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Man's Dignity and Rights Come From God, Not From a Consensus

VATICAN CITY, October 31, 2002 ( - During a welcome ceremony for Belgium's new ambassador to the Vatican, Pope John Paul commented on euthanasia which was recently legalized in the country.

Addressing the country through its ambassador, Benoit Cardon de Lichtbuer, the Pope said: "Man, created by God and called to share in His divine life, has always been at the center of the Christian vision of the world and that is why the Church respects and defends life. How can she silence her great anxiety and reprobation in the face of laws recently voted on in different countries which legalize active euthanasia?"

He said that the "only true rampart" against the constant violations of man's dignity and his rights is "recognizing the sacred and inviolable nature of every human person." Human dignity and human rights are God-given, said the pontiff, they do not come from a consensus by men. Society exposes itself to grave dangers, he added, if it does not recognize God as the author of life, human dignity and human rights.

(with files from the Vatican Information Service)

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