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 July expenses ($34,990 to go):
$35,000.00 $10.00
100% 0%
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

A Baptist leader with a message the Synod of Bishops should hear 9 hours ago
'Helpful' advice for social conservatives: ignore causes, deal with effects 10 hours ago
In the Aftermath of Obergefell 10 hours ago
The political outlook after Obergefell June 29
Good news/bad news on the Vatican PR overhaul June 29

Top Catholic News

Most Important Stories of the Last 30 Days
Pope approves process for holding bishops accountable in abuse cases CWN - June 10
Pope Francis’ 2nd encyclical released (includes link to full text) CWN - June 18
US Supreme Court rules all states must recognize same-sex marriage CWN - June 26
Archbishop Nienstedt, auxiliary bishop resign CWN - June 15
Cardinal Kasper: Pope never approved my proposal CWN - June 4