Natural Law and International Law: Benedict XVI's New Year's Message
Jan-1-08 11:54 am
Pope Benedict XVI
As is tradition, Pope Benedict XVI issues his World Day of Peace Message this New Year's Day. Entitled, "The Human Family, A Community of Peace," the Pontiff focused on the concept of the family as a basis for building peace and justice at all levels of human interaction. One element of his message was his discussion of natural law and its connection to international law. Benedict submits:
In short: International law is necessary to keep the power of states in check. International law does exist, but to be effective, international law must be based on natural law. And, Benedict argues, natural law principles are reflected in international legal instruments and in universally recognized international organizations ("universally recognized forms of authority."
At a time in human existence when it is easy to question whether there are any moral principles that are common to humanity, it is moving to hear a message of hope-- hope that human beings can apprehend, even if only through a glass darkly, such principles-- and hope that such moral principles have indeed managed to find their way, even if imperfectly, into international legal instruments and international organizations.
About the editor:
Commentary and analysis at the intersection of international law and politics.
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