Benedict XVI Stresses Inviolability of Human Values

Calls Them a Foundation for Dialogue With the World

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VATICAN CITY, DEC. 1, 2005 ( Benedict XVI says that the inviolable character of human rights serves as the foundation for dialogue with the world of the laity.

The Pope made this point today with members of the International Theological Commission, led for the first time by Archbishop William Levada, who as prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith is also president of the commission.

The plenary session is focusing on two topics that it began to address when Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was its president: the destiny of children who died without baptism, and the natural moral law.

The latter subject, the Holy Father said, “is particularly important in understanding the foundation of those rights that are rooted in the nature of the person and that, as such, derive from the will of God the creator himself.”

“Prior to any positive law emanated by states, such rights are universal, inviolable and inalienable, and must be recognized as such by everyone, especially by the civil authorities who are called to promote them and guarantee that they are respected,” he continued.

Bearer of norms

“Although in modern culture, the concept of ‘human nature’ seems to have been lost,” the Pope said, “the fact remains that human rights cannot be understood without presupposing that man, in his very being, is the bearer of values and norms that must be rediscovered and reaffirmed, not invented and imposed in a subjective and arbitrary manner.”

In this connection, Benedict XVI pointed out that “dialogue with the world of the laity is very important. It must be made very clear that negating an ontological foundation of the essential values of human life, inevitably leads to positivism and makes law dependent on the trends of thought dominant in a society; thus rendering law an instrument of power, rather than subordinating power to the law.”

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