ROME — The Vatican’s Permanent Observer to the United Nations reminded the U.N. General Assembly this week that all human beings enjoy the inalienable right to life, including the unborn.
Archbishop Gabriele Caccia said in his Oct. 6 address:
The Holy See is deeply concerned that some countries and international institutions are promoting abortion as one of the so-called ‘essential services’ provided in the humanitarian response to the pandemic. It is troubling to see how simple and convenient it has become for some to deny the existence of a human life as a solution to problems that can and must be solved for both the mother and her unborn child.
“Each and every person within the family of nations deserves to have his or her rights acknowledged, protected, treasured and advanced,” the archbishop insisted. He went on to state the Holy See is:
…deeply concerned over growing pressure to reinterpret the very foundations of human rights and to compromise their inner unity so as to move away from the protection of human dignity and to satisfy political and economic interests. This approach creates a hierarchy of human rights by relativizing human dignity and assigning more value and additional rights to the strong and healthy, while discarding the weak.
Such a tendency is particularly apparent in the refusal to recognize the inherent value and dignity of each and every human life at every stage. This failure to understand the nature and reality of human rights leads to grave inequalities and injustices, such as ignoring children in the womb and treating the lives of the elderly and persons with disabilities as insupportable burdens on society.
“Just as there is no right to abortion, there is also no right to euthanasia,” he insisted, adding that “laws exist, not to cause death, but to protect life and to facilitate co-existence among human beings.” The archbishop reiterated:
An integral vision of the human person can be only grounded on the recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family. Efforts aimed at the promotion and protection of human rights must begin with a correct understanding of these rights and the broad impact that respect for human rights has on society.
In his address, Archbishop Caccia also underscored the importance of religious freedom, noting that it is a natural human right and not a “concession” by the state.
The Holy See is “especially concerned by maneuvers to suppress the place of religion in public life,” he said. “This flows from a reductive notion of the human person, but it also stifles the development of authentic peace and justice.”
“Freedom of religion is an inalienable and universal human right, as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights attests,” he noted. “Freedom of religion has never been and can never be a ‘concession’ or ‘privilege’ – to be retracted at will – by the State.”
“We therefore note with concern the attempts of some to circumscribe or ignore this right and the obstacles placed before those who wish to profess and practice their faith freely, including for Christians,” he said.