“Both Buddhism and Christianity have taught that women and men are equal in dignity, and both have played an important role in the advancement of women,” said the Vatican’s department of interreligious dialogue in a letter released Saturday.
In its message titled “Buddhists and Christians: Promoting the Dignity and Equal Rights of Women and Girls,” the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue offered its “warm greetings and prayerful good wishes” for the celebration of the Buddhist feast of Vesakh.
“The teachings of Jesus and the Buddha promote the dignity of women,” the text states, adding that “Buddhist and Christian women have made significant contributions to our religious traditions and to society as a whole.”
The message also denounces widespread mistreatment of women and girls around the world, underscoring the need to put a stop to all such abuse, while also warning against the errors of gender theory.
“In our day, violence against women and young girls is a global problem, affecting as much as a third of the world’s female population,” the letter states. “Women and young girls are especially vulnerable to human trafficking and modern slavery, and these forms of brutality negatively and often irreversibly affect their health.”
The text — signed by Bishop Miguel Ángel Ayuso Guixot — also highlighted the need for extending educational efforts aimed at women around the world as well as equal pay and equal rights in other areas.
To counter such injustices, it reads, “it is vital to provide young women and girls access to education, to guarantee them equal pay for equal work, to ensure the recognition of their inheritance and property rights, to overcome their under-representation in politics, government and decision-making, to address the issue of dowries, and so forth.”
In the area of interreligious dialogue itself, the letter states, “more women need to have a place at the table, where they are still outnumbered by men.”
For their part, those in authority and positions of leadership “have a special responsibility to encourage their followers to uphold the dignity of women and young girls, and to defend their fundamental human rights.
“We are likewise called to alert our brothers and sisters to the dangers inherent within gender ideology, which denies the differences and the reciprocity of men and women,” the letter warns.
The message also underscores the importance of protecting “the institution of marriage, motherhood and family life” while promoting the dignity and equality of women and young girls.
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