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  • Pope Francis condemned Wednesday violence against women during his first mass of 2020.

    Pope Francis condemned Wednesday violence against women during his first mass of 2020. | Photo: Reuters

Published 2 January 2020

The Argentinian pope told worshippers at the Vatican that a society could be measured by its treatment of women.

Pope Francis condemned Wednesday violence against women during his first mass of 2020, on the day that the Catholic Church commemorates the Solemnity of Mary, the Holy Mother of God.

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“Women are a source of life. However, they are continually offended, beaten, raped, forced to prostitute themselves and to eliminate the life they carry in the womb. All violence inflicted on women is a desecration of God, born of a woman,” the pontiff said, adding  that “humanity’s salvation came from the body of a woman and how we treat the body of women provides an understanding of our level of humanity.”

The Argentinian pope told worshippers at the Vatican that a society could be measured by its treatment of women. He said the female figure should be liberated from consumerism as it was “the noblest flesh” that conceived and gave birth to love.

Although his preach stemmed from good intentions, the Pope reproduced a common trope valuing women as mothers, as opposed to the trope of the prostitute, and this opposition has a well-known role in perpetuating gender violence.

The New Year’s Mass coincided with the 53rd World Peace Day, which this year has as its slogan “Peace as a path of hope: dialogue, reconciliation, and ecological conversion.”

To this end, Francis urged women to be afforded more decision-making roles. “A conquest for women is a conquest for all humanity,” he told the thousands of faithful who came to listen to the address.

Looking ahead to 2020, he called on people to overcome their differences and to take care of each other to build “a better world that is a house of peace and not a battleground.”

After the New Year’s Mass, the pope left the Vatican basilica and headed to the apostolic palace to pray the Angelus with the faithful who had gathered in St. Peter’s Square.

“To all, believers and non-believers, I encourage you not to give up on the effort to build a world of peace, together, day after day.”

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