By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
6/13/2014 (1 year ago)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
Speaking at a four-day summit on sexual violence in conflict, which was co-hosted by film actor Angelina Jolie and Foreign Secretary William Hague, Cardinal Vincent Nichols declared that such violence in warfare as a "deep wound on the body of humanity." He called for its complete eradication.
LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The cardinal said sexual violence was not the "random act of men" who had "lost all sense of decency" but a "deliberate and ordered tactic of aggression.
"It is to the shame of our world that the systematic use of sexual violation is still today, in some places, considered as a duty of soldiers, an order that they must carry out."
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Even worse, the cardinal said, the "public tolerance" of sexual violence coerces the victims to feel shame -- rather than perpetrators.
"What terrible collusion is indicated by that fact!" he said, adding that the acceptance of sexual violence "contributes significantly to the degradation of women.
"No declaration of war . excuses those who fight from their obligation to observe fundamental moral principles," he said.
"It is to the shame of our world that the systematic use of sexual violation is still today, in some places, considered as a duty of soldiers, an order that they must carry out.
"What terrible collusion is indicated by that fact! The public tolerance of sexual violence leads to the inversion of human decency; it reinforces other forms of oppression and undermines the morals which uphold the rights of the human person," the cardinal said.
The cardinal outlined a Catholic response to this ongoing atrocity, perpetrated daily throughout the world - "The dignity of every person arises from within their nature and that nature is most clearly understood as deriving from its Creator, from the mystery of God. Here the light of faith sharpens our rational understanding, it deepens our sense of who we are and the dignity which is properly ours.
"And in this God-given dignity, the right to life itself and the right to bodily integrity are fundamental, as is the right to religious freedom. The violation of that bodily integrity in sexual violence is therefore a most fundamental denial of human dignity and a most gross breach of a person's human rights. It is a crime which ought to be eradicated with all vigor."
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