Pope Francis to the Italian Biblical Association: "Men and women, spread dignity to your neighbors"
The dignity of the human person, of men and women. The dignity of being God‘s children. Not a dignity to negotiate but, if anything, to be spread like an "infection". Pope Francis spoke on this topic a few days ago in the Vatican to the members of the Italian Biblical Association, on the occasion of the National Bible Week, focused on the theme "Let us be human beings… male and female: declinations of the man-woman polarity in the Scriptures."
"You have studied some aspects of the relationship between man and woman in various fundamental biblical texts," said the Pope in his message. He then highlighted how "St. John Paul II dedicated a memorable cycle of catecheses to this issue during the first part of his pontificate." According to Francis "Reflecting on how we were created, formed in the image and semblance of the Creator, and the differences with other creatures and with all creation is essential" because "it helps us to understand the dignity that all of us, men and women, have, a dignity that has its roots in the same Creator. It has always struck me—he added—that our dignity is indeed that of being children of God." Francis also spoke about "the possibility that this dignity, conferred to us by God, can be degraded. To put it in terms of football, man is capable of scoring his ‘own goals.‘ This happens when we negotiate our dignity, when we embrace idolatry, when we make room in our hearts for the experience of idols." A question also derives from the fact that God gave us the dignity of being His children, the Pope explained: "How can I share this dignity, so that it develops into positive reciprocity? How can I ensure that the other feels worthy? How can I ‘spread‘ dignity? When someone is disdainful, segregates, discriminates, he or she does not spread dignity, but rather the contrary. It is good for us to ask ourselves often: how can I assume my dignity? How can I make it grow? And it is also good for us to interrogate ourselves—he concluded—to discover if and when we do not spread dignity to our neighbor."