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11/6/2012 10:10:00 AM
Family is key ally in fighting crime, Vatican official tells Interpol
Archbishop Dominique Mamberti
Archbishop Dominique Mamberti
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY — The absolute frontline in the prevention of crime is the family, a top Vatican official told members of Interpol, the international police organization.

To prevent crime and violence, societies must educate citizens about their own dignity and the value of each human life, promote solidarity and instill a sense of justice in society -- all values that can be learned earliest and best in the family, said Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, the Vatican's secretary for relations with states.

The archbishop spoke to members of Interpol holding their general assembly Nov. 5-8 in Rome.

The 190 country-members of Interpol not only coordinate crime-fighting efforts, but also work together on crime prevention programs.

An increase of crime, particularly brutally violent crime, around the world calls for even greater preventative actions, Archbishop Mamberti said.

Prevention requires "the removal of factors which give rise to and nourish situations of injustice. In this field a primary and preventative role belongs to education inspired by respect for human life in all circumstances," he said.

Only with the recognition of the value of each life, he said, will it be "possible to create a strong social fabric united in its fundamental values and able to resist the provocation of extreme violence."

"In this context, the most important place in which human beings are formed is the family. There, children experience the value of their own transcendent dignity, as they are accepted gratuitously on the basis of the stable and reciprocal love of their parents," he said.

In the family, people have their first experiences of "justice and forgiveness, which cements family relationships and acts as a foundation for the correct insertion into social life," Archbishop Mamberti said.

The archbishop also insisted that the respect for human dignity at the basis of good social order also must be extended to those who have disturbed the social order.

"The criminal, no matter how grave the crimes he committed, always remains a human person, endowed with rights and obligations," he said.

"The state must take steps to prevent and repress criminal activity and compensate for the disorder caused by criminal action," the archbishop said, "but doing this, it always must abstain from mistreatment and torture, and assure the safeguarding of the fundamental rights that every person enjoys."

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