Last week, Pope Francis spoke to members of an Italian judiciary council about their responsibility to protect the man’s dignity.

The Pope noted that it is important for public authorities and those in the judiciary field to use their office to “… give stability and resistance to the foundation of human society through the recovery of fundamental values.”

 “Justice is not done in the abstract” the Pope noted, “but always considers man in his true value…” 

He further stated that emphasis should be placed on human rights “. . . which constitutes the fundamental nucleus of the recognition of essential human dignity.”  Recognizing human dignity is an essential element in the practice of family law.  It is a prevailing value that applies to all lawyers and judges who deal with society’s most difficult problems.

I have recognized that when man’s higher qualities are considered, it is possible to help him solve his problems.  I have also noticed that when I treat a fellow human being in the legal system with dignity, that person is most likely to respond in kind.  In the absence of a consideration of the dignity of man, human beings can revert to a primal animalistic attitude and ethos.  This is why recognizing human dignity in a family law context is so important.

by Patrick Gaffney

by Patrick Gaffney