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Alessandra Tarantino, Associated Press
Pope Francis arrives for his weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, Wednesday, April 29, 2015.

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis added his voice Wednesday to the feminist anthem of equal pay for equal work, saying it's "scandalous" that women earn less than men for doing the same job.

Francis also lambasted the attitude of some who blame the crisis in families on women getting out of the house to work. He said such attitudes are a form of "machismo" that shows how men "want to dominate women."

Francis made the comments during his Wednesday general audience, which he has been devoting to different aspects of family life before a big meeting on family issues in October.

Francis said husband and wife must be complementary.

"We should support with decisiveness the right to equal pay for equal work," he said. "Why is it a given that women must earn less than men? No! They have the same rights. The disparity is scandalous."

Francis has spoken out frequently about how the Catholic Church in general must give greater value to the "feminine genius," and has called for women to take on greater decision-making roles in the church, though he has ruled out women's ordination or having women head Vatican congregations.

The 78-year-old Argentine Jesuit has also raised eyebrows with some seemingly tone-deaf comments: He said Europe in many places resembles an "infertile" grandmother. He urged nuns not to be "old maids." And he welcomed new female members of the church's most prestigious theological commissions as "strawberries on the cake."

On Wednesday, he came to women's defense: He took the biblical Adam to task for having blamed Eve for having given him the forbidden apple. "It's always the women's fault," Francis said sarcastically. "Poor woman! We must defend women!"

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