Catholicism, Human Rights and the Public Sphere
International Journal of Public Theology, Vol. 5, pp.331-351, 2011
11 Pages Posted: 17 Jun 2012 Last revised: 30 Jan 2015
Date Written: June 17, 2012
This article suggests that the scope and meaning of human rights, and its relationship to religion, is anything but settled, and that this gives an opportunity to those who support a role for religion in public life to intervene. Such intervention should address four main issues. First, it should ensure that judges engage in attempting to understand religious issues from a cognitively internal viewpoint. Secondly, it should articulat a justification for freedom of religion that fully captures the core of the significance of religious belief, and the importance of the religious principles in the public sphere. Thirdly, it should ensure engagement and dialogue between the churches and others on the meaning of human dignity, given its centrality to religious and secular perspectives on rights. Lastly, the churches should consider more carefully what it means to give ‘public reasons’ in the political and cultural context, and how it can engage in the process of ‘public reasoning’ regarding human rights.
Keywords: Catholic human rights, religious freedom, dignity, public text
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation