
safeguarding human dignity. It is evident, though, that the rights
recognized and expounded in the Declaration apply to everyone
by virtue of the common origin of the person, who remains the
high-point of God’s creative design for the world and for history.
They are based on the natural law inscribed on human hearts and
present in different cultures and civilizations. Removing human
rights from this context would mean restricting their range and
yielding to a relativistic conception, according to which the
meaning and interpretation of rights could vary and their
universality would be denied in the name of different cultural,
political, social and even religious outlooks. This great variety
of viewpoints must not be allowed to obscure the fact that not
only rights are universal, but so too is the human person, the
subject of those rights.

The life of the community, both domestically and internationally,
clearly demonstrates that respect for rights, and the guarantees
that follow from them, are measures of the common good that
serve to evaluate the relationship between justice and injustice,
development and poverty, security and conflict. The promotion
of human rights remains the most effective strategy for
eliminating inequalities between countries and social groups, and
for increasing security. Indeed, the victims of hardship and
despair, whose human dignity is violated with impunity, become
easy prey to the call to violence, and they can then become
violators of peace. The common good that human rights help to
accomplish cannot, however, be attained merely by applying
correct procedures, nor even less by achieving a balance between
competing rights. The merit of the Universal Declaration is that
it has enabled different cultures, juridical expressions and
institutional models to converge around a fundamental nucleus of
values, and hence of rights. Today, though, efforts need to be
redoubled in the face of pressure to reinterpret the foundations of
the Declaration and to compromise its inner unity so as to
facilitate a move away from the protection of human dignity
towards the satisfaction of simple interests, often particular
interests. The Declaration was adopted as a “common standard
of achievement” and cannot be applied piecemeal, according to
trends or selective choices that merely run the risk of
contradicting the unity of the human person and thus the
indivisibility of human rights.

Experience shows that legality often prevails over justice when
the insistence upon rights makes them appear as the exclusive
result of legislative enactments or normative decisions taken by
the various agencies of those in power. When presented purely
in terms of legality, rights risk becoming weak propositions
divorced from the ethical and rational dimension which is their
foundation and their goal. The Universal Declaration, rather, has
reinforced the conviction that respect for human rights is
principally rooted in unchanging justice, on which the binding
force of international proclamations is also based. This aspect is
often overlooked when the attempt is made to deprive rights of
their true function in the name of a narrowly utilitarian
perspective. Since rights and the resulting duties follow
naturally from human interaction, it is easy to forget that they are
the fruit of a commonly held sense of justice built primarily upon
solidarity among the members of society, and hence valid at all
times and for all peoples. This intuition was expressed as early
as the fifth century by Augustine of Hippo, one of the masters of
our intellectual heritage. He taught that the saying: Do not do to
others what you would not want done to you “cannot in any way
vary according to the different understandings that have arisen in
the world.” Human rights, then, must be respected as an
expression of justice, and not merely because they are
enforceable through the will of the legislators .

Discernment, that is, the capacity to distinguish good from evil,
becomes even more essential in the context of demands that
concern the very lives and conduct of persons, communities and
peoples. In tackling the theme of rights, since important
situations and profound realities are involved, discernment is
both an indispensable and a fruitful virtue.

Discernment, then, shows that entrusting exclusively to
individual States, with their laws and institutions, the final
responsibility to meet the aspirations of persons, communities
and entire peoples, can sometimes have consequences that
exclude the possibility of a social order respectful of the dignity
and rights of the person. On the other hand, a vision of life
firmly anchored in the religious dimension can help to achieve
this, since recognition of the transcendent value of every man
and woman favors conversion of heart, which then leads to a
commitment to resist violence, terrorism and war, and to promote
justice and peace. This also provides the proper context for the
inter-religious dialogue that the United Nations is called to
support, just as it supports dialogue in other areas of human
activity. Dialogue should be recognized as the means by which
the various components of society can articulate their point of
view and build consensus around the truth concerning particular
values or goals. It pertains to the nature of religions, freely
practiced, that they can autonomously conduct a dialogue of
thought and life. If at this level, too, the religious sphere is kept
separate from political action, then great benefits ensue for
individuals and communities. On the other hand, the United
Nations can count on the results of dialogue between religions,
and can draw fruit from the willingness of believers to place their
experiences at the service of the common good. Their task is to
propose a vision of faith not in terms of intolerance,
discrimination and conflict, but in terms of complete respect for
truth, coexistence, rights, and reconciliation.

---

Hot Spots returns in two weeks.

Brian Trumbore