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Pope Francis speaks with reporters on the flight back to Rome from Bahrain yesterday (CNS/Maurizio Brambatti pool via Reuters)

A society that does not give women the same rights and opportunities as men will become impoverished, Pope Francis said at the end of a four-day visit to Bahrain. Source: CNS.

“Women are a gift,” he said. After God made man, he didn’t create “a lapdog for him to play with. No, he created two who are equal, a man and a woman.”

“All the rights of women stem from this equality,” he said, and a society that is not able to make room for women “does not move forward”.

The Pope was speaking yesterday to reporters in response to their questions after visiting the Muslim-majority nation of Bahrain in the Persian Gulf.

The aim of the trip, he said, was to experience moments of encounter and dialogue with Muslims, Christians and Catholics. The majority of all residents are foreigners from many different countries, cultures and religions.

As a result of these moments of encounter and talks, the Pope said, he learned something new, that this small nation boasts “a culture open to everyone” with “room for everyone”, including women, who, for example, all have the right to work.

The Pope was then asked about the protests in Iran, which were sparked by young women and men fighting for more freedoms and reforms in the Shiite-led country, and whether he supported their efforts of demanding fundamental human rights.

“The fight for rights for women is an ongoing battle because, in some places, women have achieved rights equal to men” and, elsewhere, they lag behind.

Another violation that must be stopped, he said, is female genital mutilation. “How is it that in the world today we cannot stop” this practice? “It is a crime, a criminal act.”


Pope: Chauvinism kills human progress; fight for equal rights must go on (By Carol Glatz, CNS)


Pope calls female genital mutilation a crime that must stop (Crux)