Society cannot be neutral to values
It is important to reinvigorate the concept of a human person as the image of God and the hope of humanity

Knowing and promoting values

Author: Mgr. Porteous, auxiliary bishop of Sydney | Source: Source:

Society cannot be neutral to values 
It is important to reinvigorate the concept of a human person as the image of God and the hope of humanity 
Knowing and promoting values 
Our most important relationships are not for personal gain but in ways that can be given and received love and thus build «the fraternity that men must establish among themselves in truth and love» (Catechism of the Catholic Church, No. 1878; see also ' "Gaudium et Spes", No. 24). 
Societies are better when trying to spread love to the general population, and in particular by offering love to the neediest ("Centessimus Annus", No. 10, on the option for the poor, which confirms the teaching of Leo XIII in the "Rerum Novarum", No. 125). That is why society is not free to values but is "essential for the fulfillment of human vocation" (Catechism of the Catholic Church, No. 1886). 
There are many ways to share love in society, for example, by providing health care, supporting families, increasing access to work, protecting important liberties, etc. The State has the special task of ensuring that all these areas are properly addressed, and that law and authority are exercised solely for these purposes. Pope Saint John XXIII in the "Pacem in Terris" (No. 46) established: "A well-ordered and fertile society requires rulers, vested with legitimate authority, to defend the institutions and consecrate, enough, their activity and their unveilings to the common benefit of the country ".
Because the good is not neutral 
Justice and love require that the State act for the genuine good of each person — that is, the "Common good". The Common Good recognizes thus that «the human person... is and must be the principle, the subject, and the end of all social institutions («Gaudium et Spes», No. 25). 
This means that the State can never be merely neutral to the values. The State only exists to ensure that the value of people is recognized, that the vulnerable are protected, and that the Common Good is promoted. 
In our world, the question of neutrality is generally presented when some people argue that the State should not favor one value above another. For example, many people may rejoice that we are Catholics in our private lives but do not want us to bring these values to public life. 
Our values 
But we cannot keep our catholic beliefs and consciences for our private lives. The Lord himself and the constant teaching of the Church tell us to speak for the poor, support the marriage and the family, give voice to those who do not have, defend the innocent life: «Verily I say unto you, how much you did unto one of these little brethren of mine, you did it to me ' (Matthew 25, 40). We cannot evangelize unless we are free to speak and work for catholic wisdom in these key social areas. 
The modern democratic State promotes values of secular liberalism and assumes that these values represent the highest point of civilization and impartiality. 
Democracy and moral law 
But as Pope Saint John Paul II defended, democracy requires to hold on to a framework of morality: the legitimacy of democracy "depends on its conformity with the moral law" ("Evangelium Vitae", No. 70). 
Our hope must be that, instead of the tired and old values of twentieth-century secularism, societies will reinvigorate the concept of a human person as the image of God and the hope of humanity. 
The Catechism of the Catholic Church (No. 1929) says, "only social justice can be achieved if the transcendent dignity of man is respected." When the State places the person as the first, it increases its commitment to the Common Good. And when one seeks the Common Good in justice and love, people, not neutrality, is the real focus of political life.

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