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Vatican marks 30 years of Charter on Family Rights with presentation on women's dignity

2013-09-26

Back in 1983, Pope John Paul II authorized the Vatican to prepare a document that addressed the role of the family in modern society. After months of work, they came up with the Charter of the Rights of the Family.   


Three decades later, the Pontifical Council for the Family is getting ready to mark the Charters 30th anniversary, with a special presentation on how the document impacts women today. 

DR. HELEN ALVARÉ 
Professor of Family, Religion and Law (USA) 
"The Church has a credible witness in our charity, a credible witness in our words and a real balance between what women are actually demanding, between what they actually want, and between what women, children and the poor actually need.” 

The charter addresses individual rights like the freedom for a man and women to have a family through marriage, and to have children. But it also calls on societies to respect certain rights, like the protection of life from conception to natural death, and to provide economic and political stability. 

But according to the presentation, the rights of the family are currently being undermined by political movements worldwide to make women "child free.” Those movements present their policies as the key to education and work access, but ignore what women actually want. 

DR. HELEN ALVARÉ 
Professor of Family, Religion and Law (USA) 
"They wish to take care of their children and to do justice at home. They also wish to make their contribution in the public square, to see complementarity there, as well as home. The current agenda by leading feminist organizations does not respect women's wishes.” 

Instead, Alvaré argues that world governments have been focusing too much on reproductive issues, rather than helping out women and their families who choose to have children. That includes providing them with options to care for their children, while earning a living with dignity. They called out politicians who are not being held accountable for providing for the rights of families. 

DR. HELEN ALVARÉ 
Professor of Family, Religion and Law (USA) 
"That takes a brave position. That the family is indeed the most desirable place, the safest place, the place of actual greater freedom for women, and children, and men.” 

The presentation also argued that the poor are the ones who suffer most from policies that do not support the rights of families. And that ultimately, it's world economies that will pay the price, if families continue falling apart.

The Pontifical Council for the Family will celebrate the Charter's 30th anniversary at the end of October with a Plenary Assembly, ending with the Pilgrimage of the Families to Rome. 


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