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.

Friday, June 7, 2024

Cathy Kaveny on "Dignitats Infinita"

Over at Commonweal, there is a group of recent pieces about the new document, Dignitas Infinita.  The contribution by Boston College's Cathy Kaveny, "Understanding the Audience", might be of particular interest.  Here is a bit:

Vatican interventions in secular human-rights discourse have generally had two purposes. The first is to rebut those who critique the UN Declaration and the human-rights regime it generated as alien impositions of a Western colonial framework on non-Western cultures. This is a charge sometimes raised by Arab and Asian countries that have very different understandings of the role and rights of women or the nature of acceptable punishment. It is also mounted by African countries that have different understandings of the basic structure of the family, including polygamy.

The Vatican’s second purpose is to resist the interpretation or expansion of universal rights in a purely individualistic or constructivist way—which would, in its view, be an unjustified imposition of certain elements of a Western world-view. In the Vatican’s view, rights are not determined by individual desires, no matter how strong they are. Nor are they designed to protect an individual’s right to construct his or her own identity without reference to objective goods, like the norms of biology, the well-being of other people, or a well-functioning community.


Garnett, Rick | Permalink


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