Pope Francis: Honor the Dignity of Women for a Better World in 2020

Pope Francis celebrates Mass for Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God Jan. 1, 2020. Credit: Pablo Esparza/CNA.

Pope Francis began the new year with a call for the dignity of women to be honored -- not exploited for profit and pornography -- in 2020.

“How many times is the woman's body sacrificed on the profane altars of advertising, profit, pornography, exploited as a surface to be used,” Pope Francis said in St. Peter’s Basilica Jan. 1.

“If we want a better world, which is a house of peace and not a war zone, we have to care for the dignity of every woman,” the pope said.

Pope Francis said that our level of humanity can be judged by how we treat a woman’s body, “the most noble flesh in the world” and “the culmination of creation.”

“Women are sources of life. Yet they are continually offended, beaten, raped, coaxed into prostitution and to kill the life that occurs in their womb. Any violence inflicted on women is a profanation of God, born of a woman,” the pope said.


In his homily for the Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God, Pope Francis said that women must be honored and respected.

He said that today’s world humiliates motherhood by only valuing economic productivity, when women embody the “purpose of creation itself -- the generation and custody of life.”

“When women can transmit their gifts, the world finds itself more united and more peaceful. Therefore, an achievement for women is an achievement for all humanity,” Pope Francis said.

“So let's start the year in the sign of Our Lady, a woman who has woven the humanity of God,” he urged.

Pope Francis said that the Church rediscovers her unity in Mary as “the enemy of human nature, the devil, instead tries to divide it, putting differences, ideologies, and partisan thoughts and camps in the foreground.”

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The pope asked everyone in St. Peter’s Basilica to pray together acclaiming “Holy Mother of God” three times.

“We children today invoke the Mother of God, who unites us as a believing people. O Mother, generate hope in us, bring unity to us. Woman of salvation, we entrust you this year, keep it in your heart,” he said.


Courtney Mares is a Rome Correspondent for Catholic News Agency. A graduate of Harvard University, she has reported from news bureaus on three continents and was awarded the Gardner Fellowship for her work with North Korean refugees.