Pope Francis used his New Years message on Saturday to make a bugle call for an end to violence against women, saying it was an insult to God.
Francis, 85, celebrated mass in St. Peter’s Basilica on the day the Roman Catholic Church marks both the solemnity of St. Mary, Mother of God, as well as her annual World Day of Peace, Reuters reports.
Francis appeared to be in good shape on Saturday following an unexplained New Years Eve incident where he attended a service but at the last minute did not chair it as he had planned.
At the start of Mass on Saturday, he walked the entire length of the basilica’s central aisle, unlike on Friday evening, when he came out of a side entrance near the altar and looked aside.
Francis suffers from sciatica which causes pain in his legs, and sometimes a flare up prevents him from standing for long periods of time.
Francis woven his New Year’s homily around the themes of motherhood and women – saying that they are the ones who hold the threads of life together – and used it to make one of his strongest calls for this. day to end the violence against them.
“And since mothers give birth and women keep the world (together), let’s all do more to promote mothers and protect women,” Francis said.
“How much violence is directed against women! Enough! To hurt a woman is to insult God, who from a woman has taken our humanity. “
On an Italian TV show last month, Francis told a woman who had been beaten by her ex-husband that men who commit violence against women are doing something that is “almost satanic”.
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic nearly two years ago, Francis has spoken out repeatedly against domestic violence, which has increased in many countries since lockdowns left many women trapped with their aggressors.
Public attendance at Mass has been lower than in recent years due to COVID-related restrictions. Italy, which surrounds Vatican City, reported a record 144,243 coronavirus-related cases on Friday and recently imposed new measures such as being required to wear masks outside.
In the text of his message for the World Day of Peace, released last month, Francis said nations should divert money spent on armaments to invest in education, and denounced the increase in military costs in the country. detriment of social services.
The annual peace message is sent to heads of state and international organizations, and the Pope delivers a signed copy to leaders who pay him official visits to the Vatican in the coming year.