Date of publication: 09/04/2024

Vatican issues document on grave violations of human dignity, such as poverty and abortion

Church

After five years of studies, reflections, consultations and debates, the Holy See has published this week, April 8, the Declaration “Dignitas Infinita”, focused on grave violations of human dignity. The text was prepared by the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith and is available in six languages: Italian, French, English, German, Spanish and Portuguese.

The Declaration “Dignitas Infinita” is divided into four chapters, written in 66 themes: 1) A growing awareness of the centrality of human dignity, 2) The Church proclaims, promotes and guarantees human dignity, 3) Dignity, the foundation of human rights and duties, and 4) Some grave violations of human dignity.

In addition to abortion, euthanasia, gender theory and surrogacy (known as “surrogate motherhood”), poverty, war and human trafficking are also on the list of very serious ethical violations. The list is not exhaustive, but it gives the main examples of modern evils that afflict humanity and go against Gospel values, and obviously against human dignity.

For us, SSVP members, the section on “The drama of poverty” (themes 36 and 37), considered the greatest injustice of contemporary society, is particularly important. In the document, poverty is associated with unemployment: “there is no worse poverty than that which deprives people of work and the dignity of work”.

In addition to material poverty, the text lists other violations, such as wars, the suffering of migrants, human trafficking, sexual abuse, violence against women, abortion, surrogate motherhood, euthanasia and assisted suicide, the discarding of disabled people, gender theory, gender reassignment and sexual violence.

The Holy See also considers the practice of polygamy, subhuman living conditions, slavery, prostitution and trafficking of women and girls a grave violation of human dignity. It also mentions the death penalty, which “violates the inalienable dignity of every human person beyond all circumstances.”

The list of violations is completed by “digital violence,” citing that new forms of violence are spreading through social networks, such as cyberbullying, pornography and the exploitation of people for sexual purposes or through gambling.

In summary, the statement explains that all these violations represent “everything that is contrary to life” and also “everything that undermines the integrity of the human person.”

We recommend the Vincentian Conferences to download the file of the declaration and meditate on it as spiritual reading. All violations of human dignity must be denounced and combated by all of us Christians and Vincentians.

Brother Renato Lima de Oliveira

Commissioner to the United Nations

16th President General (2016/2023)