Vatican celebrates anniversary of Universal Declaration of Human Rights

 The Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, with the Prefecture of the Pontifical Household, are organizing a number of events today, to mark the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Cardinal Renato Martino, President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, said: "The Church believes that human rights express the transcendent dignity of the person, the only creature that God has willed for himself as an end and never a means, and she believes that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948 was a moment of fundamental importance in the development, of humanity as a whole, of a moral conscience in conformity with the dignity of the human person."

He said the Compendium of the Church's Social Doctrine affirms in #152: "The Church's Magisterium has not failed to note the positive value of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted by the United Nations on 10 December 1948, which Pope John Paul II defined as "a true milestone on the path of humanity's moral progress."

The celebration will begin at 4pm in the Paul VI Audience Hall, with a commemorative act for reflection and study, attended by the heads of the various Dicasteries of the Roman Curia and the Diplomatic Corps to the Holy See. Talks addressing the importance and current significance of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, will be given by: Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, Secretary of State; Dr. Juan Somavia, General Director of the International Labour Organization (ILO); Dr. Jacques Diouf, General Director of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). Cardinal Martino will introduce and conclude the event.

The second half of the program will be marked by the presence of Pope Benedict, beginning at 6pm, with a classical music concert given by the Brandenburrgisches Staatsorchester of Frankfurt, conducted by composer Inma Shara.

Before the concert begins, the Saint Matthew Foundation will present its 2008 awards, given in memory of Cardinal François-Xavier Nguyên Van Thuân, to the following people and organizations: Dr Cornelio Sommaruga, former President of the International Red Cross Committee; Cardinal Van Thuân, Solidarity and Development 2008; Fr Pedro Opeka, author of the project AKAMASOA, a project for building houses for the homeless of Tananarivo (Madagascar); Fr José Raúl Matte, Camilian priest and doctor working with lepers in the Amazon, in the Hospital "São Camilo y São Luis"; GULUNAP, a School of Medicine in Gulu, in North Uganda, linked to the University "Federico II" of Naples (Italy); the Project "Gruppo Ercolini-Villaggio degli Ercolini," which works towards a social-cultural integration of gypsy youth, through the improvement of certain sectors of Rome.

Source: Fides

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