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Any human society, if it is to be well-ordered and productive, must lay down as a foundation this principle, namely, that every human being is a person, that is, his nature is endowed with intelligence and free will. Indeed, precisely because he is a person he has rights and obligations flowing directly and simultaneously from his very nature.”
Pope John XXIII
Pacem in Terris
In his 1995 encyclical, Evangelium Vitae, Pope Saint John Paul II wrote that “every threat to human dignity and life must necessarily be felt in the Church’s very heart.” Our Bishops, in a document entitled “Recognizing every person’s God-given dignity” write that cherishing that dignity in others must influence “how we live and act; it shapes how we relate to other people, other cultural groups and other nations.”
In these troubled times, witnessing to the truth about the human dignity that resides in every person, from conception until natural death, is a daunting and global challenge. Around the world, Christians are being persecuted for the mere act of professing their faith in Jesus Christ. There are parts of the world where Christians are being systemically executed, such that our own Department of State recently labeled it “genocide.”
Here in America, we live in relative peace and safety, and yet many professionals increasingly feel pressure to violate the human dignity of others, be it doctors feeling pressure to perform acts they deem abusive, teachers being censured for speaking their beliefs, or social workers being told they must do things like help an abused immigrant minor procure an abortion.
The Church has long been at the forefront of the most critical social justice issues, be it civil rights a generation ago or human slavery today. She will never cease in the fight for what is right for everyone, and TCA works to promote and protect her right to help others live in freedom and with their rightful dignity.