There has been a lot of discussion recently about the Bush Doctrine—and the overwhelming focus is on the protection of human dignity, human freedom, and religious freedom; powerful marks for a great power to assume and very congruent with those of another great power in the world, the Catholic Church.
Pope Benedict reinforced these principles in his speech to the United Nations, and reminds us of how important it is that we Catholics—who are voting in the United States for leaders of our city, county, and country—remember that being congruent with the basic principles of our faith and our nation, should be a major ingredient in the decision process that leads to our final vote.
“The principle of “responsibility to protect” was considered by the ancient ius gentium as the foundation of every action taken by those in government with regard to the governed: at the time when the concept of national sovereign States was first developing, the Dominican Friar Francisco de Vitoria, rightly considered as a precursor of the idea of the United Nations, described this responsibility as an aspect of natural reason shared by all nations, and the result of an international order whose task it was to regulate relations between peoples.”
The responsibility to protect the innocent from the aggressor is a Catholic principle woven into its traditional support for babies in the womb, just war, and capital punishment, and is reflected in the 1948 United Nations Declaration of Human Rights, and the 2001 United Nations report, The Responsibility to Protect, which states as two basic principles:
“A. State sovereignty implies responsibility, and the primary responsibility for the protection of its people lies with the state itself.
“B. Where a population is suffering serious harm, as a result of internal war, insurgency, repression or state failure, and the state in question is unwilling or unable to halt or avert it, the principle of non-intervention yields to the international responsibility to protect.” (p. xi)