Pope John Paul II on the Rights of the Child

See also

The Family
the Vital Cell of Society

Teaching on Human Rights

Address on the Rights of the Child (Excerpt)


Saturday, 13 January 1979

(Bolded sections added for emphasis by CCGI)

The Holy See thinks that we can also speak of the rights of the child from the moment of conception, and particularly of the right to life, for experience shows more and more that the child needs special protection, de facto and de jure, even before his birth.

Stress could thus be laid on the right of the child to be born in a real family, for it is essential that he should benefit from the beginning from the joint contribution of the father and the mother, united in an indissoluble marriage.

The child must also be reared, educated, in his family, the parents remaining "primarily and principally responsible" for his education, a role which "is of such importance that it is almost impossible to provide an adequate substitute" (Gravissimum Educationis, 3). That is made necessary by the atmosphere of affection and of moral and material security that the psychology of the child requires. It should be added that procreation founds this natural right, which is also "the gravest obligation" (Ibid.). And even the existence of wider family ties, with brothers and sisters, with grandparents, and other close relatives, is an important element—which tends to be neglected today—for the child's harmonious balance.

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