July 4, 2012


The Inalienable Right to Dignity (Marcellino D'Ambrosio, Ph.D., 7/04/11, Catholic Exchange)

Fireworks. Baseball games. Picnics. This is what the Fourth of July means to most Americans today. But July 4, 1776, was a very solemn day for the 55 men who affixed their signatures to the Declaration of Independence. For in so doing, they were risking their lives and fortunes to defend the proposition that "all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." Liberty was a corollary of human dignity, and to safeguard human dignity was the reason for their war of independence.

So what does the Fourth of July have to do with the teaching of the Catholic Church? [...]

The Second Vatican Council does nothing but draw out the implications of this biblical witness.

It bases the right to freedom of religion on human dignity. It teaches that morality can never just be imposed from without, as so many rules and regulations, but must be internalized in a sanctuary called conscience. It teaches that not just a select few, but all, are called to the heights of holiness, regardless of their state in life or occupation. It teaches that if all are created in God's image and likeness, then all are equal in dignity, whether man or woman, adult or child, born, or unborn, cleric or lay. It teaches that societies must strive to bring about living conditions that correspond to human dignity.

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[originally posted: 7/04/11]

Posted by at July 4, 2012 2:42 AM

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