On the eve of the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, marking the fifth anniversary of the foundation of the Dignitatis Humanae Institute, members and supporters from across the world's legislatures were honoured by a private audience with His Holiness Pope Francis, to renew their commitment to defending the most vulnerable in society, to promoting human dignity, and to preserving Christian principles in the public square.
Calling on the politicians assembled, Pope Francis warned of a modern-day
"throwaway culture" that threatens "to become the dominant mentality. The victims of such a culture are precisely the weakest and most fragile human beings - the unborn, the poorest people, sick elderly people, gravely disabled people... who are in danger of being "thrown out," expelled from a machine that must be efficient at all costs. This false model of man and society embodies a practical atheism, de facto negating the Word of God that says: 'Let us make man in our image, according to our likeness.' "
Since its creation five years ago, the Dignitatis Humanae Institute has forged a network of parliamentary working groups towards this purpose, promoting human dignity based on the recognition that man is made in the image and likeness of God, as codified in the Universal Declaration of Human Dignity. Addressing all those present, Honorary President Cardinal Renato Raffaele Martino opened the Audience attesting to this steadfast commitment "to return our society to the belief that man is made in the image and likeness of God, and that because of this, he has an infinite human dignity which demands to be respected."
The consequences of failure in this duty were envisioned by Luca Volontè, Chairman of the Dignitatis Humanae Institute, when he addressed the Holy Father on behalf of the Institute: "The false idols of gender ideology that want to eliminate man and the family. Consumerism and individualism that seduces humanity to cling to the ephemeral. The new statism and the temptation of a new irresponsible collectivism. A culture of heathcare that transforms itself into external perfection or into eugenics. The rebirth of an economic and speculative elite. The new Malthusianism and euthanasia that imposes abortion and the sacrifice of millions of children, the elderly and the poor. Our days are characterised by the desire to ignore and eliminate God from the hearts of men and the life of the people."
"The Dignitatis Humanae Institute proposes with joy, courage and a generous heart, the truth of the dignity of the human person, and decisively rejects these teachings and furious ideologies. They are borne of moral relativism, imposing a true and real tyranny based on the supremacy of the strong against the weak, where forms of slavery are taking hold in the context of a resigned silence. We cannot resign ourselves, because we are Christians."
Following the Papal Audience, the Dignitatis Humanae Institute announced the impending creation of the latest Parliamentary Working Group, in Hungary. President of the International Committee on Human Dignity, Nirj Deva MEP, cited a further need to focus on Scandinavian nations, where a culture of death risks pervading national legislation in the form of ever liberal abortion and euthanasia measures.
Pope Francis concluded the Audience by congratulating the Institute on its work "to assist the lay faithful of every walk of life, and especially those who work in politics, to think according to the Gospel and the Church's social doctrine and to act consistently, dialoguing and collaborating with those who, with sincerity and intellectual honesty, at least share - if not the faith - a similar vision of man and society and its ethical consequences. There are not a few Christians and non-believers, who are convinced that the human person must always be an end and never a means. In wishing you every good in your work, I invoke the Lord's blessing for you and your loved ones."
[Translation into English of the Holy Father's remarks courtesy of Innovative Media Inc.]