The Catechism condemns the disregard of human dignity in any form

From Pope St. John Paul II’s encyclical Veritatis Splendor (1993):

The Catechism of the Catholic Church affirms that “in economic matters, respect for human dignity requires the practice of the virtue of temperance, to moderate our attachment to the goods of this world; of the virtue of justice, to preserve our neighbour’s rights and to render what is his or her due; and of solidarity, following the Golden Rule and in keeping with the generosity of the Lord, who ‘though he was rich, yet for your sake . . . became poor, so that by his poverty you might become rich’ (2 Cor 8:9)”.157 The Catechism goes on to present a series of kinds of behaviour and actions contrary to human dignity: theft, deliberate retention of goods lent or objects lost, business fraud (cf. Dt 25:13-16), unjust wages (cf. Dt 24:14-15), forcing up prices by trading on the ignorance or hardship of another (cf. Am 8:4-6), the misappropriation and private use of the corporate property of an enterprise, work badly done, tax fraud, forgery of cheques and invoices, excessive expenses, waste, etc.158 It continues: “The seventh commandment prohibits actions or enterprises which for any reason — selfish or ideological, commercial or totalitarian — lead to the enslavement of human beings, disregard for their personal dignity, buying or selling or exchanging them like merchandise. Reducing persons by violence to use-value or a source of profit is a sin against their dignity as persons and their fundamental rights. Saint Paul set a Christian master right about treating his Christian slave ‘no longer as a slave but . . . as a brother . . . in the Lord’ (Philem 16)”.159

157 Catechism of the Catholic Church, No. 2407.
158 Cf. ibid., Nos. 2408-2413.
159 Ibid., No. 2414.

Veritatis Splendor 100

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s