(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis appealed for equal pay for equal work today, calling compensation disparity a “pure scandal”. The Holy Father made his remarks during the course of his catechetical reflection on marriage and family at his weekly General Audience in St. Peter’s Square on Wednesday.
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In discussing the causes of family dissolution, Pope Francis said, “The Christian seed of radical equality between men and women must bring new fruits,” in our time. “The witness of the social dignity of marriage shall become persuasive,” he continued, “precisely by this way: the way of witness that attracts.” The Holy Father went on to say, “For this reason, as Christians, we must become more demanding in this regard: for example, [by] supporting with decision the right to equal retribution for equal work; disparity is a pure scandal.”
“At the same time,” said Pope Francis, “we must recognize the maternity of women and the paternity of men as a perennially valid treasure, for the benefit of children.” The Holy Father went on to praise Christian families’ virtue of hospitality, which is, “of crucial importance today,” especially, he said, “in situations of poverty, degradation and domestic violence.”
It was a theme to which Pope Francis returned in the English-language synthesis read out after the main catechesis in Italian.
Beginning with the crisis of marriage in many societies, Pope Francis said, “Today, society is confronted with fewer marriages. In many countries, separation of couples is increasing, while the number of children is decreasing.” He went on to say, “These broken marriage bonds affect the young most of all, as they come to view marriage as something temporary. Perhaps there is a fear of failure which prevents men and women from trusting in Christ’s promise of grace in marriage and in the family.” Nevertheless, “In truth we know that almost every man and woman desires a secure and lasting relationship, a stable marriage and a happy family.”
“The most effective witness to the blessing of marriage is the good life of Christian spouses and their families,” he said. “The consecration of their love by God is the font of their peace and fidelity. To make these blessings more evident to the world, the equality enjoyed by the spouses must produce new fruit – equal opportunities in the workplace; a new valuing of motherhood and fatherhood; and a greater appreciation for the openness of families to those most in need.”
“Let us not be afraid to invite Jesus and Mary to the marriage feast,” said Pope Francis, “for Christian spouses marry not only for themselves but for the good of the community and for all of society.”