Monday, 15 June 2009

Familiaris Consortio revisited 9

(The Dignity of Woman, 22 - 24.)
Both marriage and the family, whose relationships consist in welcoming, respecting and promoting each one of its members, underline the equal dignity and responsibility of women with men. This equality is confirmed by the word of God. God manifests the dignity of woman in the highest form by assuming human flesh from the Virgin Mary, calling her the new Eve and presenting her as the model of redeemed woman. The way in which Christ related with women in the Gospel tells us of the special esteem in which he held them. And St Paul teaches that, in Christ, there is neither male nor female - we are one in Him.

With respect of the family and the home, social and cultural attitudes have coloured the role of women. However we judge social and cultural attitudes and gender issues, the value of women's maternal and family role should be recognised, especially in the context of their public and professional roles, if we wish wish society and culture to be truly and fully human. For a real integration of women's roles within society we need a "Theology of Work" in order to shed light upon the relationship between work and the family, and therefore upon the original and irreplaceable meaning of work in the home and in child rearing. It needs to be clear, at the very root, that all people, in every sphere of life, work with equal rights and responsibilities.
Even so, women must never be compelled to work outside the home nor be made to do any work other than looking after their own family. Any mentality which doesn't recognise this must be overcome. This means that men should give total respect for the dignity of women and that society should foster conditions which favour their work in the home. The Church too must actively promote the equality of women in the fullness of their feminine identity.
Even today that mentality persists which considers the person as a thing, an object, an economic entity; women are its first victims. Slavery, pornography, prostitution and all forms of discrimination are to be overcome definitively, so that the image of God be respected in every human being.

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