7.3.7 Review and discussion of Unit 7

Back to 7.3.6

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You are now at the end of Unit 7.  As at the end of earlier units, this page outlines two ways of reviewing what you have learned in this unit.

First open Unit 7 Contents to remind yourself of what has been covered.

A.        Assessing the ‘learning outcomes’

First, look again at the learning outcomes for this unit (given in 7.1.1). As reproduced below, they show where in the unit each of them was most directly addressed.

Learning outcomes for Unit 7

By the end of this unit, you will be able

  • to explain how the terminology of dignity, rights and duties can be used coherently and clearly (7.1)
  • to outline the main developments in the 1960s in CST on human rights, and discuss whether they should be described as a ‘Catholic human rights revolution’ (7.2)
  • to assess critically some main objections to using the language of human rights at all (7.3.2-7.3.5)
  • to set out some ways in which people can take action against abuses of human dignity and rights (7.3.1 and 7.3.6)

Of these four, the most important is really the second, because this is to do with your study of CST itself in this unit.

Can you do those things?  If you are not sure, you could look through the relevant parts of the unit again.

B.       Discussing your study

As with earlier units, how you can best discuss with others what you have encountered in this unit will depend on your context of study:

  • If you are studying formally, you may be expected to participate in a seminar on what you have read for Unit 7.  One student might be asked to prepare a discussion paper.
  • If you are studying informally in a parish, other Christian community or workplace, try to arrange an opportunity for discussion.
  • If you are doing private study, you may like to post your reactions to it at Comments on Unit 7.  If you do, I’ll respond.

Whichever of the above applies to you, your study will have provoked questions.  Like ‘reflections’, ‘exercises’ have given opportunities to consider some of these.  There have been four of the latter in this unit:

  • in 7.1.3, on whether you could distinguish ‘freedom rights’ and ‘benefit rights’
  • in 7.1.4, on how the topic of duties and rights had come up in earlier units
  • also in 7.1.4, on your own experience in relation to dignity, duties and rights
  • in 7.3.1, on how to summarize the argument we find in CST for human rights

Here are some questions for discussion:

1.  Why was the issue of whether there is a human right to religious freedom so controversial at Vatican II?

2.  What are some implications of the human right to religious freedom in relation to:

  • public worship?
  • places of worship – should Christians campaign to ensure members of other faiths have suitable places of worship?
  • participation in public debate?

3.  From all you have learned in this unit, is it right to see the new emphases and teaching on human rights in the 1960s documents Pacem in Terris and Dignitatis Humanae as a ‘revolution’, or is this an overstatement?

4.  We have briefly considered four lines of argument against using the idea of ‘human rights’ at all:

  • that appeal to rights is inherently selfish
  • that it is inherently individualistic
  • that ‘rights inflation’ has made talk of human rights fairly meaningless
  • that human rights inevitably conflict.

How satisfactory were the brief responses to these objections outlined in 7.3.27.3.3, 7.3.4 and 7.3.5?  Which of those lines of argument seems to you to have the most going for it?

5.  Bringing to mind one or more particular contexts that you have some knowledge about (e.g. your own country, or another country you know well), name some human rights that appear to you to be generally upheld, and others that you are aware are widely violated. 

In your own direct experience and that of people you know, have people’s dignity been respected and their rights upheld?

 

6.  What do you see as the best ways to sustain respect for rights on one hand, and to overcome violations on the other?

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End of Unit 7

Go to COMMENTS ON UNIT 7

 

Go to Module A Outline

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