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|Pontifical council for the family|
Family and human rights
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16. Respect for human rights is necessary for the human development of persons in the community. These values include life itself, health, knowledge, work, the community and religion. Above all, "the family is in fact a community of persons whose proper way of existing and living together is communion: communio personarum".19 The values essential to the family can only be achieved when a man and a woman give themselves to one another totally in marriage, a community of love and life, and are willing to fully accept the gift of new life in procreation and in education. Parents give that new life a home in which the child can grow and develop. All the rights that are necessary by nature for the development of the person in hisher wholeness become real in the family in the most effective way. The family, by its very nature, is a subject of rights, the foundational element of human society, and the most necessary force in the full development of the human person. The importance of the family's social mediation is undeniable. This is something that maintains all its value, despite the changes that have affected the family over the course of history.
17. Since all men are persons, the Holy Father has defined the fundamental institution of society as a "communio personarum".20 "The family is indeed—more than any other human reality—the place where an individual can exist ‘for himself' through the sincere gift of self. This is why it remains a social institution which neither can nor should be replaced: it is the ‘sanctuary of life'".21 Consequently, to promote this existential project in a human being means first of all to recognize his reality as a person and his innate dignity. To achieve this end, it is becoming increasingly necessary to give value to the family and to the different members who comprise it.
19) John Paul II, Letter to Families Gratissimam Sane, 2294, 7.
20) Cf. Ibid., 6,7; John Paul II, Apostolic Letter Mulieris Dignitatem, 15888, 23.
21) Gratissimam Sane, 11.
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