Cardinal Parolin encourages Italian jurists to be close to the vulnerable
By Lisa Zengarini
The Union of Italian Catholic Jurists (UGCI) is meeting in Rome from 9 to 11 December for its 70th National Seminar, and focusing on the theme: "The least in society. The legal protection of weak subjects".
The session will study the legal relevance of fragility of the human person in light of the Italian constitutional framework, which is largely inspired by Catholic doctrine. Discussions will focus on how to promote a legislation that upholds and protects the basic human rights of the most vulnerable.
The seminar was introduced by Cardinal Pietro Parolin who, in a video message, welcomed the chosen theme, saying it is of particular relevance in today's context where “new” fundamental human rights are coming to the fore.
Catholic jurists and human rights
In his keynote address, the Vatican Secretary of State praised the fundamental contribution of Catholic jurists in reshaping the legal framework at a national and international level in the aftermath of the Second World War.
He said this took place due to the “rediscovering” the ancient Doctrine of Natural Law which germinated in the Jewish-Greek-Roman culture and was subsequently enhanced by the Christian thought, as opposed the Doctrine of Positive Law.
Doctrine of Natural Law
That doctrine, he noted, greatly inspired the Universal Declaration of Human Rights according to which all people have equal fundamental rights because they derive from the dignity inherent in every human being, and also the Italian Constitution.
Cardinal Parolin went on to remark that the Natural Law Doctrine also underlies the principle of the protection of the weaker subjects in society and the connected principle of solidarity.
Indeed, he said, protecting the weaker is the very reason of being of law as an instrument of justice – ‘ius quia iustum’ - rather than one of force – ‘ius quia iussum’.
Social justice and solidarity
Noting that both the principles of social justice and solidarity are enshrined in the Italian Constitution, the Secretary of State therefore highlighted the “need for positive law to protect the weaker subjects”, removing “all the discriminatory obstacles that make them even more weaker”, so they can effectively enjoy their constitutional rights.
Protecting migrants and children
Bringing his reflection to an end, Cardinal Parolin pointed out that among the most vulnerable needing legal protection today are migrants, but also children who, for a number of reasons, including assisted reproductive techniques, find themselves orphaned of their biological parents.
Recalling Pope Francis’ words to the participants in the 5th Convention of the Italian Church, the Secretary of State finally encouraged the Italian jurists to be “ever closer to the abandoned, the forgotten, the imperfect” in carrying out their work.