Beginning our discussion of the rights of man, we see that every man has the right to life, to bodily integrity and the means which are suitable for the proper development of life; these are primarily food, clothing, shelter, rest, medical care and, finally, the necessary social services.
Indeed, since the whole reason for the existence of civil authorities is the regulation of the common good. It is necessary also that governments make efforts to see that insurance systems are made available to the citizens so that, in case of misfortune or increased family responsibilities, no person will be without the necessary means to maintain a decent standard of living.
Considerations of justice and equity, however, can at times demand that those involved in civil governments give more attention to the less fortunate members of the community, since they are less able to defend their rights and to assert their legitimate claims. The above four quotes are taken from parts of Pope John the XIII’s encyclical letter Pacem in Terris.
Our government has exercised its option of doing too little for the millions of uninsured and underinsured people for too long. It’s time for the government to exercise an option to help some of these most vulnerable of our people as Pope John hoped we would many years ago.
Father Dennis Martin