The Pope has called female genital mutilation a crime that must be stopped

The Pope has called female genital mutilation a crime that must be stopped

PAPAL OASIS (AP) – Pope Francis on Sunday called female genital mutilation a “crime” and said the fight for women’s rights, equality and opportunities must continue for the good of society.

“How come we can’t stop the tragedy of infibulation of young girls in the world today?” he asked, referring to the ritual cutting of girls’ external genitalia. “It is terrible that today there is a practice that humanity is unable to stop. It is a crime. It is a criminal act.”

Francis was responding to a question about the right of women to take home from Bahrain. He was asked if he supported protests in Iran sparked by the arrest of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, who was detained by morality police for allegedly violating the country’s strict dress code.

Francis did not respond directly, but went on to decry the way in many cultures around the world women are treated as second-class citizens or worse, and said: “We have to keep fighting this because women are a gift.”

“God … created two equals: man and woman,” the Pope said.

Francis has done more than any other pope to give women more decision-making roles in the church. He has appointed several women to key management positions, including No. 2 in the Vatican State Administration, as well as several other senior leadership positions. He has also named women — laywomen and religious sisters — as advisers to Vatican offices dominated by male clergy, including the elector of bishops.

“I have seen in the Vatican that when a woman goes to work, everything gets better,” he said.

He said society would do well to follow suit, noting that his native Argentina remains a “macho” culture, but such attitudes are “killing” humanity.

“A society that excludes women from public life is a society that impoverishes,” she said.

Francis was also asked about new cases of clerical sexual abuse and cover-ups that have emerged in the French church, evidence that the bishop was allowed to retire quietly in 2021 despite being found guilty by a church inquiry of the spiritual abuse of two young men. men, forcing them to undress during confession. More victims have reportedly come forward since the scandal was first reported.

Francis did not respond to a question about whether such ecclesiastical sanctions should be made public in the future. But he insisted the church was on the right track, even revisiting past poor canonical investigations and redoing them. He said the church is committed to not hiding abuse, even if there are still some in the church “who still don’t see clearly, who don’t share” the need for justice.

“It’s a process that we do with courage, and not all of us have courage,” he said. “Sometimes there is a temptation to make compromises. we are enslaved in our sins.”

But he said the goal was to gain more clarity, noting that he had recently received two reports from victims lamenting their abuse and how their cases were “covered up and then not well judged by the church.”

“I immediately said. “Re-examine this, re-judge.” So we are now revisiting old judgments that were not well made,” he said. “We are doing what we can. We are all guilty.”


Associated Press religion coverage is supported through AP’s partnership with The Conversation US, with funding from the Lilly Endowment Inc. AP is solely responsible for this content.

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