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Pope decries domestic abuse as ‘almost satanic’

Pope Francis has condemned domestic abuse against women as ‘almost satanic’ during an appearance on TV on Sunday.

“The problem is that, for me, it is almost satanic because it is taking advantage of a person who cannot defend herself,” the Holy Father said.

“It is humiliating. Very humiliating.”

The program, recorded in the pope’s residence, featured a televised ‘dialogue’ and interview with four people facing serious challenges in their lives.

He spoke with a woman named Giovanna who said she had escaped from a violent home with her four children.

The Pope added that women who suffered abuse had not lost their dignity.

“I see dignity in you because if you didn’t have dignity, you wouldn’t be here,” he told Giovanna. “Look at the Blessed Mother and stay with that image of courage.”

He said she was already showing her kids’ strength and said the real problem was finding ‘a concrete way out: a job, a home and this does not depend only on you,’ encouraging her to reach out for help and not be afraid of this moment of crisis, made worse by the pandemic.

He told Giovanna he could see the suffering on her face, but also her dignity, ‘because you would not be here’ if she had none left. ‘You are on a journey, the danger is to give up’ and to see no way out, but ‘you are still on your feet like Our Lady before the cross.’

When reflecting on the dignity of women who have experienced abuse, Pope Francis said the image that comes to mind is Michelangelo’s Pietà with ‘Our Lady humiliated before her child: naked, crucified and a miscreant in everyone’s eyes.’

“But she has not lost her dignity and to look at this image during difficult times like yours of humiliation and where you feel you’ve lost your dignity, looking at that image gives us strength,” he said.

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