Pope Francis is echoing his predecessors’ affirmation that life ethics and social ethics are intrinsically linked, such that a society cannot claim to promote justice and peace while at the same time devaluing life in its weakest stages.
The Pope said this in a message Friday to the Second International Conference on Women, which was considering the theme “Women and the Post-2015 Development Agenda: The Challenges of the Sustainable Development Goals.”
The Holy Father noted the many challenges and difficulties women face across the globe, from discrimination in the workplace or domestic violence in the West, to the “heavy burdens” carried by women in the developing world.
He also referred to the problem of sex-selective abortion.
The Pope went on to reiterate: “Issues relating to life are intrinsically connected to social questions. When we defend the right to life, we do so in order that each life – from conception to its natural end – may be a dignified life, one free from the scourge of hunger and poverty, of violence and persecution. Pope Benedict XVI, in his encyclical Caritas in Veritate, highlighted how the Church ‘forcefully maintains this link between life ethics and social ethics, fully aware that a society lacks solid foundations when, on the one hand, it asserts values such as the dignity of the person, justice and peace, but then, on the other hand, radically acts to the contrary by allowing or tolerating a variety of ways in which human life is devalued and violated, especially where it is weak or marginalized.'”
Pope Francis repeated that society stands “in such great need” of the feminine genius. He encouraged the conference participants to “manifest the countless God-given gifts which women have to offer, encouraging others to promote sensitivity, understanding and dialogue in settling conflicts big and small, in healing wounds, in nurturing all life at every level of society, and in embodying the mercy and tenderness which bring reconciliation and unity to our world.”
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