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Why violence against women is a Synod issue

Pope Francis prays with the assembled cardinals and bishops on the 19th day of the synod on the family at the Vatican, Oct. 23. (Roy Lagarde/CBCPNews)

VATICAN City, Rome, Oct. 24, 2015 – Embellishing a known saying, it can be said that women hold up half of the family.

This insight is something the Church hierarchy is acknowledging, especially during this year’s Synod on the Family where several women were able to give personal testimonies on issues like violence against women, polygamy, among others which invariably affect the family.

In a press briefing on the Synod on Wednesday, Tonga Bishop Cardinal Soane Patita Paini Mafi said: “As I say for our side of the world, [violence against women] is becoming an issue and it’s good to see women now they are speaking out. Lots of NGOs are very strongly bringing this up, especially the violence, so the Church of course has always been clear and is always for the dignity of men and women.”

Gender sensitization

According to the prelate, who is the youngest member of the College of Cardinals, there is progress in terms of addressing the pressing issue of degradation of women and the Church has to do its part, alongside other groups like NGOs.

“Because as I say, we are in a global world..So it’s good to see [that] there are steps coming forward…The Church has go together because [this issue] affects the family as I said before. The changes in the very structure and family values has its genesis [in different factors] including violence against women so the Church has to address [it],” Mafi added.

Bombay Archbishop Oswald Cardinal Gracias at a press briefing on the Synod at the Holy See Press Office (Photo: R. Lagarde)

In the same press briefing, Bombay Archbishop Oswald Cardinal Gracias revealed how his archdiocese has adopted as official policy a document on women’s rights and gender sensitization drawn up by Catholic women leaders in India.

“Now the question…was of giving equal rights to women and recognizing their responsibilities and their role in society and in the Church. What was special – I would think that many conferences must have studied this – perhaps was [we asked] the women themeselves to make the first draft which we took from,” explained Gracias, head of the Conference of Catholic Bishops of India.

‘Sons and daughters of God’

Meanwhile Los Angeles José Horacio Gomez stressed the importance of
respect for women “obviously with equal rights and equal responsibilities and obligations in following the teachings of the Catholic Church.”

“I think it is important that to talk about it (the issue of violence against women) and to address those specific problems coming from the fact that God created all of us equal and that we are all children of God, sons and daughters of God.”

The Synod of Bishops on the Family, which gathered 270 prelates and 18 couples from around the world to discuss the present state of the family, is set to conclude on Oct. 25 with a Mass at St. Peter’s Square. (Nirva’ana Ella Delacruz / CBCP News)

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