A Lay Person's Guide to Pope John Paul II's Teaching on the Role of Women

by Dr. Joseph Bagiackas

on the Apostolic Letter Mulieris Dignitatem

To review, see INTRODUCTION

twelfth installment: VII. The Greatest of These Is Love


   Vatican II speaks of many profound changes in the world today. But some things are unchangeable. To change them would "lead to doubtful, if not actually erroneous and deceptive results" (p. 96).

&nbpsp;  Instead of altering God's plan foar complementary roles of women and men, we can achieve dignity for women by giving the proper place to love in our society. When love is given its proper value at the center of life, then women receive their true dignity, because this dignity is based on love. When women are teated as true equals, they will desire fulfillment in a feminine way, rather than seeking men's roles so as to gain power. The "woman is the one who receives love in order to love in return" (p. 98). This is not only the case in marriage, but it is a universal part of the structure of life and love.

   "God entrusts the human being to the woman in a special way...A woman is strong because of her awareness of this entrusting...The perfect woman of Proverbs 31 is an irreplaceable support and source of strength for other people, who perceive the great energies of spirit" (p. 101).

   The material progress of our time without spiritual maturation tends to lead to a loss of sensitivity for what is human. The modern world awaits the genius of women to correct this growing problem, to re-sensitize our civilization to what is truly human.

Suggestions for further study...

   For many American lay readers, Mulieris Dignitatem is difficult reading for, like most Pope John Paul II's teaching, this letter is written in a European philosophy. Those lay persons who study it should do so slowly and prayerfully. There are 31 sections and it is recommended that you read one section a day, praying about it and meditating for a while. If you do not understand some argument, don't worry about it. Just move on. When you get to the end of your study, you will find your thinking about women and men in the Church transformed, even if you had some difficulty working through the document.

To review the rest of this series, go to Archives beginning with the June 23, 1997 issue of A CALL TO PEACE: volume 8, no. 12.

Visitors in 1997