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Cardinal Nichols deplores rape in war

June 13, 2014

Speaking at the Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict, Cardinal Vincent Nichols of Westminster decried rape in war.

“Every human activity is subject to moral principles and judgment if it is not to lose its truly human character and sink into the realms of the amoral, the dark hole of a subhuman wilderness,” he said. Quoting the teaching of the Catechism on immoral acts in war, he said that “this principle applies to situations of warfare and conflict.”

“A fundamental aspect of the Church's teaching about sex is that sexual acts must always take place within the context of authentic freedom,” he added. “There is no place in sexual relations for brutality, aggression or any kind of de-humanization of a person.”

Cardinal Nichols noted that “human rights can best be seen when they are understood in the light of their ultimate origin”:

The dignity of every person arises from within their nature and that nature is most clearly understood as deriving from its Creator, from the mystery of God. Here the light of faith sharpens our rational understanding, it deepens our sense of who we are and the dignity which is properly ours. And in this God-given dignity, the right to life itself and the right to bodily integrity are fundamental, as is the right to religious freedom. The violation of that bodily integrity in sexual violence is therefore a most fundamental denial of human dignity and a most gross breach of a person's human rights. It is a crime which ought to be eradicated with all vigor.


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