H.E. Cardinal Renato Raffaele Martino
Honorary President, Dignitatis Humanae Institute
Tomorrow is the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, the Fifth Anniversary of the foundation of the Dignitatis Humanae Institute. The DHI was founded in 2008 in the European Parliament with the goal to protect and promote human dignity based on the anthropological truth that man is born in the image and likeness of God.
I am proud to say that this Institute has done remarkable work in short five years to establish itself as a leading international player in the global attempt to evangelise our culture. Our Annual Conference on Human Dignity, which takes place here in Rome, is now host to a large number of politicians, NGOs, and journalists and other opinion formers.
They gather from all over the world with one objective: 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.
To evangelise the very culture itself is the activity and ambition of this Institute. We work with all people of goodwill. We are firmly ecumenical in our approach, respectful and tolerant of those with other different faith; but we celebrate with joy our uncompromising inspiration by the holy Word of God, and Catholic Social Teaching.
Before I hand over to our Chairman, Luca Volontè, to say a few words on behalf of the Institute, I wanted to share these beautiful and memorable words of yours, Your Holiness, that you gave recently to Catholic Gynaecologists. The Dignitatis Humanae Institute has taken them to heart.
Holy Father, you said: “In the fragile human being, each one of us is invited to recognize the face of the Lord, who in his human flesh experienced the indifference and loneliness that often condemns the poorest, both in developing countries and in affluent societies.”
You affirmed that: “each unborn child who is unjustly condemned to be aborted, bears the face of Jesus Christ, has the face of the Lord, who, even before he was born and then as soon as he was born, experienced the rejection of the world.” And you said “that every elderly person, even if he or she is sick or at the end of his or her days, bears the face of Christ. They cannot be discarded, as the “culture of waste” proposes! They cannot be discarded!”
And you reminded them that being Catholic entails a great responsibility, by helping: “people to recognize the transcendent dimension in human life, the imprint of God’s work of creation, from the very first moment of conception on.”
Thank you Holy Father. This luminous expression of the dignity of man is something that we hope will permeate everything the Dignitatis Humanae Institute does in the future. It is a manifesto for our call to action.