VATICAN CITY (CNS): The battle of the sexes and, particularly, the subjugation of women are the result of Original Sin and not of God’s original design for creation, said the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
Attempts to advance the cause of women by seeing men as enemies to be defeated or by claiming that no real difference exists between male and female have had “lethal effects”, particularly on the family, the congregation said.
The congregation’s “Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on the Collaboration of Men and Women in the Church and in the World” was released on July 31.
Rather than compete for power or ignore the God-given differences between men and women, “the Church, enlightened by faith in Jesus Christ, speaks instead of active collaboration between the sexes”, said the document.
The letter was signed by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who is prefect of the congregation, and by Archbishop Angelo Amato, the congregation’s secretary, after approval by Pope John Paul II.
In an interview broadcast on July 31, Archbishop Amato told Vatican Radio that the letter was meant to offer a Christian criticism of two current trends – that of emphasising “a radical rivalry between the sexes” and that of trying “to cancel the differences between the sexes”.
From a Christian perspective, he said, men and women were created with differences precisely in order to enter into a partnership and a relationship of self-giving that would bring new life into the world.