Friday, September 4, 2009

MAY 2009 POPE BENEDICT XVI AFFIRMS HUMAN RIGHTS DURING ADDRESS TO PONTIFICAL ACADEMY OF SOCIAL SCIENCES-


ADDRESS OF HIS HOLINESS BENEDICT XVI TO PARTICIPANTS IN THE FIFTEENTH PLENARY SESSION OF THE PONTIFICAL ACADEMY OF SOCIAL SCIENCES Consistory Hall Monday, 4 May 2009


Dear Brothers in the Episcopate and the Priesthood,Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen,

As you gather for the fifteenth Plenary Session of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences, I am pleased to have this occasion to meet with you and to express my encouragement for your mission of expounding and furthering the Church’s social doctrine in the areas of law, economy, politics and the various other social sciences. Thanking Professor Mary Ann Glendon for her cordial words of greeting, I assure you of my prayers that the fruit of your deliberations will continue to attest to the enduring pertinence of Catholic social teaching in a rapidly changing world.

After studying work, democracy, globalisation, solidarity and subsidiarity in relation to the social teaching of the Church, your Academy has chosen to return to the central question of the dignity of the human person and human rights, a point of encounter between the doctrine of the Church and contemporary society.

The world’s great religions and philosophies have illuminated some aspects of these human rights, which are concisely expressed in “the golden rule” found in the Gospel: “Do to others as you would have them do to you” (Lk 6:31; cf. Mt 7:12). The Church has always affirmed that fundamental rights, above and beyond the different ways in which they are formulated and the different degrees of importance they may have in various cultural contexts, are to be upheld and accorded universal recognition because they are inherent in the very nature of man, who is created in the image and likeness of God. If all human beings are created in the image and likeness of God, then they share a common nature that binds them together and calls for universal respect. The Church, assimilating the teaching of Christ, considers the person as “the worthiest of nature” (St. Thomas Aquinas, De potentia, 9, 3) and has taught that the ethical and political order that governs relationships between persons finds its origin in the very structure of man’s being. The discovery of America and the ensuing anthropological debate in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Europe led to a heightened awareness of human rights as such and of their universality (ius gentium). The modern period helped shape the idea that the message of Christ – because it proclaims that God loves every man and woman and that every human being is called to love God freely – demonstrates that everyone, independently of his or her social and cultural condition, by nature deserves freedom. At the same time, we must always remember that “freedom itself needs to be set free. It is Christ who sets it free” (Veritatis Splendor, 86).

In the middle of the last century, after the vast suffering caused by two terrible world wars and the unspeakable crimes perpetrated by totalitarian ideologies, the international community acquired a new system of international law based on human rights. In this, it appears to have acted in conformity with the message that my predecessor Benedict XV proclaimed when he called on the belligerents of the First World War to “transform the material force of arms into the moral force of law” (“Note to the Heads of the Belligerent Peoples”, 1 August 1917).

Human rights became the reference point of a shared universal ethos – at least at the level of aspiration – for most of humankind. These rights have been ratified by almost every State in the world. The Second Vatican Council, in the Declaration Dignitatis Humanae, as well as my predecessors Paul VI and John Paul II, forcefully referred to the right to life and the right to freedom of conscience and religion as being at the centre of those rights that spring from human nature itself.

Strictly speaking, these human rights are not truths of faith, even though they are discoverable – and indeed come to full light – in the message of Christ who “reveals man to man himself” Gaudium et Spes, 22). They receive further confirmation from faith. Yet it stands to reason that, living and acting in the physical world as spiritual beings, men and women ascertain the pervading presence of a logos which enables them to distinguish not only between true and false, but also good and evil, better and worse, and justice and injustice. This ability to discern – this radical agency – renders every person capable of grasping the “natural law”, which is nothing other than a participation in the eternal law: “unde…lex naturalis nihil aliud est quam participatio legis aeternae in rationali creatura” (St. Thomas Aquinas, ST I-II, 91, 2). The natural law is a universal guide recognizable to everyone, on the basis of which all people can reciprocally understand and love each other. Human rights, therefore, are ultimately rooted in a participation of God, who has created each human person with intelligence and freedom. If this solid ethical and political basis is ignored, human rights remain fragile since they are deprived of their sound foundation.

The Church’s action in promoting human rights is therefore supported by rational reflection, in such a way that these rights can be presented to all people of good will, independently of any religious affiliation they may have. Nevertheless, as I have observed in my Encyclicals, on the one hand, human reason must undergo constant purification by faith, insofar as it is always in danger of a certain ethical blindness caused by disordered passions and sin; and, on the other hand, insofar as human rights need to be re-appropriated by every generation and by each individual, and insofar as human freedom – which proceeds by a succession of free choices – is always fragile, the human person needs the unconditional hope and love that can only be found in God and that lead to participation in the justice and generosity of God towards others (cf. Deus Caritas Est, 18, and Spe Salvi, 24).

This perspective draws attention to some of the most critical social problems of recent decades, such as the growing awareness – which has in part arisen with globalisation and the present economic crisis – of a flagrant contrast between the equal attribution of rights and the unequal access to the means of attaining those rights. For Christians who regularly ask God to “give us this day our daily bread”, it is a shameful tragedy that one-fifth of humanity still goes hungry. Assuring an adequate food supply, like the protection of vital resources such as water and energy, requires all international leaders to collaborate in showing a readiness to work in good faith, respecting the natural law and promoting solidarity and subsidiarity with the weakest regions and peoples of the planet as the most effective strategy for eliminating social inequalities between countries and societies and for increasing global security.


Dear friends, dear Academicians, in exhorting you in your research and deliberations to be credible and consistent witnesses to the defence and promotion of these non-negotiable human rights which are founded in divine law, I most willingly impart to you my Apostolic Blessing.

© Copyright 2009 - Libreria Editrice Vaticana
SOURCE: http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/speeches/2009/may/documents/hf_ben-xvi_spe_20090504_social-sciences_en.html

Prince Albert II at September 2007 Inauguration of Monaco Embassy in Washington, D.C.

Address of Prince Albert II at September 2007 Inauguration of Embassy of Monaco in Washington, D.C.

Address by H.S.H. Prince Albert II at The Inauguration of the Residencein Washington on September 26, 2007

Mr. Ambassador, Madame, Your Excellencies, Madame Consul General, , distinguished Consuls of Monaco in the United States, Ladies and Gentlemen,
dear friends and dear family members, thank you all for being here. It’s wonderful to see, by your presence, the links between Monaco and the United States.

I’m particularly thrilled to be inaugurating Monaco’s Ambassador’s Residence here in Washington today with you. I’m delighted that Monegasque Diplomacy and Diplomatic Representation are now at an Ambassadorial Level. And I think this is only to highlight my personal commitment and that of the Principality to provide the necessary resources for deeper cooperation between Monaco and the United States.
I’m also moved today because my thoughts are obviously with my parents.
Especially with my Mother, since she was both of our countries’ most outstanding Ambassador and bound both of our countries in a very unique way.

As you know, I’m very fond of this country and harbor many happy memories of my early childhood and years after that. Summers with family members, summers at camp. There are a couple of people whom I went to camp with who are in this Embassy today. And of course, studying in Amherst College, then trying to learn some sort of insight and to make some sort of sense of what it means to be in Corporate America. And every time I spend time in this country, it brings back a whole lot of these fond memories. I think America instilled in me an appreciation for entrepreneurship and a deep respect for work as the only way to win. Also, it revealed to me the value of competition, not in order to dominate the other person but to surpass one’s self and find fulfillment. Returning to this land as I do fairly often, I embrace the immensity of its wide open spaces and the richness of a society founded on so many different ethnic origins. The inauguration of this Embassy marks a fresh impetus that I wish to bring to the relations - a long lasting and friendly relation between the Principality of Monaco and the United States of America.

These relations, as you know, were consolidated on December 8 of last year when His Excellency, Ambassador Gilles Nogh├Ęs, presented his Letters of credence to President Bush. And, five days later, His Excellency Craig Stapleton, the United States Non-Resident Ambassador, handed his Letters of Accreditation to me in the Principality. I had the pleasure of welcoming Ambassador Stapleton back to the Palace just a few days ago and used that opportunity to take another look at issues of common interests to both our Countries. Our mutual Ambassadors constitute a very visible expression of the close links that bind us.

I would also like to take this opportunity to salute the valuable work carried out by Mrs. Maguy Maccario-Doyle, who is our Consul General in New York City, and the equally indispensable efforts of the Principality’s six Honorary Consuls. Most of them are here today. It’s a real pleasure for me to see them again and to be able to keep up with their great work and I salute them and urge them to keep on going on that track.

Monaco shares the ideals and concerns of the United States, this I think you are all well aware of. Joining with the international community and the American government we will do everything possible to bring our efforts to the fight against terrorism in all its forms. A joint agreement pertaining to the proceeds of crime and the confiscation of goods signed by the Government of Monaco and the US government on the twenty fourth of March of this year bears witness to this.
Our American friends know that they will always receive a particularly warm welcome in the Principality and the image I would like you all and like our American friends to take away from Monaco is that of a Country that may be small in size but is driven by an unsuspected capacity to rise to challenge. It is inspired by the same values of freedom.

And we also remain open as our American friends do, to the great issues of our time. At the forefront of these issues, I think you know my commitment to the environment. And, as you know, not only has Monaco over the past ten years done tremendous efforts in terms of cooperation with other countries on environmental projects, but I felt it was time for me to do more. And so that’s why I set up in June of last year my own Foundation solely devoted to the environment.

We have three main areas that we have concentrated on, that is: the protection of biodiversity, the studies on climate change and on new energies, and also on the excruciatingly serious concerns about water and about water management. And so, with this new Foundation, we are working currently on 30 different projects that have been approved by our Scientific Board and by the Board of Trustees. We have decided to expand and to have satellite committees in different countries.

I am delighted to say that there will be a Prince of Albert II Monaco Foundation arm in the United States. I am very grateful and pleased that my cousin, John Kelly, has accepted to chair this group. And so, this arm of the Foundation will be happy to work with different entities in this country.

Thanks to Monaco’s Embassy in Washington, our two countries will now become still greater friends, building on the close links that we have already nurtured together. I think Isaac Newton said many years ago that, “man builds more walls than he does bridges.” I believe that both of our countries have been fortunate to build many bridges of friendship over the years. Let’s hope by working together that we will not only keep these bridges strong, that we’ll keep them open for ever.
Thank you very much.