cristianmarriagePope Francis spoke about the complementarity of the sexes and the covenant of marriage in his April 22 weekly general audience.

“Man and woman are of the same substance and are complementary,” he said, but Satan sowed “suspicion, disbelief, and mistrust” in the Garden of Eden, leading to the first sin.

“Sin generates distrust and division between the man and the woman,” he continued. “Their relationship will be undermined by a thousand kinds of abuse and subjugation, of deceitful seduction and demeaning humiliations, up to the most dramatic and violent.” The Pontiff referred to “the negative excesses of patriarchal cultures” and “the multiple forms of ‘machismo,’” as well as “the instrumentalization and commodification of the female body in the current media culture.”

The Pope also lamented “the recent epidemic of distrust, of skepticism, and even of hostility that is spreading throughout our culture– in particular stemming from an understandable diffidence on the part of women– regarding a covenant between man and woman at once of achieving the intimacy of communion and of safeguarding the dignity of difference.”

“The social devaluation of the stable and generative covenant of the man and of the woman is certainly a loss for everyone,” especially the young, he added. “We must recover the honor of marriage and the family … The safekeeping of this covenant between man and woman is therefore for us believers a challenging and exciting vocation.”