Pope Francis and Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI have sent letters to Fr. Federico Lombardi in gratitude for the Joseph Ratzinger-Benedict XVI Vatican Foundation of which the former Holy See Press Office Director serves as president.
They were written to mark the inauguration of the 2018 International Symposium “Fundamental Rights and Conflicts Among Rights,” being held by the Ratzinger Foundation in Rome.
Here is a Zenit working translation of Pope Francis’ Nov. 13, 2018, letter:
To Reverend Father FEDERICO LOMBARDI, S.J.
President of the Administration Committee
of the Joseph Ratzinger – Benedict XVI Vatican Foundation
On the occasion of the International Symposium on the theme “Fundamental Rights and Conflicts Among Rights,” organized in collaboration between the Joseph Ratzinger – Benedict XVI Vatican Foundation and the Mary Most Holy Assunta Free University, I wish to send to the organizers, the distinguished speakers and the participants my greeting and best wishes for the fruitful unfolding of the works.
While the 70th anniversary approaches of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of the Rights of Man by the United Nations General Assembly, it is opportune not only to celebrate the memory of that historic event, but also to engage in further reflection on the implementation and development of the vision of human rights in today’s world.
In the address to the Diplomatic Corps last January, dedicated in fact to this Declaration, I observed that it is geared to removing the walls of separation that divide the human family and to foster integral human development. However, I highlighted at the same time how one must “verify that, in the course of the years, the interpretation of some of the rights has been progressively modified, so as to include a multiplicity of ‘new rights,’ not rarely opposed to one another.” Thus, a series of problems opens, which comes to involve in depth the very idea of a right and its foundations.
Pope Benedict XVI warned lucidly about the urgency of these topics for our time and he intervened authoritatively on them as thinker and pastor. In fact, because of this, twenty years ago this University conferred on the then Cardinal Ratzinger the laurea honoris causa in Jurisprudence.
Therefore, I hope that the high-level academic Symposium that is about to be held, drawing inspiration from the thought and magisterium of our beloved Pope Emeritus, will be able to contribute with courage and profundity to enlighten a fundamental problem for the protection of the dignity of the human person and his integral development.
Animated by these sentiments, I am happy to impart to those gathered my Blessing, and I ask all to remember me in prayer.
From the Vatican, November 13, 2018[Vatican-provided English text]