Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

Christian teaching gave rise to understanding of human rights, says Vatican official

Catholic World News - December 16, 2013

The very notion of human rights “originated in a Christian context,” the Vatican’s top foreign-policy official has stated.

Speaking at a conference held in Rome under the auspices of Georgetown University, Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, the Secretary for Relations with States, observed that a profound appreciation for the value of freedom has always been present in Christian thought, beginning with the teachings of Jesus Christ and continuing with St. Paul’s emphasis on the need for interior freedom.

The archbishop reminded his audience that the world is now observing the 1700th anniversary of the Edict of Milan, which began a process of establishing recognize human rights, and especially “the recognition of religious freedom as the first of human rights.”

“Freedom cannot be reduced to mere caprice, or understood in a purely negative sense as the absence of constraint,” Archbishop Mamberti cautioned. A proper understanding of human freedom acknowledges the role of both reason and faith, he said, and in this way “provides a bulwark against both relativism and against those forms of religious fundamentalism which, like relativism, see in religious freedom a threat to their own ideological dominance.”

When the Second Vatican Council affirmed the need for religious freedom, the archbishop said, “it was not proposing a new teaching. Rather, it was restating a common human experience,” and an age-old understanding that rational men, exercising their freedom responsibly, are inclined by nature to seek the truth. “And it is precisely in this connection,” he said, “that we discover the authentic dignity of the human person.”

Additional sources for this story
Some links will take you to other sites, in a new window.

An appeal from our founder, Dr. Jeffrey Mirus:

Dear reader: If you found the information on this page helpful in your pursuit of a better Catholic life, please support our work with a donation. Your donation will help us reach seven million Truth-seeking readers worldwide this year. Thank you!

Progress toward our September expenses ($33,805 to go):
$35,000.00 $1,194.54
97% 3%
Sound Off! CatholicCulture.org supporters weigh in.

All comments are moderated. To lighten our editing burden, only current donors are allowed to Sound Off. If you are a donor, log in to see the comment form; otherwise please support our work, and Sound Off!

There are no comments yet for this item.

Subscribe for free
Shop Amazon
Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

Recent Catholic Commentary

Famous actors bring the New Testament to dramatic life in this audio Bible 14 hours ago
Preparing for the Jubilee of Mercy 16 hours ago
Final Liturgical Year volume for 2014-2015 now available August 31
Church Fathers: The Third Century and the School of Alexandria August 29
Every Aspect of the Catholic Thing August 28

Top Catholic News

Most Important Stories of the Last 30 Days
Pope Francis: welcome with compassion those who have remarried outside the Church CWN - August 5
Pope Francis: SSPX priests will licitly and validly absolve sins during Jubilee of Mercy CWN - September 1