Pope Francis answers questions from journalists aboard the flight from Juba, South Sudan, to Rome Feb. 5, 2023. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

‘Equal opportunities for women are key to a better world’- Pope Francis

Pope Francis on Wednesday decried violence and prejudice against women and said granting equal pay and opportunities could help create a more peaceful world, as a new survey of Catholic women showed that many felt the Church discriminated against them.

In a book preface published by the Vatican News website on International Women’s Day, Francis stressed the differences between men and women but called for “equality in diversity” on “a playing field open to all players.”

“I like to think that if women could enjoy full equality of opportunity, they could contribute substantially to the necessary change towards a world of peace, inclusion, solidarity and integral sustainability,” the pope said.

Francis has condemned discrimination against women in the past but, like his predecessors, he has ruled out a female priesthood. The Catholic Church teaches that only men can become priests because Jesus chose men as his apostles.

Francis has appointed more women to managerial roles since he became pope, and said last year that “every time a woman is given a position (of responsibility) in the Vatican, things improve.”

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