Pope Francis: conscientious objection must be recognized as a human right

Sean Murphy*

In an interview conducted on 9 May by Guillame Goubert & Sébatien Maillard on behalf of La Croix, Pope Francis asserted that secular states must recognize conscientious objection as a human right. (Translation by Stephan Gigacz)

In a secular setting, how should Catholics defend their concerns on societal issues such as euthanasia or same-sex marriage?

Pope Francis: It is up to Parliament to discuss, argue, explain, reason [these issues]. That is how a society grows.

However, once a law has been adopted, the state must also respect [people’s] consciences. The right to conscientious objection must be recognized within each legal structure because it is a human right. Including for a government official, who is a human person. The state must also take criticism into account. That would be a genuine form of laicity.

You cannot sweep aside the arguments of Catholics by simply telling them that they “speak like a priest.” No, they base themselves on the kind of Christian thinking that France has so remarkably developed. [Full Text]

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