Yesterday I published an article about violent anger.
To follow up that theme I wanted to include a passage from the 2014 address of Pope Francis to the members of the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France.
He mentions the contemporary conception of human rights particularly insofar as it has a tendency to subordinate the common good to individual desires and even whims. He notes how this inevitably gives rise to conflict. This is not an argument against human rights but a recognition that a disordered understanding of human rights undermines society because of its overemphasis on the self in isolation from the other. Read below,
…care must be taken not to fall into certain errors which can arise from a misunderstanding of the concept of human rights and from its misuse. Today there is a tendency to claim ever broader individual rights; underlying this is a conception of the human person as detached from all social and anthropological contexts, as if the person were a “monad” (μονάς), increasingly unconcerned with other surrounding “monads”.
The equally essential and complementary concept of duty no longer seems to be linked to such a concept of rights. As a result, the rights of the individual are upheld, without regard for the fact that each human being is part of a social context wherein his or her rights and duties are bound up with those of others and with the common good of society itself.
I believe, therefore, that it is vital to develop a culture of human rights which wisely links the individual, or better, the personal aspect, to that of the common good, of the “all of us” made up of individuals, families and intermediate groups who together constitute society. In fact, unless the rights of each individual are harmoniously ordered to the greater good, those rights will end up being considered limitless and consequently will become a source of conflicts and violence (ref.)
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