The Church teaches that we have a duty, both as individuals and as a community, to protect the rights of others. At the core of all inherent rights is the dignity of the human person and the right to life. Human dignity can be protected and a healthy community achieved only when the rights of all people are protected and our responsibilities of all people are met. We, therefore, have responsibilities to one another, to our families, and to society in general.
Every basic human right draws its authoritative force from the natural law, which confers it and attaches to it its respective duty. Hence, to claim one’s rights and ignore one’s duties, or only half fulfill them, is like building a house with one hand and tearing it down with the other.
Pope John XXIII, Pacem in Terris (Peace on Earth), 30
As a starting place, people within a family need to be just with each other. Each person has rights and duties within the family community. To be just, each person must respect the rights of other family members. Everyone needs to fulfill their family obligations as well. This then extends to the parish community, and the world community.
- How do I respect the rights of others as well as my own?
- What family obligations do I have and how do they relate to honoring each family member?
Resources on Rights and Responsibiltieis
From the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops