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Nations must respect parental rights, Holy See’s UN envoy emphasizes

Catholic World News - July 29, 2011

Archbishop Francis Chullikatt, permanent observer of the Holy See at the United Nations, told the UN General Assembly that states must respect parental rights in the education of youth. The prelate made his remarks on the occasion of the United Nations High-level Meeting on Youth.

“The family, founded on the marriage between one man and one woman, is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and must be guaranteed protection by society and the State,” he said. “Parents--mother and father together--have the primary responsibility for the upbringing and development of their children to help them become virtuous citizens and leaders. Parents cannot withdraw from this essential role.”

“States are called, in conformity with international instruments, to respect the responsibilities, rights, and duties of parents in this regard,” he added. “Youth policies, programs, action plans, and commitments approved by member states must respect fully the role of parents regarding their children’s welfare and education, including in the area of human sexuality and so-called ‘sexual and reproductive health’ that should not include abortion.”

Young people, he added, ought to grow up in a climate free from violence and respectful of objective norms.

“Many people in the world today do not have stable points of reference on which to build their lives and so they end up being deeply insecure,” Archbishop Chullikatt said. “There is a growing mentality of relativism, which holds that everything is equally valid, that truth and absolute points of reference do not exist. Such a way of thinking does not lead to authentic freedom, but rather to instability, confusion, and blind conformity to the fads of the moment with which certain cultures around the world tempt our youth.”

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