When Pope Benedict XVI told reporters on the papal plane heading to the U.S. this morning that he intended to highlight the moral foundations of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, he was referring to a seminal document of the United Nations and one of its most enduring. The U.N. passed and proclaimed the declaration on Dec. 10, 1948.
The 30-article Universal Declaration was the first time in history so many nations reached an agreement on the rights and dignity of every human being in the world. In John Thavis’ story, Pope Benedict said that the declaration represents values that are nonnegotiable and that are the basis of social institutions. He looks to renew that 60-year-old consensus of nations.Article 1 begins, “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.” Check out all 30 at the United Nations Web site. It’s published in English, Spanish and many other languages the nations of the U.N. share.