Pope’s Main Statements during His 8th Apostolic Visit to the United States (April 15-21)

Source: FSSPX News


During a Brief Press Conference on the Plane

On April 15, in the special plane from Alitalia taking him to Washington, the pope answered the questions put to him by the journalists aboard. Thus he said that he was “ashamed” by the sexual abuses committed by priests in the United States. He mentioned the “suffering of the Church in the United States and of the Church in general.” “It is difficult for me to understand how it was possible for priests to fail in this way in the mission to give healing, to give God’s love to these children,” he confided. “We will do everything possible to ensure that this does not happen in future. We will absolutely exclude pedophiles from the sacred ministry,” he added. “It is absolutely incompatible, and whoever is really guilty of being a pedophile cannot be a priest.” The pope spoke of three levels on which they would have to act: the level of justice, the pastoral level, and the level of discernment to prevent further abuses. First, he wished to “help the victims, because they are deeply affected,” and he repeated that: “pedophiles cannot be priests.” On the pastoral level, Benedict XVI wanted to promote “healing and help and assistance and reconciliation.” Lastly, concerning seminarians’ formation, the pope urged bishops to have “a strong discernment,” pointing out that: “it is more important to have good priests than to have many priests.” “We will do in the future, all that is possible to heal these wounds,” the sovereign pontiff concluded.

 The Church in the United States has numbered 4,000 victims of sexual abuses committed by priests in the country over the last fifty years. The scandals did untold harm to the credibility of Church authorities, and have already cost more than two billion dollars of compensation since 2002. Several Americans bishoprics financially ruined on account of the compensation to be paid to the victims, requested the protection of the Federal Bankruptcy Code.

 Benedict XVI also spoke about the presence of religion in the United States. “in Europe we cannot simply copy the United States: we have our own history,” he said before talking about the “positive concept of secularity” in this country. Considering the historical origin of the United States the pope spoke of  “a secular State that gives access and opportunities to all denominations, to all forms of religious practice,” he even added that it was “secular precisely out of love for religion in its authenticity.” In face of the “attack of a new secularism” “the situation became complicated” in the United States, Benedict XVI acknowledged before affirming however that: “the fundamental [American] model also seems to me today to be worthy of being borne in mind in Europe.”

 The pope also mentioned his upcoming visit to the United Nations on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the Declaration of Human Rights. While the visit was to take place at a time of value crisis, the pope recalled that “human rights, rights that express non-negotiable values constitute the foundations of all the institutions.” He said he wished he would be able to reaffirm this “fundamental concept,” and he also explained that “the United Nations were founded precisely on the idea of human rights.” Benedict XVI further affirmed that they were “common values that must be observed by all.”


At the White House

 Officially received at the White House on April 16; 2008, his 81st birthday, Benedict XVI greeted an America guided by a “moral order” and inspired by its “religious beliefs.” Thus he affirmed that: “America’s quest for freedom has been guided by the conviction that the principles governing political and social life are intimately linked to a moral order based on the dominion of God the Creator.” “Religious beliefs were a constant inspiration and driving force,” which guided America all though the course of history. “In our time too, particularly in moments of crisis, Americans continue to find their strength in a commitment to this patrimony of shared ideals and aspirations,” the pope added. “As the nation faces the increasingly complex political and ethical issues of our time, I am confident that the American people will find in their religious beliefs a precious source of insight and an inspiration to pursue reasoned, responsible and respectful dialogue in the effort to build a more humane and free society,” he said.

 According to the sovereign pontiff, “Freedom is not only a gift, but also a summons to personal responsibility.”  “The preservation of freedom calls for the cultivation of virtue, self-discipline, sacrifice for the common good and a sense of responsibility towards the less fortunate. It also demands the courage to engage in civic life and to bring one’s deepest beliefs and values to reasoned public debate. In a word, freedom is ever new. It is a challenge held out to each generation, and ‘it must constantly be won over for the cause of good’.”

 Next, Benedict XVI and Georges Bush had a private meeting in the Oval Office of the White House. The two men, said the joint communiqué, discussed a number of topics including: “the respect of the dignity of the human person; the defense and promotion of life, matrimony and the family; the education of future generations; human rights and religious freedom; sustainable development and the struggle against poverty and pandemics, especially in Africa. In regard to the latter, the Holy Father welcomed the United States’ substantial financial contributions in this area. The two reaffirmed their total rejection of terrorism as well as the manipulation of religion to justify immoral and violent acts against innocents. They further touched on the need to confront terrorism with appropriate means that respect the human person and his or her rights.”



At the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington

In the presence of 400 American bishops gathered at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, the pope talked once more of the “deep shame” caused to the Church by pedophile priest, yet he denounced at the same time pornography, violence and “the crude manipulation of sexuality” so prevalent today especially in the media. He also asked the bishops to be examples for their priests, and, several times, he mentioned the dangers of secularization.

 “While it is true that this country is marked by a genuinely religious spirit, the subtle influence of secularism can nevertheless color the way people allow their faith to influence their behavior. Is it consistent to profess our beliefs in church on Sunday, and then during the week to promote business practices or medical procedures contrary to those beliefs?” Benedict XVI also wondered whether it was “consistent for practicing Catholics to ignore or exploit the poor and the marginalized, to promote sexual behavior contrary to Catholic moral teaching, or to adopt positions that contradict the right to life of every human being from conception to natural death.” And he stated the necessity of resisting “any tendency to treat religion as a private matter.”

“For an affluent society, a further obstacle to an encounter with the living God lies in the subtle influence of materialism.” And he added: “It is easy to be entranced by the almost unlimited possibilities that science and technology place before us; it is easy to make the mistake of thinking we can obtain by our own efforts the fulfillment of our deepest needs. This is an illusion.”

 In this long homily, the pope also spoke with satisfaction of an American Church which is close to the poor, of the religious fervor of the American people and the fact that “they do not hesitate to bring moral arguments rooted in biblical faith into their public discourse.” Benedict XVI also praised American citizens  “known for their great vitality and creativity” for their generosity, they are the first donators to the Holy See.

 Answering some questions afterward, the pope underlined that in America, unlike many places in Europe, secular mentality “was not intrinsically opposed to religion.”

The pope also answered a question about the drop in religious practice, by pointing out that “faith cannot survive if it is not nourished.” “Inasmuch as faith becomes a private matter,” stated Benedict XVI, “it loses its soul.” Lastly he mentioned the vocation crisis, he expressed his desire for an “intellectual and human formation” and invited the clergy to “move beyond sterile divisions” and “disagreements.”


 At the Mass at the Washington Nationals Stadium

When he celebrated Mass on April 17, in the presence of 45,000 faithful at the Nationals Stadium, Benedict XVI invited the American Church to renounce “all divisions.”

 In response to the “challenges confronting us”, the pope encouraged a “comprehensive and sound instruction in the truths of the faith,” and invited Catholic faithful to “set aside all divisions.” “To a great extent, the renewal of the Church in America and throughout the world depends on the renewal of the practice of Penance and the growth in holiness which that sacrament both inspires and accomplishes,” he insisted, lamenting  “the troubling realization that many of the baptized, rather than acting as a spiritual leaven in the world, are inclined to embrace attitudes contrary to the truth of the Gospel.”

 Benedict XVI also affirmed that ours “is a time of great promise, as we see the human family in many ways drawing closer together and becoming ever more interdependent. Yet at the same time we see clear signs of a disturbing breakdown in the very foundations of society: signs of alienation, anger and polarization on the part of many of our contemporaries; increased violence; a weakening of the moral sense; a coarsening of social relations; and a growing forgetfulness of Christ and God.”


On the Occasion of the Meeting with Representatives of Other Religions

On April 17, late in the afternoon, when he spoke before 200 Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist and Jain representatives at the “Rotunda” Hall of the Pope John Paul II Cultural Center of Washington, the pope pointed out that it “is a time of great promise, as we see the human family in many ways drawing closer together and becoming ever more interdependent. Yet at the same time we see clear signs of a disturbing breakdown in the very foundations of society: signs of alienation, anger and polarization on the part of many of our contemporaries; increased violence; a weakening of the moral sense; a coarsening of social relations; and a growing forgetfulness of Christ and God.” However, he specified that: “religious freedom, interreligious dialogue and faith-based education aim at something more than a consensus regarding ways to implement practical strategies for advancing peace. The broader purpose of dialogue is to discover the truth.”

 Benedict XVI spoke to the representatives of various religions of “ethical values” which all “share,” and stated that “The world begs for a common witness to these values.” But, “in our attempt to discover points of commonality, perhaps we have shied away from the responsibility to discuss our differences with calmness and clarity,” he said, and he reminded them that: “the higher goal of interreligious dialogue requires a clear exposition of our respective religious tenets.”

 The pope also warned that: “Protecting religious freedom within the rule of law does not guarantee that peoples – particularly minorities – will be spared from unjust forms of discrimination and prejudice.” And he requested a “constant effort on the part of all members of society to ensure” religious liberty.

 Next, Benedict XVI spoke briefly with the members of the Jewish community to whom he gave a message conveying his good wishes for the upcoming Jewish Pasch. In this letter dated April 14, the pope reaffirmed the “confidence” and “friendship” between Jews and Catholics. He also wished for “renewed efforts” and “new attitudes” from those “responsible for the future” of the Middle East and the Holy Land.


On the Occasion of the Meeting with Catholic Educators


On the occasion of a meeting with Catholic educators at the Catholic University of America, in the north-east of Washington, on April 17, Benedict XVI reaffirmed the necessary “identity” of Catholic education. “A university or school’s Catholic identity is not simply a question of the number of Catholic students. It is a question of conviction.” “Is the faith tangible in our universities and schools?”

 Next, the pope pointed out the particular urgency of what we might call “intellectual charity,” which “upholds the essential unity of knowledge against the fragmentation which ensues when reason is detached from the pursuit of truth.” Benedict XVI explained that this “articulates the relationship between faith and all aspects of family and civic life.”  “Clearly, then, Catholic identity is not dependent upon statistics,” the pope repeated later in his address, but upon “faith and truth.”

 In the matter of education, Benedict XVI also complained of a “lowering of standards” “within a relativistic horizon.” “We observe today a timidity in the face of the category of the good and an aimless pursuit of novelty parading as the realization of freedom. We witness an assumption that every experience is of equal worth and a reluctance to admit imperfection and mistakes.”

 Benedict XVI also reaffirmed “the great value of academic freedom.” However, the former prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith warned against “any appeal to the principle of academic freedom in order to justify positions that contradict the faith and the teaching of the Church would obstruct or even betray the university’s identity and mission.” At the end of his address, the pope made an appeal to priests and religious not to “abandon the school apostolate.” “In places where there are many hollow promises which lure young people away from the path of truth and genuine freedom, the consecrated person’s witness to the evangelical counsels is an irreplaceable gift.”


Address to the United Nations Organization


At the headquarters of the United Nations, in New York, on April 18, Benedict XVI denounced a “relativistic conception” of the human rights. Before the representatives of the 192 member States, the pope also invited UNO to support interreligious dialogue and to respect the right to religious liberty.

 On the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the pope thus stated that: “ at the same time, the universality, indivisibility and interdependence of human rights all serve as guarantees safeguarding human dignity.” The pope next warned against a “relativistic conception of human rights, according to which the meaning and interpretation of rights could vary and their universality would be denied in the name of different cultural, political, social and even religious outlooks.”

 “The merit of the Universal Declaration is that it has enabled different cultures, juridical expressions and institutional models to converge around a fundamental nucleus of values, and hence of rights. Today, though, efforts need to be redoubled in the face of pressure to reinterpret the foundations of the Declaration and to compromise its inner unity so as to facilitate a move away from the protection of human dignity towards the satisfaction of simple interests, often particular interests,” Benedict XVI said.

 In his long address delivered both in French and in English, the pope also explained that “Human rights, of course, must include the right to religious freedom, understood as the expression of a dimension that is at once individual and communitarian.” “The full guarantee of religious liberty cannot be limited to the free exercise of worship, but has to give due consideration to the public dimension of religion, and hence to the possibility of believers playing their part in building the social order.”  “It is inconceivable, then, that believers should have to suppress a part of themselves – their faith – in order to be active citizens.”

 Benedict XVI also invited the United Nations to support interreligious dialogue. “the United Nations can count on the results of dialogue between religions, and can draw fruit from the willingness of believers to place their experiences at the service of the common good.” The “recognition of the transcendent value of every man and woman favors conversion of heart, which then leads to a commitment to resist violence, terrorism and war, and to promote justice and peace,” he stated.

 The pope also warned against “the way the results of scientific research and technological advances have sometimes been applied,” and denounced “ a clear violation of the order of creation.” He next invited UNO to “adopt a scientific method that is truly respectful of ethical imperatives.”

 After his discourse, Benedict XVI addressed the staff members of UNO before paying a visit to “the meditation room,” a place of worship for this “God whom man worships under several names and in various ways,” according to the terminology and ideology of UNO.


 At the Synagogue in New York

 For the second time in his pontificate, Benedict XVI entered a synagogue, in New York on April 18 in the afternoon. The brief ceremony added to the pope’s schedule a few days before his arrival in the United States took place in the small Park East Synagogue, New York. “Shalom” greeted the pope in Hebrew, saying that he had come to tell his “proximity” and “prayer” to the Jewish community, shortly before the “Pessah”, the Jewish Pasch.

 The rabbi of the Synagogue, Arthur Schneier, also greeted the pope. He considered Benedict XVI’s visit as a reaffirmation of his good will, and of his commitment to the improvement of relationships between Jews and Catholics. He said he thought that much had been done for this since the Second Vatican Council. “At a time when religion is used erroneously by some, we must intensify our commitment to the healing of our torn apart world,” he affirmed. “The fact that we are here together conveys the message that interreligious dialogue is possible and vital to solve conflicts,” he stressed.

 During the ceremony,  before the pope, Rabbi Schneier drew aside a curtain hiding a Torah, and explained certain details to him. When came the exchange of gifts, the two men joked together and cordially shook hands, noted Apic news agency.

 Several Roman observers pointed out that this kind gesture of the pope towards the Jewish community did not happen by chance, a little over two months after the modification of the prayer for the conversion of the Jews contained in the Tridentine Missal.  The modification had been openly criticized by the Jews because it is an invitation to pray “that God and Our Lord enlighten” (their) hearts that they “may know Jesus Christ, Savior of all men.”


During the Ecumenical Meeting at the German Parish in New York`

 On April 18, in the evening, the pope denounced “a relativistic approach to Christian doctrine” in St. Joseph’ s church, the German parish of New York. Before 250 representatives of ten Christian denominations, Benedict XVI warned against the “disturbing” signs of globalization and of the “secularist ideology.” He deplored the “relativistic approach to Christian doctrine similar to that found in secular ideologies, which, in alleging that science alone is “objective”, relegate religion entirely to the subjective sphere of individual feeling.”

 The pope next underlined that, though “Scientific discoveries, and their application through human ingenuity, undoubtedly offer new possibilities for the betterment of humankind. This does not mean, however, that the “knowable” is limited to the empirically verifiable, nor religion restricted to the shifting realm of ‘personal experience’.”

 The pope also shared his concern before “the spread of a secularist ideology that undermines or even rejects transcendent truth.”  According to him, “the very possibility of divine revelation, and therefore of Christian faith, is often placed into question by cultural trends widely present in academia, the mass media and public debate. For these reasons, a faithful witness to the Gospel is as urgent as ever. Christians are challenged to give a clear account of the hope that they hold.”


Meeting with Young People At St. Joseph’s Seminary of New York

 Late in the afternoon of April 19, Benedict XVI addressed 25,000 young people at St. Joseph’s Seminary in New York. He reminded them that his “own years as a teenager were marred by a sinister regime that thought it had all the answers; its influence grew – infiltrating schools and civic bodies, as well as politics and even religion – before it was fully recognized for the monster it was. It banished God.” He rejoiced over the fact that, for the most part, young people today could “enjoy the liberties which have arisen through the extension of democracy and respect for human rights.” “The power to destroy does, however, remain,” he continued. To pretend otherwise would be to fool ourselves.” He went on to mention “those affected by drug and substance abuse, homelessness and poverty, racism, violence, and degradation – especially of girls and women.”

 Speaking of the “darkness” of our time, the pope strongly denounced the manipulation of truth, and once again, relativism. The sovereign pontiff, on the other hand, spoke of the new injustices, some of which “stem from the exploitation of the heart and manipulation of the mind.” Next, he deplored that earth itself “groans under the weight of consumerist greed and irresponsible exploitation.” The pope also considered at length the “four essential aspects of the treasure of our faith: personal prayer and silence, liturgical prayer, charity in action, and vocations.”


During the Mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York

 During the Mass celebrated on April 19, 2008 in St. Patrick’s Cathedral, in the middle of Manhattan skyscrapers, Benedict invited the world to consider the Church “from the inside” in order to see it as it truly is and penetrate into her mystery. In the presence of several thousands of priests and religious, Benedict XVI thus used the image of the stained glass windows which “from the outside (…) are dark, heavy, even dreary,” and said that it is only from the inside, from the experience of faith and ecclesial life that we see the Church as she truly is. The pope expressed the wish that the Church draw everybody inside of “the mystery of light.”

 This is no easy task in a world which can tend to look at the Church, like those stained glass windows, “from the outside”: a world which deeply senses a need for spirituality, yet finds it difficult to “enter into” the mystery of the Church.” And he acknowledged that even inside the Church the light of the faith may be dimmed, and the splendor of the Church obscured by the sins and weaknesses of her members.

 In his homily, Benedict XVI also emphasized that “one of the great disappointments which followed the Second Vatican Council, with its call for a greater engagement in the Church’s mission to the world, has been the experience of division between different groups, different generations, different members of the same religious family.”


 During the Visit to Ground Zero, in New York

On April 20, in the morning, Benedict XVI went to pray at Ground Zero, the location of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, in memory of the 3,000 victims. He first knelt down for a silent prayer, before lighting a candle. Then in the presence of 24 persons representing the members of the rescue teams, the wounded, and relatives of the victims of the attacks, the pope said a prayer: “God of peace, bring your peace to our violent world: peace in the hearts of all men and women and peace among the nations of the earth.”

 In the company of a few survivors, and of relatives of the victims, the pope also invoked God’s “compassion” for those who, because of their presence here that day, suffer from injuries and illness.” “Heal, too, the pain of still-grieving families and all who lost loved ones in this tragedy,” he asked.


Mass at the Yankee Stadium in New York

 On April 20, when he celebrated Mass at the Yankee Stadium in New York before some 60,000 people, Benedict XVI asked Catholics to “counter false gospels of freedom and happiness.” “In this land of religious liberty, Catholics found freedom not only to practice their faith, but also to participate fully in civic life,” rejoiced the pope. He then summoned the faithful to “move forward with firm resolve to use wisely the blessings of freedom, in order to build a future of hope for coming generations.”

 He urged Catholics to “reject a false dichotomy between faith and political life” to “overcome every separation between faith and life, countering false gospels of freedom and happiness.” “May you find the courage to proclaim Christ,  and the unchanging truths which have their foundation in him.” “These are the truths that set us free! They are the truths which alone can guarantee respect for the inalienable dignity and rights of each man, woman and child in our world – including the most defenseless of all human beings, the unborn child in the mother’s womb.”

 Let us recall that the issue of abortion is the object of a bitter dispute within American Christian circles, in view of the upcoming presidential elections next November. The two rival Democrats for investiture, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, both spoke in favor of a right to abortion. Whereas John McCain  who is assured to be the Republican candidate to the White House firmly opposed such a right.


Back at the Vatican, a Review of the Visit

 On April 21, at the end of Benedict XVI’s six-day visit in the United States, Fr. Lombardi, spokesman of the Holy See was interviewed on the airwaves of Radio Vatican, and stated: “It seems obvious to me that the visit reached its goal in an almost unexpected way.” Thus, he evoked the meeting between the pope and the American people, as a meeting of friendship, respect and recognition of the positive characteristics of this people and of its vocation to be at the service of all of mankind.

 Reviewing the visit of Benedict XVI to the headquarters of UNO, Fr. Lombardi emphasized that the pope had given “a message for all of mankind.” An “extremely important message” which deserved to be deeply considered by the representatives of the peoples to rediscover the foundation of the edifice of human rights, and of the dignity of the human person, to build the future upon solid bases.

 On the day after the end of the pope’s visit, American observers commented upon Benedict XVI’s style. The image which was found most often on American blogs as well as in the media was that of a “meek” and humble” German pope. Benedict XVI is not a “rottweiler” or the “German shepherd” as the press used to described Cardinal Ratzinger for whom it had little sympathy. Now he is “a good shepherd” according to Sally Quinn, a reporter for the Washington Post, who wrote on the blog On Faith: “we saw a man who was quiet, soft-spoken, gentle, self-effacing, a bit solemn and non-confrontational (…)He was diplomatic, and gracious in his approach to all subjects, never seeming to admonish but instead to call people to their better natures.”

Peter Steinfels, a columnist with The New York Times, added that: “The face of himself that Benedict chose to show to a public that did not know him well, the face of the papacy that he chose to emphasize, was the face of the pastor. Not the theologian, not the governor, not the “decider” — all of which he is, in addition — but the pastor.” None of the thorny issues that the American Church must face “will be adequately addressed without the kind of pastoral sensibility that Benedict, very deliberately I believe, chose to project,” according to Peter Steinfels.

Like many others, Catholic journalist, David Gibson, on Beliefnet, pointed out that the pope could have gone further in his declarations. He stressed “the lack of direct discussion of the priest shortage that makes evangelizing so problematic, or the role of women who make parishes run and Catholic families the "domestic church," or accountability of bishops, or the laity, or the Iraq war, or social justice issues, or global warming, or the death penalty.”


Our comment:

 We note the particularly laudatory declarations of the pope on “American style” secularization: “a positive concept of secularization”, “secular out of love for religion” ; “the fundamental American model is a sound secularization from which Europe could draw its inspiration,” because in America, unlike several place in Europe “secular mentality” is not intrinsically opposed to religion”; a “sound secularization” which thus contributes to the building of a society worthy of the human person and brings the United States to the rank of one of the main actors on the international level.”

 To understand the attraction that the secularized American model has for Benedict XVI, we must go back to his Address to the Curia on December 23, 2005. In this address which gave the program of his pontificate, he defended an “hermeneutic of continuity” of Vatican II, and strove to show that the novelties introduced by the Council, such as religious liberty, ecumenism or interreligious dialogue, were inscribed in the constant Tradition of the Church. He acknowledged, however, that Vatican II had sought to “determine in a new way the relationship between the Church and the modern era.” He justified this evolution by a change of historical circumstances where the United States played a major role.

 We give here a synthesis of the pope’s way of thinking in his address of December 23, from which are taken all the quotes which follow:

 At the end of the 18th century, “in the radical phase of the French Revolution, an image of the State and the human being that practically no longer wanted to allow the Church any room was disseminated.” “Under Pius IX, the clash between the Church’s faith and a radical liberalism (…), had elicited from the Church a bitter and radical condemnation of this spirit of the modern age.” But “in the meantime, however, the modern age had also experienced developments. People came to realize that the American Revolution was offering a model of a modern State that differed from the theoretical model with radical tendencies that had emerged during the second phase of the French Revolution.” (Underline, ours) “So it was that both parties (the Church and modern State) were gradually beginning to open up to each other.” “it was necessary to give a new definition to the relationship between the Church and the modern State that would make room impartially for citizens of various religions and ideologies, merely assuming responsibility for an orderly and tolerant coexistence among them and for the freedom to practice their own religion. Linked more generally to this was the problem of religious tolerance - a question that required a new definition of the relationship between the Christian faith and the world religions.” “The Second Vatican Council, recognizing and making its own an essential principle of the modern State with the Decree on Religious Freedom, has recovered the deepest patrimony of the Church.”

 It is on this capital issue of religious liberty that Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre opposed the conciliar doctrine, especially in his book They Have Uncrowned Him.

 On the other hand, we wonder how to conciliate the address at UNO with the homily at Yankee Stadium. In the former, the pope warned against a “relativistic conception” of human rights “ according to which the meaning and interpretation of rights could vary and their universality would be denied in the name of different cultural, political, social and even religious outlooks”,  this means that these rights are anterior and more fundamental than all these “various outlooks… even religious.”

In the latter, Benedict XVI wished: “May you find the courage to proclaim Christ, “the same, yesterday, and today and for ever” and the unchanging truths which have their foundation in him, . These are the truths that set us free! They are the truths which alone can guarantee respect for the inalienable dignity and rights of each man.” And we can think here that the unchanging truths which have their foundation in Christ, are anterior to human rights, unless they only respect for these rights.