Dignity of the human person central to Pope’s Vatican address to Diplomatic Corps

A failure to recognise the dignity of the human person has “resulted in barbarous acts that have outraged the conscience of mankind” Pope Francis has said to diplomats at the Vatican. Addressing the Corps of Diplomats Accredited to the Holy See the Pope stressed that without this fundamental recognition the inalienable rights of freedom, justice and peace would never be secured.

The Pope urged all nations to ensure that “every human being, independent of his or her physical, spiritual or social condition, is worthy of respect and consideration”.

The Pope commented on the progressive changing of rights and, in particular, the inclusion of a number of new rights “that not infrequently conflict with one another”. He spoke about the risk of modern forms of “ideological colonization” brought forth by the powerful to the detriment of the less fortunate and most vulnerable. In the past the Pope has included gender fluidity, or the idea that one can change gender, as a form of ideological colonization.

A number of rights that would have previously been of fundamental value but are now violated in many countries is a matter of grave concern to the Pope. The “first among all of these”, he says, “is the right of every human person to life, liberty and personal security”. The Pope continued: “It is not only war or violence that infringes these rights. In our day, there are more subtle means: I think primarily of innocent children discarded even before they are born, unwanted at times simply because they are ill or malformed, or as a result of the selfishness of adults. I think of the elderly, who are often cast aside, especially when infirm and viewed as a burden. I think of women who repeatedly suffer from violence and oppression, even within their own families. I think too of the victims of human trafficking, which violates the prohibition of every form of slavery”.

The Pope again spoke out against the proliferation of nuclear weapons, saying that it “aggravates situations of conflict and entails enormous human and material costs that undermine development and the search for lasting peace”. He hailed the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, agreed last year at the UN Conference but believes there is much more to be done. The Pope suggested nations have “a serene and wide ranging debate on the subject, one that avoids polarising the international community on such a sensitive issue”. He reemphasised the Holy See’s conviction that “any disputes which may arise between nations must be resolved by negotiation and agreement, not by recourse to arms” and that “love, not fear, must dominate the relationships between individuals and between nations”.

The Pope specifically mentioned the Korean peninsula and the need to support every form of dialogue in the search for peace. He also spoke of Syria and his hope that the conflict which has caused much suffering might finally be coming to an end, urging the repatriation of refugees to a new social life where “every citizen, regardless of ethnic and religious affiliation, can take part in the development of the country”. He praised the efforts of Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey in sheltering refugees. Moving to mainland Europe he specifically praised Italy, Germany and Greece in helping refugees find peace and security.

A “special thought” was given to families with the Pope saying that “the right to form a family, as a “natural and fundamental group unit of society…is entitled to protection by society and the state”, and is recognised by the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights. He lamented the fact that, in the West, the family is “considered an obsolete institution” and that “fleeting relationships are preferred to the stability of a definitive life project”. He said that “a house built on the sand of frail and fickle relationships cannot stand” and instead nations must rely on the rock of “that faithful and indissoluble communion of love that joins a man and woman, a communion that has an austere and simple beauty, a sacred and inviolable character and a natural role in the social order”. He called on states to urgently adopt policies to support the family, “on which the future and the development of states depend”.

The Pope also spoke of the importance of the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion and the right to employment. The latter, he said, is important for ensuring peace and development in nations as individuals need to be given the “chance to contribute personally by their own labour to the growth of the common good”.

Click the following link to read the full address of the Pope: https://zenit.org/articles/pope-francis-speech-to-diplomatic-corps-2/