Holy See to UN: Education Must Respect Values

Jane Adolphe Addresses Commission on Status of Women

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NEW YORK, MARCH 1, 2011 (Zenit.org).- If education does not respect religious and cultural values, then it runs the risk of becoming a "tool of control," says a Vatican representative.



Jane Adolphe, speaking on behalf of Archbishop Francis Chullikatt, permanent observer of the Holy See to the United Nations, said this Monday when addressing the 55th session of the Commission on the Status of Women on Monday.

Adolphe is an associate professor at the Ave Maria School of Law in Naples, Florida, and a member of the Holy See delegation to the U.N. commission.

Taking up the theme of "access and participation of women and girls in education, training, science and technology, including for the promotion of women's equal access to full employment and decent work," Adolphe noted that first and foremost, education "must be firmly rooted in a profound respect for human dignity and with full respect for religious and cultural values."

"If this is absent," she added, "then education is no longer a means of authentic enlightenment but becomes a tool of control by those who administer it."

She insisted that education needs to be guided by "values rooted in the natural law common to humanity".

Role of the mother

Furthermore, Adolphe continued, "the true advancement of women requires that labor should be structured in such a way that women do not have to pay for their advancement by abandoning what is specific to them and at the expense of the family, in which women and mothers have an irreplaceable role."

Regarding the topics of discrimination and violence against women, the professor reiterated the Church's insistence on legislation that protects girls and women "from all forms of violence and exploitation, from conception onwards, including abortion, especially sex-selective abortion, female infanticide."

She took up the issue of human trafficking and insisted that "states need to augment concrete and concerted efforts to work together to put an end to this heinous crime by addressing adequately the demand side of trafficking in persons by strengthening laws against prostitution of children and adults, child pornography and sexual exploitation."

"The authentic advancement of women begins with full respect for the dignity and worth of all persons," she stated. "Such respect must take into account the entire life cycle -- from conception to natural death -- and states have the responsibility to ensure this in their national" laws.

The commission, which is dedicated exclusively to gender equality and the advancement of women, is currently meeting at U.N. headquarters in New York through Friday.

The Permanent Observer Mission of the Holy See held a side event last week on the occasion of the session of the U.N. commission. The panel discussion on "Health and Education: Advancing the Wellbeing of Women and Children" was co-sponsored by the Permanent Mission of St. Lucia to the United Nations, along with the Path to Peace Foundation.