Pope Francis has appealed for equal pay for equal work, particularly drawing attention to the wage disparity between men and women, which he declared a "pure scandal".
The pontiff made his remarks during a catechetical reflection on marriage and family at his weekly General Audience in St. Peter's Square in the Vatican City on Wednesday.
"The Christian seed of radical equality between men and women must bring new fruits," in our time, the Vatican Radio reports him telling followers.
"The witness of the social dignity of marriage shall become persuasive," he continued, "precisely by this way: the way of witness that attracts."
Talking specifically about pay, he said: "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."
Later in the talk, he acknowledged how the institution of marriage is crumbling.
"Today, society is confronted with fewer marriages," he said. "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."
Nevertheless, "In truth we know that almost every man and woman desires a secure and lasting relationship, a stable marriage and a happy family."
Last October, Pope Francis stunned the world by acknowledging the existence of the Big Bang theory and evolution.
Join our commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies