The president of the Pontifical Council for the Family, Cardinal Ennio Antonelli, has highlighted the importance of a mother in the home caring for her family and has suggested economic compensation or tax reductions for those women who choose to do this.
Speaking on the theme of “Family and Business, Vital Cells of Society,” at a meeting of the Catholic Union of Businessmen and Executives (UCID) in Rome last week, the cardinal noted that many of the societal problems today, especially those concerning children and youth, are a result of the fact that both parents work outside of the home.
He observed, “The self-realization sought by the woman in a job, in a career, in social success has as a cost the renouncement of the marriage and children.”
The Italian edition of L’Osservatore Romano reported that during his address the cardinal stressed that “domestic work deserves economic recognition” and that “numerous families deserve special reductions and financial facilities,” pointing to the examples of France and Germany where “families with three children pay €2,000 [$2,720] or €3,000 [$4,080] less” in taxes.
Cardinal Antonelli also addressed the problem of the effects of a missing father figure on children, and cited statistics from the U.S. which he said illustrate a trend in many parts of the Western world to single parent families.
“Ninety percent of homeless people, 72 percent of adolescent suicides, 60 percent of rapists and 85 percent of youth in jail grew up without a father present,” the Cardinal said.
“The traditional family,” Cardinal Antonelli continued, “is even being considered oppressive injustice, and matrimony and maternity are viewed as things from which a woman must liberate herself.”
The Cardinal pointed out that while raising a family and seeking a career outside the home are not incompatible for women, support services and a “variety of opportunities in professional work: part-time work, telework, flexibility of hours and vacations” are crucial to a successful outcome.
To maintain a family, he concluded, “you need reasonable economic security,” and the essence of this security should be provided through “mechanisms of protection.”