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Vatican diplomat emphasizes importance of just laws

Archbishop also censures corruption within the judiciary

October 11, 2016

The rule of law ought not solely to focus on social harmony and order, but should be used to help lift up the poor and marginalized, said a Vatican diplomat speaking at the United Nations.

"The rule of law is meant to fulfill a role beyond maintaining harmony and order; it is also supposed to be an exemplary teacher," said Archbishop Bernardito Auza, the Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the U.N. according to Vatican Radio.

"In this case, it ought to be an expression of society's capacity to lift the poor and the excluded, the infirm and the imprisoned," said the Filipino prelate at a UN General Assembly session on the rule of law.

Archbishop Auza also described how laws can be used by the corrupt and on how corrupt legal systems threaten the fabric of society.

"A captive judiciary is corrupted, to use Pope Francis' expression, because political factors are illegitimately weighed on the scales of justice; a captive judiciary is corrupting because its decisions, which lack the legitimacy of an objective and impartial application of law, infect the body of law with unsound principles, thereby jeopardizing justice and the common good," Archbishop Auza said.

"With a corrupt and corrupting judiciary, the rule of law ultimately gives way to a rule of force."

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