The new Vatican document on the collaboration of men and women is "a timely reminder of both the equality of men and women and also of the distinctive difference between them with which God endowed them in creation,” said Bishop Wilton D. Gregory, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
The "Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on the Collaboration of Men and Women in the Church and in the World" was released Saturday in Rome by the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith,
"This relatively brief document is filled with concepts that are essential for our society today to take seriously and to live by," said Bishop Gregory in a statement released yesterday.
The document reminds its readers of the fundamental equality between men and women as human persons. It also draws attention to trends in contemporary thinking that question the fundamental nature of the distinction between men and women or seek to diminish it.
The Letter presents the Church's perspective by examining the biblical understanding of the human person. It also states that men and women should not see their difference "as a source of discord to be overcome by denial or eradication, but rather as the possibility for collaboration, to be cultivated with mutual respect for their difference."
The USCCB underlined that the Letter notes that the Genesis narrative of the creation of woman contains a spousal dimension that reveals how woman exists "for the other." It also notes that "women preserve the deep intuition of the goodness in their lives of those actions which elicit life, and contribute to the growth and protection of the other."
"Without prejudice to the advancement of women's rights in society and the family," the Letter states that "the proper condition of the male-female relationship cannot be a kind of mistrustful and defensive opposition. Their relationship needs to be lived in peace and in the happiness of shared love."
The Letter states that while “social policies…must combat all unjust sexual discrimination,” the promotion of equal dignity “must be harmonized with attentive recognition of the difference and reciprocity between the sexes.”