- MAN´S DIGNITY AND RIGHTS

Created: Thursday, 20 February 2014 Last Updated: Monday, 31 March 2014

- MAN´S DIGNITY AND RIGHTS


1. The evangelisation process assumes the universal declaration of the human rights (ONU, 10th December 1948), The defence of the dignity and the rights of men is a sign of our time (Mt 16,3), discerned by the Church’s teaching like an action of God’s Spirit in our world. It was said by Paul VI: “The evangelisation would not be complete if it did not take into account the reciprocal interpellation that in the course of the times is established between the Gospel and the man’s actual, personal and social life. Due to this the Gospel carries with it an explicit message, adapted to the diverse situations and constantly updated, about the rights and duties of any human person, about the familiar life,  the society communitarian life,  the international life, the peace, the justice, the development” (EN 29). Let us see some of the more important human rights, confirmed by the Church’s teaching.
2.  The meeting and association right: “Any person has the right to the free meeting and peaceful association. Nobody can be obliged to belong to a particular association” (DDH 20, 12). “The meeting and association right raises from the human beings intrinsic sociability, like also the right to grant to the associations the most convenient structure in order to obtain its objectives and the right to move inside them by the own initiative and responsibility so that the associations can reach the desired purpose” (John XXIII, PT 23; cfr. GS 73).
3.  The political participation right: “Any person has the right to participate in his country government, directly or by the way of free elected representatives”  (DDH 21.1) “The people’s will is the public power authority basis; this choice will be expressed by means of genuine elections that must take place periodically, by universal and equal suffrage and by a secret vote that guarantees its freedom” (DDH 21,3). “It is in perfect agreement with human nature the fact of constituting political-judicial structures offering to all the citizens, without any kind of discrimination and with a growing perfection, effective possibilities of a free and active participation in the determination of the juridical fundaments of the political community, in the government of the public thing, in the determination of the action grounds and the limits of the different institutions and in the election of the rulers.  Thus, all citizens must recall the right and the duty they have to vote in freedom to promote the common welfare” (GS 75; cfr. PT 26).
4. The labour participation right: “Any person has the right to found trade unions and to syndicate in his interests defence” (DDH 23,4). “Among the human person fundamental rights the right of the workers to freely found unions to authentically represent the worker and that are able to collaborate in the adequate disposition of the economic life, must be included, as well as the right to freely participate in the association activities without any risk of reprisals” (GS 68).
5. The education right: “Any person has the right to the education. The education must be free of charge, at least in what concerns to the elemental and fundamental instruction. The elemental instruction shall be compulsory. The technical and professional instruction must be general; the access to higher studies shall be equal opportunity to everybody and conditioned by the respective merits” (DDH 26,1). “It is possible today to liberate to many men of the ignorance misery. So, one of the most adequate duties of our times, above all for the Christians, is to work eagerly so that in the economy as well as in the politics, in the national grounds as well as in the international ones, fundamental rules are in place in order that the right to the culture demanded by the person dignity, without race, sex, nationality, religion or social condition distinction, is acknowledge and effective everywhere” (GS 60)
6. Expression and information right: “ Any person has the right to the opinion and expression freedom; this right includes not to be disturbed because of his opinions, to investigate and receive information and opinions and to diffuse them, without any frontiers limitations, by any means of communication” (DDH 19). “Any human being has the natural right to the due respect to his person, to a good reputation, to the freedom to look for the truth and, in the moral order and common welfare limits, to manifest and defend his ideas…. and… to have an objective information of the public events” (PT 12).
7.  The right to not be subject to torture, cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment: “Nobody will be subject to torture neither to punishment or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment” (DDH 5). “Nobody will be submitted neither to slavery nor to servitude; slavery and slaves trade are forbidden in any or its ways” (DDH 4). “Anything attempting against life… ; anything violating  the human person integrity, like, for instance, mutilations, moral or physical tortures, the systematic intents to dominate another’s mind; anything offending the human dignity, like the infrahuman life conditions, the deportations, the slavery, the prostitution, the white women and youngsters trade, or the degrading labour conditions reducing the worker to a mere profit instrument, without a respect to the human person freedom and responsibility; all these practices and any other similar to them are infamous in themselves, they degrade the human civilization, they dishonour more its authors than its victims and are completely against any honour due to the Creator” (GS 27).
8.  The right to a truly human life: “ Any person has the right to an adequate life level that can ensure him, as well as to his family, the health and welfare, and especially the necessary alimentation, dressing, dwelling, medical assistance and social services; he also has the right to the precise insurance for illness, disablement, widowhood, oldness or other events which cause the loss of their subsistence means due to circumstances out of their will” (DDH 25,1). “ It is, then, necessary to facilitate to the men anything that they need to live a truly human life, like the aliment, the dressing, the dwelling, the right to a free state election and to found a family, to the education, the work, the good fame, the respect, an adequate information, to behave according to the right rule of their conscience, the private life protection and the just freedom in religious matters too” (GS 26).
9. -      The right to the religious freedom: “Any human person has the right to the thinking, conscience and religion freedom; this right includes the freedom to change religion or credence, as well as the freedom to manifest his religion or credence, individually and collectively, in public or privately, by means of the teaching, the practice, the cult and the observance” (DDH 18). “This Vatican Council declares that the person has the right to the religious freedom. This freedom consists in that all men must be immune to particular persons as well as social groups or any human power constraint, and this in such way that in religious matters nobody is obliged neither to behave against his conscience nor is hindered to act according to it, in public as well as in private, alone or associated with others, in the due limits. It also declares that the religious freedom right is founded is the very dignity of the human person” (DH 2).
* Dialogue: Present applications.