Mirror of Justice

A blog dedicated to the development of Catholic legal theory.
Affiliated with the Program on Church, State & Society at Notre Dame Law School.

Wednesday, February 18, 2004

Religious Freedom and "Ensuring Security"

A few months ago, Archbishop Celestino Migliore -- the Holy See's permanent observer at the United Nations -- addressed a Committee of the General Assembly considering "alternative approaches for improving the effective enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms." The talk is available at ZENIT, at this link.

Archbishop Migliore opened with these observations:

"The universality of human rights springs from the unquestionable truth that all human beings are equal in nature and in dignity. It is for this reason, the Holy See has consistently defended and promoted respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms for all peoples. These rights and freedoms are not contingent upon the State or upon its recognition of any particular right. Rather, they are intrinsic to human nature itself and to what is essential to this nature."

He then -- as I understand his remarks -- shifted gears, and seemed to be trying to "sell" the idea of religious freedom to his audience by emphasizing its social utility:

"Countless examples in our modern times show and confirm for us that when religious faith is freely chosen and lived in a coherent way, religions play an essential role in ensuring security and in promoting peaceful coexistence of peoples, a condition for any effective conflict prevention and a powerful tool for the building of a lasting peace."

The talk continues in this vein. I'd be curious to know whether any of my colleagues have any reservations about the somewhat . . . Erastian nature of Archbishop Migliore's talk. In a way, the talk reminds me of our earlier (and ongoing) discussions about "anthropology." Although his opening paragraph grounds religious freedom firmly on the nature of the human person, Archbishop Migliore several times seems to tie the respect due to religious belief and practice to their status as "chosen" by believers (sounding almost like Justice Stevens).



| Permalink

TrackBack URL for this entry:


Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Religious Freedom and "Ensuring Security" :