Rights Seen as "Self-Centered Demands," Laments Pope

Analyzes Challenges Facing U.S. Laity

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VATICAN CITY, JUNE 4, 2004 (Zenit.org).- John Paul II lamented that human rights are being reduced to simple "self-centered demands."



The Pope expressed this concern when receiving the bishops of Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, Arizona, New Mexico and western Texas, at the conclusion of their five-yearly visit to Rome. He received them shortly before welcoming U.S. President George Bush in audience.

"Over the last 40 or so years," the Holy Father said, "while political attention to human subjectivity has focused on individual rights, in the public domain there has been a growing reluctance to acknowledge that all men and women receive their essential and common dignity from God and with it the capacity to move towards truth and goodness."

"Detached from this vision of the fundamental unity and purpose of the whole human family, rights are at times reduced to self-centered demands," he said.

As an example, the Pontiff mentioned "the growth of prostitution and pornography in the name of adult choice, the acceptance of abortion in the name of women's rights, the approval of same sex unions in the name of homosexual rights."

"In the face of such erroneous yet pervasive thinking," the Holy Father reminded the laity of "their special responsibility for evangelizing culture and promoting Christian values in society and public life."

"False secularistic forms of humanism, which exalt the individual in such a manner that they become a veritable idolatry, can be countered only by the rediscovery of the genuine inviolable dignity of every person," he said.

"This sublime dignity is manifested in all its radiance when the person's origin and destiny are considered -- created by God and redeemed by Christ, we are all called to be 'children in the Son,'" the Pope observed.

He added: "So, again I say to the people of the United Sates, it is the Paschal Mystery of Christ that is the only sure point of reference for all of humanity on its pilgrimage in search of authentic unity and true peace!"