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Vatican Says Feminism, Same-Sex Marriage Endanger  Family - 2004-07-31

A new Vatican document says differences between women and men must be recognized and that the feminist fight for gender equality is undermining the traditional family. The document also reaffirms the Catholic Church's stance against same-sex marriages.

The Vatican's new document states that from the first moment of their creation man and woman are different and will remain so for eternity. The document on the role of women is addressed to bishops of the Roman Catholic Church.

Titled "On the Collaboration of Men and Women in the Church in the World," the document criticizes efforts to feminists to eliminate gender differences. It says obscuring the difference of the duality of the sexes calls into question the mother-father structure of the traditional family.

Women have sought greater power, the document says, often because of positions of insubordination towards men. The Vatican believes the family has been the one to suffer most because of this confrontation between the sexes.

The document says differences exist between men and women and while women must be respected and have the same rights as men at work, they should not be penalized or suffer financially if they decide to be housewives and mothers.

Their role as mothers or housewives must be given the right value, the document states, adding that women who choose to work should be given appropriate schedules so that they do not have to give up on a family or suffer unnecessary stress to keep up both their jobs and their families.

The document also expresses its displeasure with the way society is accepting gay marriage and makes clear that homosexuality and heterosexuality are not the same thing. It reaffirms the Catholic Church's stance against same-sex unions and its opposition to women in the priesthood.