John Paul II, "doctor honoris causa", for his defense of Human Rights

Source: FSSPX News


This Saturday the Pope received the diploma of doctor honoris causa of law from the University of La Sapienza in Rome, on the occasion of the 700th anniversary of its establishment, for his work in defense of the Human Rights.

The award ceremony for the doctorate took place in the general audience room, at the Vatican, in the presence of many Italian personalities, including the president Silvio Berlusconi, as well as the professorial staff of La Sapienza. Receiving this recognition, the Pope explained that “giving a dominant place to the affirmation of human rights, because they are closely linked to two fundamental points of Christian philosophy: the dignity of the person and peace” was part and parcel of his ministry.

“Indeed God by creating Man in his own image and calling him to be his adoptive son, has given him an incomparable dignity. And God created men to live in peace and harmony, seeing to it that there is a fair distribution of the necessary means to live and develop,” he added.

The Pope spoke of the fundamental human rights, for which he had fought “with all his might” from the beginning of his pontificate, that is to say for nearly 25 years.

He first mentionned the right to life, for “human life is sacred and inviolable from its conception to its natural end.”

“I have particularly insisted on the fact that the embryo is a human individual and as such it possesses all the inviolable rights of a human being. The legal norm is thus called to define the legal status of the embryo as the subject of rights which cannot not be respected, as much by the moral order as by the legal order,” he explained.

The Pope then quoted the “right to religious liberty” recognized by the Universal Declaration of the Rights of Man, and by other basic documents on international law. According to the Pope, “religious liberty” is not a “human right among others” but “that to which all other rights are bound, because the dignity of man has its prime source in the essential relationship with God”. It is a “test for the respect of other fundamental rights,” the Pope added.

John Paul II quoted other rights, such as:

“The right not to be discriminated against for reasons of race, language, religion or sex.”

“The right to private property, which is valid and necessary, but which must never be dissociated from the more fundamental right of the universal destination of goods.”

“The right of freedom of association, expression and of information, always with respect for the truth and for the dignity of the person.”

“The right – which today is also a serious duty – to participate in political life, destined to promote the common good in an organic and institutional way.”

“The right to economic initiative.”

“The right to housing, that is to say “the right to housing for every person with his family”, closely linked to “the right to set up a family and have a fairly paid job.”

“The right to education and culture, since illiteracy constitutes an immense poverty and is often synonymous with being on the fringe of society.”

“The right of minorities to exist and to preserve and develop their own culture.”

“The right to work and the rights of workers: a subject to which I consecrated the encyclical Laborem exercens.”

The Holy Father concluded by recalling that he had been equally dedicated to the defense of the “rights of the family against intolerable usurpations by society and the state, being well aware that the family is the privileged place of humanization of the individual and of society, and that it is through the family that the future of the world and the Church passes.”