It would seem to go without saying, but a pure justice–the lack of purposeful or exploitative infringement on another person–goes without saying. As Pope Francis discusses “false rights,” it occurs to me one vital and overlooked corrective, especially for the powerful, is to be mindful of the other lung: responsibility.
171. I would also insist that “to give to each his own – to cite the classic definition of justice – means that no human individual or group can consider itself absolute, entitled to bypass the dignity and the rights of other individuals or their social groupings. The effective distribution of power (especially political, economic, defense-related and technological power) among a plurality of subjects, and the creation of a juridical system for regulating claims and interests, are one concrete way of limiting power. Yet today’s world presents us with many false rights and – at the same time – broad sectors which are vulnerable, victims of power badly exercised”. [Address to the Members of the General Assembly of the United Nations Organization, New York(25 September 2015): AAS 107 (2015), 1037]
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