Human Rights – Rights and Responsibilities

“I can do things you cannot, you can do things I cannot; together we can do great things.”  Mother Teresa
What are Rights and Responsibilities?
“The Catholic tradition teaches that human dignity can be protected and a healthy community can be achieved only if human rights are protected and responsibilities are met. Therefore, every person has a fundamental right to life and a right to those things required for human decency. Corresponding to these rights are duties and responsibilities — to one another, to our families, and to the larger society.”
U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops
God speaks to us in the Bible on the importance of loving one another. God’s word provides guidelines on what our Rights and Responsibilities are in both the Old and New Testaments. Here are some examples:     
Leviticus 25:35        When someone is reduced to poverty, we have an obligation to help.     
Isaiah 1:16-17           Seek justice, rescue the oppressed, defend the orphan, plead for the widow.    
Matthew 25: 31-46   Just as you did it to the least of these, you did it to me.    
Acts 4:32-35              There was not a needy person among them.
The Catechism of the Church states that respect for the human person considers the other “another self.” It also states that the differences among persons are part of God’s plan. God wills that we should need one another. These differences should encourage charity towards others.
Questions to ask ourselves:
  • Where do I see or hear about rights being violated in our larger community or around the world?
  • Whose responsibility is it to ensure those rights are protected or fulfilled?
  • How might God be inviting me to advocate to protect the rights I feel most passionate about, and to ensure that corresponding duties are fulfilled?
  • How do I go about serving my family, my co-workers, my neighbors, and my community?
“Human rights are not only violated by terrorism, repression or assassination, but also by unfair economic structures that create huge inequalities.”
Pope Francis