XIII-2 - La dignité en ses discours (2008)

Revue des Facultés de Théologie et de Philosophie


Emmanuel Gabellieri - "Human rights" and "obligations towards human beings" in the work of S. Weil

Participating in London in 1943, just prior to her death, in the project of a new post-war constitution for free France, S. Weil proposed establishing the text not upon a new declaration of rights, but upon a declaration of obligations to the human being. It was for her the only radical way to escape from not only the latent individualism of the declaration of rights of 1789, but also from the totalitarian absolutism of the collective us which was its alternative. As these dangers are still present in the 21st century, this consideration is precious in establishing human dignity upon the desire for Good which is present in each man, in which S. Weil saw an implicit correspondence with divine transcendence.

Guy Aurenche - Modernity and future of a concept

In all ages and cultures, the superior value of the human being has been praised. Messages sent on this subject by diverse civilizations are extremely varied, but they are similar in their calls to valorise the person, taken alone or as a group. The concept of dignity was philosophically formulated by certain currents of thought. How can we comprehend this concept which speaks of the greatness, the hereafter, the holy nature of the human person? The proclaimed and formally recognized dignity is incarnated in a relation, in gestures, in a glance. In on movement, the dignity of the emitter of this sign and that of its receiver is revealed. Facing the ordeals of extreme violence perpetrated in the last century, the concept of dignity is today taken up again in world-wide legal texts which formulate rights and duties, interdictions and obligations which are imposed on all people. Strangely, these official declarations rest on an act of faith, a choice, a wager. The human family is invited to dialogue in order to give precise and universal content to general notions. The need for dignity which can be traced to the origins of humanity, reveals itself to be absolutely necessary and beneficial to a Humanity which is conscious at the same time of its unity and of its capacity of total destruction.

Pierre Davienne - Human dignity

Dignity is often perceived as the human capacity to keep a certain personal integrity. But meeting Fourth-World families obliges us to see dignity as an absolute bound to life itself. On the edge of destruction, there is radical debate about all that separates humans. Unable to justify himself, the weakest man demands benevolent words to manifest this absolute dignity. With Daniel, a Fourth-World man, and some others, we advance between events and reflections in search of brotherly humanity.

Joseph Yacoub - The notion of dignity in international law. What status for the Christian minority in Iraq?

The notion of dignity is consecrated by international law. It is upon this notion that the foundation of the different categories of human rights rests. It is an intrinsic, universal, intangible and inalienable value, whatever the circumstances. It is also a rule of law which demands the respect due to the human person independently of any determination. This demand, of course, is valid for individuals, but also for particular communities such as nations, ethnic groups, tribes, minorities and indigenous peoples, for what is true for the human person is also valid for communities. As individual dignity and autonomy exist for each person, so also exist collective dignity and autonomy for each people, in other words liberty of choice free of exterior pressure. Peoples have cultural traditions, a material and immaterial heritage, and social and religious customs that must be respected in all circumstances, independently of any reductive prism, prejudice or desire for hegemony. This is expressed by a diversity of approaches, and can be stated differently as is the case with ancient and modern Iraq (Mesopotamia). What, therefore, is the status of Christians in Iraq today ?

Olivier Pétré-Grenouilleau - Good, evil, and the Massacre of the Innocents: Cardinal Lavigerie and the rhetoric of his African crusade (1888)

In 1888, after the encyclical In Plurimis by Pope Leo XIII, Cardinal Lavigerie launches his African crusade. The analysis of three speeches pronounced by him that same year helps to enter the abolitionist rhetoric destined to place the Catholic Church at the head of a combat that had formerly been led primarily by protestants. In them, the theme of emergency is used to justify a sort of new holy war which, together with whiffs of anti-islamism, recalls certain traits of current reasoning on the right of interference.

Pierre Gire - For a metaphysics of human dignity

In the history of Western thought, the question of human dignity appears to be inseparable from the affirmation of reason in man. This position is not simple, because it refers dignity to an anthropology determined by rationality. It is no doubt possible, by putting the being, life and spirit in perspective, to elaborate the main lines of a metaphysics of dignity where the rational dimension of man can be encompassed. This metaphysics of dignity has fundamental ethical implications which must be honoured to respect, protect and support the humanity in every human.

Christian Pian - A theology of God's presence in the world for considering the demands of social ethics : discover or rediscover H. Richard Niebuhr

A theologian and a novel ethicist, H. Richard Neibuhr (1894-1962) exemplifies what a theologically based ethic could be, to reflect on the world, find one's place within it, and try to act there as a Christian and in the Church in our societies. Among the major themes of H. Richard Niebuhr's work, there are three which are particularly central and in direct relation : what the theologian called a Christian theory of history, faith in a sovereign God seen from the point of view of radical monotheism, and an ethic of the resulting answer. The base of the theology of the presence of God in the world of Niebuhr rests on this triangular structure in which the first function of a theory of history is to secure the link between faith and ethics. It is with this background that the impacts of the theological thought of the author in his approach to social ethics are evoked.