Pope Francis called for the end of unequal pay between men and women yesterday referring to it as “pure scandal” that women should be paid less than men for doing the same work.

The pontiff announced that he fully backed equal pay for men and women in line with the Catholic Church’s teachings on workers’ rights.

The statement came as part of his catechetical reflection yesterday on the importance of marriage in society. Commenting on the radical decline in marriage rates around the world, the Pope asked that people think on how “the Christian seed of radical equality between men and women must bring new fruits.” He continued to say that Christians should be actively seeking this “radical equality” and that “supporting the right of equal pay for equal work” was a good place to start.

“Why should it be taken for granted that women must earn less than men?... For this reason, as Christians, we must become more demanding in this regard: for example, [by] supporting with decision the right to equal retribution for equal work; disparity is a pure scandal,” Francis said in his General Audience remarks, held every Wednesday.

With regards to the decline in marriage Francis said, “Today, society is confronted with fewer marriages. In many countries, separation of couples is increasing, while the number of children is decreasing.”

“These broken marriage bonds affect the young most of all, as they come to view marriage as something temporary. Perhaps there is a fear of failure which prevents men and women from trusting in Christ’s promise of grace in marriage and in the family.”

Pope Francis also defended women’s rights groups and criticized the claims that they are to blame for the decline in marriage rates. “Many consider that the change occurring in these last decades may have been set in motion by women’s emancipation,” he said, before calling these claims “a form of chauvinism that always wants to control the woman.”

The Church’s support for equal pay is not a new trend. Two decades ago, Pope John Paul II wrote “a letter to women” in which he highlighted the urgent need for gender equality and advocated “equal pay for equal work, protection for working mothers, fairness in career advancements, equality of spouses with regard to family rights.”

H/T: The Washington Post.