Pacem In Terris 11: Rights

Rights are basic, inalienable:

11. But first We must speak of (human) rights. (A person) has the right to live. (A person) has the right to bodily integrity and to the means necessary for the proper development of life, particularly food, clothing, shelter, medical care, rest, and, finally, the necessary social services. In consequence, (a person) has the right to be looked after in the event of ill health; disability stemming from … work; widowhood; old age; enforced unemployment; or whenever through no fault of (her or) his own (she or) he is deprived of the means of livelihood. (Cf. Pius XI’s encyclical letter Divini Redemptoris, AAS 29 (1931) 78; and Pius XII’s broadcast message, Pentecost, June 1, 1941, AAS 33 (1941) 195-205)

I don’t know if there’s much more to say. Violating a person’s rights is becoming an active agent against God. Unjust? Sinful? Demonic? Probably all of the above in the most serious of cases.

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About catholicsensibility

Todd and his family live in Ames, Iowa. He serves a Catholic parish of both Iowa State students and town residents.
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One Response to Pacem In Terris 11: Rights

  1. John Donaghy says:

    The section on rights in PACEM IN TERRIS is actually quite significant.

    This is one of the first places where an official document takes a formal stand for “human rights” which were often understood in terms of the “god-forsaken/god-forsaking” Enlightenment.

    Also, the list of rights includes what are often called economic and social rights – food, shelter, medical care – which are different from the civil rights that are so big in the US version of rights – freedom of speech, press, assembly, etc. This put many US ‘conservatives” ill at ease, and still does.

    In addition, a later paragraph connects rights and duties, something which may put some liberals ill at ease.

    This approach to rights I think is very important in a world where rights are often confined to civil rights or civil freedoms and where rights are often considered as absolute with any notion of duties.

    Here John XXIII really put his mark on Catholic social teaching.

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