Veritatis Splendor 22

In this last entry in this series (at least for now), Pope John Paul II declares that no man or institution of men has authority to violate the fundamental rights of men.

In this way, moral norms, and primarily the negative ones, those prohibiting evil, manifest their meaning and force, both personal and social. By protecting the inviolable personal dignity of every human being they help to preserve the human social fabric and its proper and fruitful development. The commandments of the second table of the Decalogue in particular — those which Jesus quoted to the young man of the Gospel (cf. Mt 19:19) — constitute the indispensable rules of all social life.

These commandments are formulated in general terms. But the very fact that “the origin, the subject and the purpose of all social institutions is and should be the human person” allows for them to be specified and made more explicit in a detailed code of behaviour. The fundamental moral rules of social life thus entail specific demands to which both public authorities and citizens are required to pay heed. Even though intentions may sometimes be good, and circumstances frequently difficult, civil authorities and particular individuals never have authority to violate the fundamental and inalienable rights of the human person. In the end, only a morality which acknowledges certain norms as valid always and for everyone, with no exception, can guarantee the ethical foundation of social coexistence, both on the national and international levels. [VS §97, emphasis added]

He doesn’t mention them specifically, but the same principles apply to corporations and other non-governmental organizations too, of course. This is because (as he says) “the origin, the subject and the purpose of all social institutions is and should be the human person.” They do not exist in a moral vacuum; they do not exist for their own sakes.

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Posted in John Paul II, Magisterium, Veritatis Splendor

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