(C-Fam) Pope Francis highlighted the right to life, the need to protect the family, and the dangers of “ideological colonialism” in his annual address to the diplomatic corps of the Holy See.
“At a distance of seventy years, it is painful to see how many fundamental rights continue to be violated today. First among all of these is the right of every human person to life, liberty and personal security,” Pope Francis said at the beginning of his address dedicated to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, whose 70th anniversary occurs this year.
“It is not only war or violence that infringes these rights. In our day, there are more subtle means: I think primarily of innocent children discarded even before they are born, unwanted at times simply because they are ill or malformed, or as a result of the selfishness of adults,” he added.
He also sharply criticized the emergence of “’new rights’ that not infrequently conflict with one another,” that do not respect “social and cultural traditions,” and ignore the “real needs” that many societies face.
“Somewhat paradoxically, there is a risk that, in the very name of human rights, we will see the rise of modern forms of ideological colonization by the stronger and the wealthier, to the detriment of the poorer and the most vulnerable,” Pope Francis said. Ideological colonialism is a term of art for the aggressive promotion of homosexuality and transgenderism.
But human rights, the Pope said, must be “premised on the nature objectively shared by the human race.” He denounced such a “reductive vision of the human person” that leads to injustice, social inequality and corruption.
Pope Francis also had strong words about the failure of nations and the international community to protect the family described in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as the “natural and fundamental group unit of society… entitled to protection by society and the state.”
“Unfortunately, it is a fact that, especially in the West, the family is considered an obsolete institution,” Pope Francis lamented.
“Today fleeting relationships are preferred to the stability of a definitive life project. But a house built on the sand of frail and fickle relationships cannot stand,” he added, describing marriage as the “rock” on which to build the social order.
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He urged nations that “genuine policies be adopted to support the family, on which the future and the development of states depend.”
He warned that “disregard for families has another dramatic effect – particularly present in some parts of the world – namely, a decline in the birth rate. We are experiencing a true demographic winter!” he decried, saying this was a result of societies closing in on themselves.
The Pontiff also echoed the reflections on human rights of his predecessors Benedict XVI and Saint John Paul II. “For the Holy See, to speak of human rights means above all to restate the centrality of the human person, willed and created by God in his image and likeness,” Pope Francis said. He explained there is a “significant relation” between the Gospel and spirit in which the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was drafted.
As with the recent reform of the Pontifical Academy for Life, Pope Francis interpreted the right to life broadly, not just as referring to a prohibition against the arbitrary deprivation of life, but to include wider social justice and security concerns, including the environment, disarmament, peace, and achieve universal health coverage.
LifeNews.com Note: Stefano Gennarini, J.D. writes for the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute. This article originally appeared in the pro-life group’s Friday Fax publication and is used with permission.