Vatican document slams cosmetic surgery for women

A new Vatican document has expressed a negative view of elective cosmetic surgery for women.

An “outline document”, produced by a panel of female consultants to the Pontifical Council for Culture, comes ahead of an upcoming assembly devoted to women’s issues.

The document, titled Women’s Cultures: Equality and Difference, warns that procedures such as facelifts and tummy tucks can become a form of “aggression” that threatens female identity.

Cosmetic procedures motivated by vanity are “one of the many manipulations of the body that explore its limits with respect to the concept of identity” in the modern world, the document says.

Surgical alterations in appearance, the document states, can “amputate the expressive possibilities of the human face, which are so connected to empathic abilities”.

Such changes “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”.

One woman is quoted who said: “Plastic surgery is like a burqa made of flesh.”

The paper presents an analysis of challenges facing women today, both in society and in the Church.

It concedes that despite abundant rhetoric on the importance of women, to date they have largely been excluded from leadership roles in the Church.

“Why, with their great presence, have women had so little impact on the Church’s structures?” it asks.

“In pastoral praxis, why are we giving women only those tasks of a somewhat rigid scheme, the fruit of ideological and ancestral left-overs?”

The document acknowledges that women work as top managers in other walks of life, but often have no corresponding decision-making role or responsibility within their Christian communities.

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

The document stresses that “there’s no discussion here of women priests, which according to statistics is not something that women want”.

But it does highlight the fact that the image of womanhood that the Church has does not correspond to reality.

“Today women no longer spend their afternoons reciting the rosary or taking part in religious devotions,” it states.


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