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Ioannes Paulus PP. II
Ecclesia in Africa

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  • CHAPTER IV
    • II. The Family
      • 82
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Dignity and role of man and woman

82. The dignity of man and woman derives from the fact that when God created man, "in the image of God he created him, male and female he created them" (Gen 1:27). Both man and woman are created "in the image of God", that is, endowed with intelligence and will and therefore with freedom. The account of our first parents' sin confirms this (cf. Gen 3). The Psalmist sings of man's incomparable dignity: "Yet you have made him little less than a god; with glory and honour you crowned him, gave him power over the works of your hand, put all things under his feet" (Ps 8:6-7).

Having both been created in the image of God, man and woman, although different, are essentially equal from the point of view of their humanity. "From the very beginning, both are persons, unlike the other living beings in the world about them. The woman is another ?I' in a common humanity",159 and each is a help for the other (cf. Gen 2:18-25).

"In creating the human race ?male and female', God gives man and woman an equal personal dignity, endowing them with inalienable rights and responsibilities proper to the human person".160 The Synod deplored those African customs and practices "which deprive women of their rights and the respect due to them" 161 and asked the Church on the Continent to make every effort to foster the safeguarding of these rights.




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