DAILY CATHOLIC     TUESDAY     October 20, 1998     vol. 9, no. 205

from a CATHOLIC perspective

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          VATICAN CITY (CWNews.com) - The Holy See intervened last Wednesday at the United Nations in New York during a discussion on the promotion of the woman, as begun at the Fourth World Conference which had taken place in Beijing in September 1995.

          Helene Lukas, a member of the Holy See's delegation, recalled the participation of the Holy See in the consensus which had approved the Beijing Platform for Action, in spite of some reservations on certain sections of the document. For the Vatican, the Action plan is in "narrow convergence" with the social doctrines of the Church, particularly on the section of document which focuses "on the needs of poor woman, on ending violence against the woman, on access of woman to employment, land, capital, and technology, and to a strategy of promotion of woman in education." "Too many women are still poor, impotent, and victims of violence," said Lukas who also counted more than 538 million illiterate women currently in the world.

          In the field of health, the Vatican delegation recognized that the last thirty years saw "a great improvement" in the access of women to medical care, insisting however on "an always decreasing number" of women who die during pregnancy or childbirth. AIDS is also a wound which touches women particularly, she said, including "one million women" in the last year. Lukas also noted that more than 8 million orphans less than 15 years old now suffer from AIDS.

          Faced with all these "injustices" endured by women, the Holy See does not cease promoting any action aimed at "improving the status of woman," continued Lukas. Citing "the primary strategy," she requested "educational institutions, teaching religious congregations, and Catholic medical institutions" to focus on girls and women, "particularly the poorest."

          "The Church is completely conscious of the importance" of continuing the work started in Beijing, concluded the representative from the Holy See. "It encourages people, society as a whole, and political authorities of the whole world to make a real contribution to the promotion of the status of women" and "makes it integral with any authentic international initiative to improve the situation of women."

Articles provided through Catholic World News Service.
CWN is not affiliated with the Daily CATHOLIC but provides this service via e-mail to the Daily CATHOLIC Monday through Friday.

October 20, 1998       volume 9, no. 205


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