Mirror of Justice

A blog dedicated to the development of Catholic legal theory.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Pope Francis on, e.g., "integral human development" and the right to life

Pope Francis's annual address to diplomats is getting a fair bit of coverage (here, e.g., is America's story) and, in many instances (here is an example), the coverage is framing the talk in terms of its relevance to President Trump.  Here is John Allen's as-per-usual indispensable coverage. 

For my own part, I was struck by the emphasis on "integral human development" and the (both implicit and explicit) recognition that (as many of us have written over the years here at MOJ) at the heart of any Catholic approach to law, policy, and politics is a proposal of "moral anthropology."

For true peace can only come about on the basis of a vision of human beings capable of promoting an integral development respectful of their transcendent dignity. . . .

One enemy of peace is a “reductive vision” of the human person, which opens the way to the spread of injustice, social inequality and corruption. . . .

As Allen noted, the Pope re-expressed his concern that the language and practice of "human rights" can, sometimes, be put to use as a kind of "ideological colonization":

From the beginning, Pope Francis has been a notoriously difficult figure to classify by the usual Western standards of left v. right - seemingly quite progressive on many matters, and yet stubbornly traditional on others. . . .

Francis also warned of what he described as “debatable notions of human rights” which gathered force in the wake of the social upheavals of the 1960s, which, he said, risk becoming a form of “ideological colonization.”

“Debatable notions of human rights have been advanced that are at odds with the culture of many countries,” the pope said. “The latter feel that they are not respected in their social and cultural traditions, and instead neglected with regard to the real needs they have to 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,” Francis said.


Garnett, Rick | Permalink