The Pope’s condemnations of violence against women

Ritratt: Kat J, Unsplash

Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

Pope Francis has consistently spoken out against violence, and has particularly condemned violence against women.

Last New Year’s Eve, footage of the pope slapping the hand of a woman who yanked his arm as he was greeting pilgrims, causing him pain, had gone viral. During his Angelus address the following day, the Pope went off-script to apologise for setting a bad example, admitting that he too lost his patience on occasion. But he also seized the opportunity to condemn the use of violence against women.

The pope also apologised to the woman in person in a brief meeting a week later, it emerged earlier this month.

A selection of the Pope’s statements on violence against women

  • “Violence cannot be seen as ‘normal’. Violence against women cannot be treated as ‘normal’, maintaining a culture of machismo blind to the leading role that women play in our communities.” (said during a visit to Puerto Maldonado, Peru in January 2018)
  •  “I want to invite you to combat a scourge that affects our American continent: the numerous cases where women are killed. And the many situations of violence that are kept quiet behind so many walls. I ask you to fight against this source of suffering by calling for legislation and a culture that repudiates every  form of violence.” (said during a Marian celebration in Trujillo, Peru in January 2018)
  • “Unacceptable customs still need to be eliminated. I think particularly of the shameful ill-treatment to which women are sometimes subjected, domestic violence and various forms of enslavement which, rather than a show of masculine power, are craven acts of cowardice.” (from Amoris Laetitia, published on March 2016)
  • “It terrifies me to think of the cruelty that disfigured your face, offending your dignity as a woman and as a mother… for this reason, I ask your forgiveness, taking upon myself the burden of a humanity that doesn’t know how to ask forgiveness of those who, in the prevailing indifference, live daily offended, trampled upon and marginalised.” (from a 2018 letter to Filomena Lamberti, whose husband threw acid over her face while she was asleep)
  • In an interview with Mexican journalist Valentina Alazraki in 2019, Pope Francis was told the story of Rocío, a 27-year-old woman killed in front of her son after inadvertently hearing a group of men discussing drug deals, and was presented with the blouse she was wearing when she was killed. An emotional pope, holding her blouse, said that “more than a blouse this is a flag, a flag of the suffering of so many women who give life and pass without a name.”