“Today, motherhood is demeaned, because the only growth which interests us is economic growth”, Pope Francis has denounced.
– Francis, the Pope of Women
The message of the pontiff’s was contained in a letter made public May 25 to Italian journalist Nina Fabrizio, the author of the book Francesco, il Papa delle Donne (“Francis, the Pope of Women”), which was published in February.
In her book, Fabrizio explores the Pope’s relationship with the ‘world of women’, and looks into his interactions with women including heads of state, nuns, laypeople, mothers, doctors, journalists, ex-prostitutes, victims of the Dirty War in Argentina and even an opera singer.
Fabrizio’s book also explores key texts and speeches of the pontiff’s on ‘women’s issues’, from femicide to abortion.
The picture that emerges throughout Francesco, il Papa delle Donne is one of a pope who, from his time in Argentina, has always been concerned with the promotion of the dignity of women in the Church and beyond.
– Mothers are often judged by people “with full stomachs” but “hearts empty of love”
When she presented her book to the Pope, Fabrizio gave the pontiff a letter and copies of articles she had written on women going through pregnancy in the coronavirus pandemic.
In his letter, Francis thanked the author for those reports and reflections, and said that the information helped him better understand not only “this delicate moment of the pandemic” but also “the feeling of women waiting to give birth”.
“The question of every mother resounds in the heart: ‘What world will my child live in?’”, the Pope wrote to Fabrizio.
“Let us pray for them, so that the Lord may give them the courage to accompany their children with the trust that it will certainly be a different world, but it will always be a world loved very much by the Lord”.
In his letter, Francis also recalled the many migrant and refugee women around the world whose situation of displacement is only compounded by the dangers and uncertainties of COVID-19.
“There are mothers who risk arduous journeys to desperately try to give a better future to their offspring”, the Pope noted, deploring that mothers are often judged by people “with full stomachs” but “hearts empty of love”.
Concluding his message, the Pope added his customary: “Pray for me”.
Speaking to CNA after news of the Pope’s letter was made public, Fabrizio celebrated the fact that Francis denounced the reality of motherhood being “demeaned” in the world today, since that was not a point she touched on in her book.
The pontiff’s message in his letter was also “somewhat strong”, the journalist added.
At the height of the coronavirus crisis, the Pope spoke out in his daily Mass in the chapel of his residence, the Casa Santa Marta, on behalf of the “restless” and “worried” women who were expecting during the pandemic, and asked for special prayers for them.
Those are precisely the kinds of sentiments Fabrizio is grateful for, but even more than the Pope’s comforting words, the journalist told TelePace Roma in early March that she appreciates most of all the Pope’s practical gestures to women.
Gestures, Fabrizio said, such as the Francis’ meeting with sex slaves to World War II-era Japanese soldiers during his 2014 trip to South Korea, or his appointing women to high-level positions in the Vatican Museums or the Vatican Secretary of State, among other places.
Those appointments – and his strong speaking on issues affecting women – are evidence of the “great value and great dignity” the Pope sees in women, Fabrizio said.