Rights and Responsibilities
People have a fundamental right to life and to those things necessary for human decency, such as food, shelter, health care, education and employment. People have a right to participate in decisions that affect their lives. Corresponding to these rights are duties and responsibilities to respect the rights of others and to work for the common good. When people lack the basic necessities to live a life of dignity, their fundamental rights are being denied.
“In the world where some speak mostly of ‘rights’ and others mostly of ‘responsibilities’ the Catholic tradition teaches that human dignity can be protected and a healthy community can be achieved only if human rights are protected and responsibilities are met” (Sharing Catholic Social Teaching: Challenges and Directions, USCCB, 1998).