Vatican document criticises plastic surgery on women

Church must open its door to ‘full collaboration’ with skills of women

A new Vatican document says women aged between 20 and 50 rarely go to Mass, opt for a religious wedding less often and in general express “a certain diffidence toward the formative abilities of religious men”. Photograph: Tony Gentile/Reuters

A new Vatican document says women aged between 20 and 50 rarely go to Mass, opt for a religious wedding less often and in general express “a certain diffidence toward the formative abilities of religious men”. Photograph: Tony Gentile/Reuters

 

A new Vatican document has described the effects of elective plastic surgery on women as “a burqa made of flesh.” It continued “one woman gave us this harsh and incisive description.”

Where women were concerned, it said “plastic surgery that is not medico-therapeutic can be aggressive toward the feminine identity, showing a refusal of the body in as much as it is a refusal of the ‘season’ that is being lived out.”

Such plastic surgery can “ ‘amputate’ the expressive possibilities of the human face which are so connected to the empathic abilities,” it says.

If the body is the place of truth of the feminine self,....it is also the place of the ‘betrayal’ of this truth,” it says. “The body expresses the being of a person, more than an aesthetic dimension closed in on itself.”

The outline working document has been prepared by the Vatican’s Council for Culture which meets in plenary session to discuss ‘Women’s Cultures: Equality and Difference’, from February 4th to 7th.

It acknowledges that women “want space in the public sphere equal to that which has been given to men” and that “many countries in the world have even modified their juridical systems to recognise the equilibrium and sharing of responsibilities between women and their husbands, between mothers and fathers.”

It also says “the historical experience of the feminine condition has taught women that neutrality is in reality a form of despotism, and makes us less human”.

It writes that “women have sincere and painful questions” and that “we seek to listen to their multifaceted discomfort with a rather obsolete feminine iconography in which they struggle to see and recognise themselves”.

In the West, it says, “women between 20 and 50 years old rarely go to Mass, opt for a religious wedding less often, few follow a religious vocation, and in general they express a certain diffidence toward the formative abilities of religious men.”

Today “women no longer spend their afternoons reciting the rosary or taking part in religious devotions, they often work, sometimes as top managers engaged as much as, if not more than, their male counterparts, and frequently they also have to care for their families”.

“They are women who, perhaps with great difficulty, have reached places of prestige within society and the workplace, but have no corresponding decisional role nor responsibility within ecclesial communities.”

It states that “if, as Pope Francis says, women have a central role in Christianity, this role must find a counterpart also in the ordinary life of the Church.”

A realistic objective “could be that of opening the doors of the Church to women so that they can offer their contribution in terms of skills and also sensitivity, intuition, passion, dedication, in full collaboration and integration with the male component,” it says.

It asks “what are the characteristic ways in which women are present in different societies and cultures, from which we can take inspiration for a pastoral renewal so that women may play a more active part in the life of the Church?”