Vatican City, 7 December 2013 (VIS) – This morning the Pope received in audience a delegation from the Dignitatis Humanae Institute, presided by Cardinal Renato Raffaele Martino, and whose aim is to “promote human dignity on the basis of the fundamental truth that man is created in the image and likeness of God”.
Therefore, the Pope observed, “it is an originary dignity for every man and woman, and as such cannot be suppressed … by any power or ideology. Unfortunately, in our age, so rich in many victories and hopes, there is no lack of powers and forces that produce a throwaway culture, and this tends to become a common mentality. The victims of such a culture are precisely the weakest and most fragile human beings – the unborn, the poorest, the elderly and infirm, the seriously disabled – who risk being discarded, expelled by a mechanism that has to be efficient at all costs. This false model of mankind and of society brings about a form of atheism that in practice denies the Word of God”.
“Instead, if we allow ourselves to be questioned by this Word, if we allow it to appeal to our personal and social conscience, if we enable it to call into discussion our ways of thinking and acting, the criteria, priorities and choices, then things can change. The strength of this Word sets limits upon anyone who seeks to impose their hegemony, ignoring the rights and dignity of others. At the same time, it gives hope and consolation to those who are unable to defend themselves, to those who do not have the intellectual or practical means of affirming the value of their suffering, their rights, their own lives”.
“The Social Doctrine of the Church, with its full vision of man as a personal and social being, is your 'compass'”, the Pope emphasised, addressing the members of Dignitas Humanae, since it constitutes “a particularly significant result of the long path walked by the People of God in modern and contemporary history: it is the defence of religious freedom, of life in all its phases, of the right to work and to decent work, of the family, of education”.
“Initiatives such as yours, which seek to help people, communities and institutions to rediscover the ethical and social importance of the principle of human dignity, the root of liberty and justice, are to be welcomed. With this aim, it is necessary to undertake work of sensitisation and formation, in order that the lay faithful, in any condition, and especially those who are engaged in the field of politics, may know how to think in accordance with the Gospel and the social Doctrine of the Church, and to act coherently, engaging in dialogue and collaboration with those who share, with sincerity and intellectual honesty, if not faith, at least a similar vision of humanity and society, and its ethical consequences. There are many non-Christians and non-believers who are convinced that the human person should always be an end and never merely a means”, concluded the Pope.