THE VATICAN called on women to safeguard life and human rights so as to ensure the future of humankind. The call was made in line with the celebration in March of World Women’s Month.

Describing life “in its most vulnerable stage,” Pope Benedict XVI urged women during the international congress, “Life, Family, Development: The Role of Women in the Promotion of Human Rights,” last March 23, to embrace a “new feminism” with the power to “transform culture, imbuing it with a decisive respect.”

“The recognition and appreciation of God’s plan for women in the transmission of life and the nurturing of children is a constructive step in this direction,” the Pope said during the conference, sponsored by the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, with the cooperation of the World Women’s Alliance for Life and Family, the World Union of Catholic Women’s Organizations and other associations.

The Pope also stressed the influence of women in society and how they could bring change to it. According to the Pope, the women must embrace the opportunity to uphold the dignity of life through their involvement in education and active participation in political and civic aspects of the Christian community.

No to women’s Magna Carta

Meanwhile, bishops stood pat against the passage of the proposed Magna Carta for Women in Congress, saying that the bill contains provisions that hinder women’s “natural calling for marriage and motherhood” and legalize prostitution and abortion.

Cebu Archbishop Ricardo Cardinal Vidal and other bishops stressed that the bill remains inconsistent with moral law and the Constitution and have urged the Congress to remove all anti-life and anti-family provisions in the bill.

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“The inclusion of anti-life and anti-family provisions in the bill threatens to make the otherwise commendable piece of legislation unduly controversial and unacceptable on ethical and constitutional grounds. These provisions must be expunged if the Magna Carta for Women is truly to advance the dignity and well-being of Filipino women,” the bishops said in a statement. R.G. Padilla

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