Human rights, the first of the three special weeks, is a problem for many because of the tendency to separate the truths of religion from the often harsh realities of secular life. Many Catholics would prefer that religion concern itself only with prayer, good deeds and the spiritual life. When the Church talks economics or gets involved in social issues, Catholics tend to feel uncomfortable. It's helpful to remember that the society into which Jesus was born, a theocracy, was very different from the modern society. Jewish society was seen as both religious and secular, there was no separating the two. That is not our reality today. We do not separate our bodies from our souls, and neither do we want to compartmentalize or privatize our religious life, closing off our secular life. So during this week devoted to the dignity of our humanity, let us reflect on the declaration of human rights.
He mentions that there are few that remember the role of the Church in drawing up the articles of the declaration. Reading the U.N. document today, one can easily see the similarity in the wording of the articles and Catholic social teaching that found its way into the declaration, both directly and indirectly, Those that drew up the declaration, the columnist says, were familiar with Pope Leo 13's Rerum Novarum (1891) and Pius 11's Quardragesimo Anno (1931).