A protest against ongoing sexual violence in Manipur state, India  (AFP or licensors)

By Joseph Tulloch

Nov 10 2023

Pope Francis sends a message to organizers of a campaign in Italy to combat violence against women, and calls for education that “places human dignity at the centre.”

Domestic violence is “a poisonous weed that plagues our society, and must be torn out at the roots.”

Pope Francis offered that reflection in a message sent on Thursday to organizers of a campaign promoted by Radio1Rai, an Italian state radio channel, and Cadmi D.I.Re, an Italian non-profit that helps women victims of abuse. 

Immediate action

Radio1Rai and Cadmi.D.I.Re have recently launched a joint campaign entitled: “A long wave to combat male violence against women.”

In his message, Pope Francis underscored that “it is the responsibility of each of us to give a voice to our voiceless sisters.”

“Let us not remain indifferent!” he said. “We must act now, at all levels, with determination, urgency, and courage.”

The role of the media

The Pope then suggested that mass media plays a “still ambiguous” role in this regard.

On the one hand, he noted, it does “promote the respect and empowerment of women.”

On the other, however, it continuously promotes “success, self-assertion, competition, and the power to attract others and dominate them.”

However, the Pope said, “where there is domination, there is abuse.”

Education in human dignity

In the face of the “scourge” of gender-based violence, Pope Francis said, there is an urgent need to “rediscover forms of just and balanced relationships based on mutual respect.”

What is needed, then, is “educational action,” which “places the human person, and its dignity, at the center.” – Vatican News