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New Vatican document tackles ‘grave violations of human dignity’

The Prefect of the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith, Cardinal Víctor Manuel Fernández, presents Dignitas Infinita during a press conference at the Vatican. Credit: ALAMY

The Vatican’s Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith has recently released a new declaration that strongly condemns “some grave violations of human dignity.”

The declaration, entitled ‘Dignitas infinita,’ took five years to be completed, to address the disconnect between social and existential aspects of human dignity.

It was released to mark the 75th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and reaffirm “the indispensable nature of the dignity of the human person in Christian anthropology.”

According to Cardinal Víctor Manuel Fernández, prefect of the dicastery, it offers important reflection points to help the faithful “maintain an awareness of human dignity amid the complex historical moment” of the present time.

While not claiming to be exhaustive, the grave violations of human dignity discussed in the declaration were topics that the Holy Father has spoken out strongly about in recent months and years.

It specifically recalled the teaching of the Second Vatican Council, which said that “all offences against life itself, such as murder, genocide, abortion, euthanasia, and willful suicide” must be recognized as grave human dignity violations.

The declaration also mentioned the dangers of “mutilation, physical and mental torture, undue psychological pressures” to human dignity, as well as “subhuman living conditions, arbitrary imprisonment, deportation, slavery, prostitution, the selling of women and children, [and] degrading working conditions.”

Moreover, the declaration explored the biggest social issues that plagued recent years. Human trafficking was highlighted and described as a “vile activity, a disgrace to our societies that claim to be civilized.”

When it comes to gender theory, the dicastery explained that it “intends to deny the greatest possible difference that exists between living beings: sexual difference.”

The declaration called out the imprisonment, torture, and deprivation of a good life of some people “solely because of their sexual orientation.”

On top of that, sex change was also described as a huge threat to the “unique dignity the person has received from the moment of conception.”

Furthermore, the dicastery reflected upon digital violence spreading through social media, which included cyberbullying, the spread of pornography, and “the exploitation of persons for sexual purposes or through gambling.”

Aside from discussing the Church’s stance on these grave violations, the declaration reiterated the fundamental principles of the “inalienable dignity” of humanity.

It reaffirmed “the ontological dignity of the human person,” created in the likeness and called to communion with God, which was confirmed by the incarnation of Jesus Christ.

Read the full text of ‘Dignitas infinita’ on the Holy See website.


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