Pope: Violence against women is 'a blasphemy against God'

ROME, Annette Reuther (dpa)- Pope Francis has described violence against women as "a blasphemy against God" in his New Year's Day homily in St Peter's Basilica in Rome.
"If we want to weave humanity into this our time, we need to start again from the woman," the pontiff said on Wednesday.

Women are "sources of life," he said. "Yet they are continually insulted, beaten, raped, forced to prostitute themselves and to suppress the life they bear in the womb."
"Every form of violence inflicted upon a woman is a blasphemy against God, who was born of a woman. Humanity's salvation came forth from the body of a woman: We can understand our degree of humanity by how we treat a woman’s body."
Women's bodies are sacrificed on "the profane altars of advertising, of profiteering, of pornography, exploited like a canvas to be used."
They must be freed from consumerism, the pope said. "[T]hey must be respected and honoured. Theirs is the most noble flesh in the world."
"In our day, too, motherhood is demeaned, because the only growth that interests us is economic growth."
Many mothers have to flee to secure a better future for their children, but they are considered superfluous by "people with full stomachs but hearts empty of love," Francis said.
The Catholic Church traditionally celebrates the Solemnity of Mary, the Mother of God on New Year's Day.
Francis went on to address the wider role of women in the Church and society.
"Women are givers and mediators of peace and should be fully included in decision-making processes," he said.
"Because when women can share their gifts, the world finds itself more united, more peaceful.
"Hence, every step forward for women is a step forward for humanity as a whole."
Many lay Catholics have been calling for women to have a greater role in the Church for decades. Pope Francis has rejected the idea of women becoming Catholic priests, however. Hopes that women could take on the more junior role of deacon - who assists the priest but does not perform the Holy Sacraments - were also dampened after a Vatican commission came to no conclusion on this point.

Saturday, January 4th 2020
Annette Reuther (dpa)

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