Making the Church a voice for infinite dignity of all

  • April 25, 2024

The Vatican’s April 8 statement Dignitatis Infinita (Infinite Dignity) provides a welcome examination of the concept of human dignity, distinguishing proper understanding of the term from current misconceptions. The statement also addresses a litany of “some specific and grave violations” of human dignity. On the list are poverty, war, migrants, human trafficking, sexual abuse, violence against women, abortion, surrogacy, euthanasia and assisted suicide, marginalization of people with disabilities, gender theory, sex change and “digital violence.”

Not surprisingly, the world’s media focused on the current hot button issues of gender theory and sex change. As the Church’s understanding of these issues rarely receive a fair hearing, perhaps that is a good thing.

The section on gender theory denounces the sufferings imposed on those with non-heterosexual orientations. The Church needs to say this often, first to discourage those who would abuse those with LGBT orientations and second to make it clear to the wider public that it opposes such violations.

The document goes on to state that the gift of human life, in all its dimensions, is a gift from God which should be received with gratitude. A personal assertion of one’s own gender oblivious to one’s biology is to reject God’s gift.

Jesus was not a social psychologist. But neither did he spend much time laying down moral norms. Instead, he was a healer and liberator. Before urging people to repent, he affirmed their full human dignity in the face of those who denied it. Should the Church today not also play a role in liberating those whose dignity is compromised?

Good philosophy and theology are crucial to the Church’s mission. Even more so is listening to the voices of those oppressed or disturbed. Most Christians are not intellectuals, but all have the ability and duty to offer the gift of their presence. So when the Church speaks about our dignity, it should also be a voice for those whose dignity has been undermined so that their dignity may be restored.

(Glen Argan writes his online column Epiphany at https://glenargan.substack.com.)

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