No Defense of Children if Family Is Not Defended, U.N. Summit Told

Cardinal López Trujillo Criticizes Demographic Policies Against Life

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NEW YORK, MAY 10, 2002 ( The Holy See addressed the world summit on children to affirm that the best way to defend children is to support the family, and it criticized the demographic policies that violate their fundamental rights.

Cardinal Alfonso López Trujillo, president of the Pontifical Council for the Family, spoke in the name of John Paul II at the Special Session of the U.N. General Assembly on Children. The cardinal based much of his address on the 1989 Convention on the Rights of the Child 1989 Convention on the Rights of the Child.

The cardinal pointed out that the «central criterion» of that 1989 Convention is «the best interests of the child,» which are rooted «in the child´s personal dignity.»

«The child is an end, not an instrument, a means, or an object. The child is the subject of rights, starting from the fundamental right to life from conception. And this fact cannot be denied by anyone, as stated in Paragraph 9 of the Preamble of the Convention on the Rights of the Child,» the cardinal stressed.

«The process of human development in all its aspects — physical, emotional, spiritual, intellectual and social — is the result of a synergy between the family and society,» he said.

Hence, «the best interests of the child» call for «an adequate relationship with the family, based on marriage, the cradle and sanctuary of life, the place for personal growth, affection, solidarity, law and the intergenerational transmission of culture,» Cardinal López Trujillo explained.

If children are to be cared for, «the international community must be committed to defending the value of the family and respect for human life from the moment of conception. These are values that belong to the basic ´grammar´ of dialogue and human coexistence among peoples,» the cardinal emphasized.

«The rights of children and the rights of the family should be articulated together,» he said. In saying this, the cardinal addressed one of the most controversial debates of this a assembly — the concept of the family — which some delegations wish to open to other types of unions.

The family, he said, «based on marriage must be understood as the covenant whereby a man and a woman establish between themselves a partnership of their whole life, … which of its own very nature is ordered to the well-being of the spouses and to the procreation and upbringing of children.»

«Everything must be done so that children can be conceived, born, raised and educated in a family that is capable of offering protection and example, in a positive and permanent way, as irreplaceable elements of their upbringing,» Cardinal López Trujillo stressed.

At the same time, the cardinal said that «legislation is needed to protect children from all forms of exploitation and abuse, as in the case of incest and pedophilia, as well as through labor, slavery, the abominable crimes of prostitution and pornography, their use as soldiers or guerrillas, or as victims of armed conflicts, or of international or unilateral sanctions imposed on some countries.»

Lastly, Cardinal López Trujillo said that the Holy See maintains that «the best interests of children are not recognized when, conditioned by the myth of overpopulation — which the most recent data and demographic trends have shown to be unconvincing — population policies are imposed that go against the rights of the family and children.»

The three-day summit ends today.

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