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Pope: greater role for women in society, but preserve key role in family life

January 27, 2014

Pope Francis expressed his support for “a more capillary and incisive female presence in the Church” during a January 25 audience with members of the Italian Women’s Center.

In his address the Pope observed that the perception of woman’s role—in the family, in society, and in the Church—has changed significantly in recent years. While welcoming the greater participation of women in public life, he remarked that a woman’s influence is “indispensable within the domain of the family, which for Christians is not simply a private space, but rather that 'domestic Church' whose health and prosperity is a condition for the health and prosperity of the Church of society itself.”

A key question, the Pope said, is how the influence of women in public life can be increased “while at the same time maintaining their presence and preferential and entirely special attention in and for the family?” The answer to that question, he said, should be sought through prayer and meditation. He encouraged study of the Church’s teaching documents on the role of women, particularly Blessed John Paul II's 1988 apostolic letter Mulieris Dignitatem and World Day for Peace message from 1995, “Women: teachers of peace.”


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