Vatican Declares ‘All Other Rights’ Flow from Right to Life and Religious Freedom

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THOMAS D. WILLIAMS, PH.D.

In an address before the United Nations in New York, a Vatican spokesman underscored the centrality of the right to life and religious freedom, noting that “all other rights flow” from these two core principles.

“Putting people always first means protecting, at every stage and in every circumstance, the dignity of the person, and its human rights and fundamental freedoms,” said Archbishop Paul R. Gallagher, the Vatican’s Secretary for Relations with States, “and in a specific way, the rights to life and to freedom of religion from which all other rights flow and which are therefore the common foundation of the pillars of peace and security and integral human development.”

In his address Monday, the Archbishop was drawing on the teaching of Saint John Paul II, who singled out these two rights as the foundation of all others.

In his encyclical letter Centesimus Annus, John Paul declared that religious freedom was “the source and synthesis” of human rights, understood as “the right to live in the truth of one’s faith and in conformity with one’s transcendent dignity as a person.”

Similarly, it is impossible to further the common good “without acknowledging and defending the right to life, upon which all the other inalienable rights of individuals are founded and from which they develop,” John Paul wrote, adding that disregard for the right to life, “precisely because it leads to the killing of the person whom society exists to serve, is what most directly conflicts with the possibility of achieving the common good.”

For this reason, he said, “a law which violates an innocent person’s natural right to life is unjust and, as such, is not valid as a law.”

In his address Monday, Archbishop Gallagher echoed these themes, insisting that all other rights stem from these two.

“These two human rights are indivisible from those other rights and fundamental freedoms relating to a dignified spiritual, material and intellectual life for each citizen and for their families – among others, the right to food, the right to water, the right for housing, the right to a safe environment and the right to work,” he said.

The Vatican’s insistence on the primary importance of the right to life and the right to religious freedom comes just as news is spreading of grave violations of these very rights.

As Breitbart News reported Tuesday, China is tightening its control over religious organizations in the country, as President Xi Jinping moves toward a situation of “total religious control.”

Church officials fear that new norms regulating religious activities, set to go into effect on Feb 1, 2018, will be used to “further suppress religious activities” rather than pursuing their stated aim of protecting national security.

At the same time, abortion giant Planned Parenthood continues to combat all restrictions on the abortion industry, including laws that would ban sex-selective abortions and those aimed at eliminating children with Down syndrome.

As Breitbart News reported Tuesday, an Indiana judge has ruled in favor of Planned Parenthood in a suit brought against HEA 1337, a state law banning gender-selective abortions and those based on a prenatal diagnosis of disabilities such as Down syndrome.

U.S. District Court Judge Tanya Walton Pratt, an Obama appointee, has issued a permanent injunction against Indiana’s “Sex Selective and Disability Abortion Ban” in a 22-page decision, saying that provisions of the law “violate the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.”

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