Chairman, Dignitatis Humanae Institute
Address to the Holy Father on behalf of the DHI
DHI Fifth Anniversary Papal Audience
Saturday, 7 December 2013
What is the great moral question that characterizes the modern age?
The Dignitatis Humanae Institute believes it to be how humanity responds to the First Commandment: “I am the Lord your God – You shall have no other gods before me: you shall not make for yourself an idol.”
And this age is defined by our attempt to ignore the Commandment; or worse, to eliminate it.
The West, which prides itself on its secularity, has produced a proud succession of false idols in the modern era, and hastened to bow down to them. And with every new false idol raised up, it is the dignity of man that is dragged down.
The false idol of individualistic consumerism, that says that people who live empty lives without joy can find meaning and fulfilment through shopping and material acquisition;
The false idol of human perfection, that has manipulated the medical profession, transforming health care into a doctrine of eugenics;
The false idol of social collectivism, that says people find their identity only as part of the social collective;
These, of course, are just a few of them. The Dignitatis Humanae Institute rejects decisively these synthetic religions that offer sacrifice, and literally the human sacrifice of the most vulnerable and voiceless in our society, to such false gods. And if these idolatries are synthetic religions; then the incense burnt is the indifference of moral relativism.
Moral Relativism: which is, in the words of Cardinal Ratzinger, a tyranny based on the supremacy of the strong and the neglect of the weak and vulnerable.
Holy Father, because of that barbaric tyranny, and because we are a world that lives without Christ, some 50 million children are killed by abortion, and unknown thousands through euthanasia, around the world every year. This is the sacrifice that the secular world offers up to the gods of its choice.
The neglect, rejection and loneliness of the most vulnerable in our society are our clear signs that we have got it wrong and we need to re-think our priorities.
Holy Father, The Dignitatis Humanae Institute thanks you from the profoundest depths of its heart, for the constant repetition you have given the world that we need to return to Christ.
As you said in your Palm Sunday homily: All too often…the Living God is replaced by fleeting human idols which offer the intoxication of a flash of freedom, but in the end bring new forms of slavery and death.”
This is the heart of the non-negotiable principles underlined recently in Evangelii gaudium.
The Dignitatis Humanae Institute therefore suggests with humility: there can only ever be an authentic recognition in society of the infinite dignity of man when there is an acknowledged infinity dignity due to God to build it on. And in fact, as God is treated by society, so the corresponding degree of how man treats man either rises or falls.
As the President of our Board of Advisors, Cardinal Burke, said at this year’s Annual Conference on Human Dignity, kindly hosted at the Casina Pio IV here at the Vatican: “Without a careful articulation of the inviolable dignity of innocent human life, society’s only measure of the good of an individual human life is what the person possesses or produces.”
By “careful articulation”, Cardinal Burke was talking of the main instrument of our work: the Universal Declaration on Human Dignity – which stresses that we recognise that the source of our rights transcends any legal document or charter, because the source comes from God: from this, we conclude that the pre-eminent human right is that all humanity is recognized as being made in the likeness and image of God.
Holy Father, the Dignitatis Humanae Institute sees the promotion of the fact that Man is made in the image and likeness of God as a springboard to evangelisation. We see that the beating heart of evangelisation is the transmission of the joy, the hope that is Jesus Christ in us. This is what we are trying to spread in the political sphere and in the wider civil society.
The Gospel’s invitation of Our Blessed Lord, to whom we must all answer, is to love God and to love our neighbour. This invitation is today the only yeast we have to really change the world. It is always a positive proposal, the promise of true joy that stands ready to change man and humanity.
I would like to thank all our friends for being present: especially the network of politicians we work with, and the generosity of our benefactors that make our work possible.
Finally, we think to tomorrow, to the great Solemnity on which the Dignitatis Humanae Institute was founded, the Immaculate Conception. As the Founding Patron of the Institute, Rocco Buttiglione, said at the beginning of this work: “We can always pray to the Madonna for her intercession: but we must always pray to her for her protection.”
Your Holiness, on behalf of everybody here present, Thank you most sincerely for receiving us on our Fifth Anniversary.
We ask for your prayers going forward into the future.