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(Issued by Women for Faith & Family on August 26, 1994)

Women for Faith and Family takes the opportunity of "Women's Equality Day" to denounce in the strongest possible terms the recent public allegation by State Department official Faith Mitchell that the Vatican's disagreement with the US over the Cairo conference "has to do with the fact that the conference is really calling for a new role for women, calling for girls' education and improving the status of women."

This outrageous allegation flies in the face of Pope John Paul II's long record of concern for women, from placing women's education on the agenda of the 1981 UN Conference on Least Developed Countries, to the issuance of Mulieris Dignitatem (On the Dignity of Women), to his August request for "every legitimate initiative which promotes the genuine emancipation of women."

That the Church which for centuries has led the world in providing "girls' education" could be seriously accused of the opposite would be laughable were it not for the shocking ignorance or outright mendacity which is behind the authority of Mitchell's State Department statement.

This crude, bigoted attempt -- and others like it from other Clinton appointees -- to vilify the Vatican rather than engage in informed and respectful debate appears to be a last-ditch effort to deflect public attention from the fundamental flaws in the UN's final draft document for Cairo.

The UN document is hostile to the notion of the superiority of marriage-based families, is wholly indifferent to the moral and legal status of unborn human beings and is in direct contradiction to its own predecessor, the 1984 international agreement of Mexico City which stated that "in no case should abortion be promoted as a method of family planning."

Women for Faith and Family stands with the Holy Father's assessment of the Cairo document:

"The vision of sexuality which inspires this document is individualistic. Marriage is ignored, as if it were something of the past. An institution as natural, universal, and fundamental as the family cannot be manipulated without causing serious damage to the fabric and stability of society."

WFF also stands with the May 28, 1994 letter to President Clinton signed by Cardinals Hickey, Bernardin, Law, O'Connor, Bevilacqua, and Mahony and by Archbishop William H. Keeler, President, National Conference of Catholic Bishops (NCCB):

" ... The United States is doing the world no favor," the letter states, "by exporting a false ideology which claims that any type of union, permanent or temporary, is as good as the traditional family. There is mounting evidence that being a part of an intact, traditional family or an extended family helps children grow into emotionally well-adjusted and productive citizens. While it is true that many single parents do an admirable job of raising children, nonetheless we owe it to the children of our country and of the world to encourage stable, intact two-parent families."

Obsessive individualism is the root cause of the breakdown of America's social fabric and America's families. Let's not export it.

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