Thursday 6 November 2008

Humanae Vitae must inform the way Universal Declaration of Human Rights is implemented, says top Vatican official

Monsignor Pietro Parolin, the Vatican's under-secretary of state for relations with states, put the implementation of Humanae Vitae at the top of the Church's political agenda at a major international medical workshop in Rome last night.

Anthony Ozimic*, SPUC political secretary, is currently in Rome attending a workshop held by Matercare a Catholic organisation of medical and bioethical professionals at the cutting-edge of Catholic thought and practice on maternal health.

The first talk of the workshop was given last night by Monsignor Pietro Parolin (pictured above) under-secretary for relations with states, Office of the Secretary of State of the Holy See.

Monsignor Parolin reminded workshop participants that 2008 is an important year because of two anniversaries: the 40th anniversary of Humanae Vitae (Pope Paul VI's encyclical on human life) and the 60th anniversary of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

He said that Humanae Vitae should inform the way in which the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is to be implemented and that the right to life gives meaning to the presence of the Holy See in the world: to stop the spread of the culture of death. He reminded doctors that Pope Paul VI had said that Catholic doctors must conduct their profession in accord with faith and right reason. Finally, he warned that ambiguous language is increasingly used by certain groups to claim rights with no reference to natural ethics, in order to justify acts against the right to life, e.g. the term reproductive rights to include abortion.

The Vatican's placing of Humanae Vitae at the top of the international political agenda could not be more timely. With the Catholic Church in England and Wales making it clear that it will collaborate with Government plans for statutory sex and relationship classes in primary and secondary schools, as I blogged last month, we see the fulfilment of the prophecy of Pope Paul VI regarding artificial birth control in ways that even he did not predict: i.e. the complicity of Catholic authorities with the imposition of secret provision of birth control drugs and devices, including abortion, to schoolchildren under the age of 16, without parental knowledge or consent.

Monsignor Parolin's message to doctors - to conduct their profession in accord with faith and right reason - underlines the importance of lay professionals, parents and other citizens, standing up to the state and religious authorities when their fundamental human rights are being threatened.

*Anthony Ozimic, who has a master's degree in bioethics, is speaking at the MaterCare workshop on the effects of abortion on the moral character of the provider.