July 18, 2011
Along with the rights to freedom of speech, food and water, and various others, we need to be cognizant of the human right to tenderness. The future Pope John Paul spoke of this right in his 1960 book Love and Responsibility, but in the intervening 51 years it has yet to gain much notice.
Every person needs to experience tenderness on an ongoing basis. It is essential to human flourishing. In a marriage, tenderness is essential and each person has the right to receive tenderness from one's partner and the responsibility to give it. But tenderness is also essential outside the marriage bond. The sick, the dying, the rejected, those suffering emotional traumas, the single, the widowed and divorced, single parents, children and infants all need tenderness.