Pope Francis lamented that the mass media have an “ambiguous” role in combatting violence against women.
The Pope said this on November 9 as he addressed 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.
“Violence against women is a poisonous weed that plagues our society and must be pulled up from its roots,” the Pope said. “And these roots are cultural and mental, growing in the soil of prejudice, of possession, of injustice.”
The Holy Father has spoken on many occasions about this societal plague, calling out the tendency to reduce women to their bodies, and use them as a “possession.”
“Unfortunately, the mass media still play an ambiguous role in this,” the Pope observed. “On the one hand, they favor respect and the promotion of women; but on the other, they continually transmit messages imprinted with hedonism and consumerism, whose models, both male and female, obey the criteria of success, self-assertion, competition, the power to attract others and dominate them.”
Love doesn’t demand prisoners
“But where there is domination there is abuse,” the Pope said. “It is not love that demands prisoners.”
God wants us free and living according to our full dignity, Francis assured. We need relationships based on mutual respect and recognition.
“All kinds of conditioning must be countered with educational action that, starting from the family, places the person, with his or her dignity, at the center,” he said.
The Holy Father said that the duty to give a voice to women who are victimized in any way falls to everyone. And he observed:
Salvation came into the world from the heart and flesh of a woman; from how we treat women, in all their dimensions, our degree of humanity is revealed.