Pope Benedict XVI denounced a "macho mentality" leading to violence and discrimination against women in some cultures, while noting that "natural differences" exist between the sexes.
"There exist places and cultures where the woman is the target of discrimination, where she is underestimated for the single reason that she is a woman,'' Pope Benedict said during a meeting with secular participants of a pontifical council, in remarks that also touched on the importance of marriage and the family.
He urged Christians to engage "to promote a culture that gives a woman the dignity she is due, in law and in deed''.
But the Pontiff also said it was critical not to erase sexual differences created by God. I'm glad he clarified this. I think too many people confuse 'equal' with 'identical' and tend to forget the physical differences between the sexes.
"Woman must be able to contribute to the construction of society by emphasising her 'feminine genius','' Pope Benedict said.