One of the most iconic world figures from the 20th century, Pope Saint John Paul II, is most notably known for his work with American President Ronald Reagan and British Prime
Minister Margret Thatcher in their combined effort of taking down communism and the USSR.
But his work within cultural and social networks cannot be forgotten. Recently, while doing some research on the newly made Saint, I came across something very prevalent for our society, in regards to ‘new wave feminism’ and his own interpretation of a “new feminism” grounded in love and faith.
John Paul II formally proposed his “new feminism” in the 1995 encyclical Evangelium Vitae, n. 99.
“In transforming culture so that it supports life, women occupy a place, in thought and action, which is unique and decisive. It depends on them to promote a “new feminism” which rejects the temptation of imitating models of “male domination”, in order to acknowledge and affirm the true genius of women in every aspect of the life of society, and overcome all discrimination, violence and exploitation.”
His observation of feminism would prove to be much needed in the “modern” interpretation of it. That John Paul II called for a “feminism of complementarity” in which women and men are created to live happily together in marriage and in society at large.
He went on to say in his encyclical, Mulieris Dignitatem:
“The women are the first at the tomb. They are the first to find it empty. They are the first to hear: “He is not here. He has risen, as He said.” They are the first to embrace His feet. They are also the first to be called to announce this truth to the Apostles.”
He shifted the debate from the leftist idea of anything-you-can-do-I-can-do, to now a conversation from doing to being. Hillary Clinton and her “I’m with her”, “Deal me in”, and constant mentioning of the glass ceiling tactics could’ve possibly been able to benefit if she wouldn’t have used that cop-out modern feminist talking point.
John Paul II, most notably signifies life and its correlation to his view of feminism. He dispels the modern idea that a woman should be defined by her reproductive system and her “control” of it and rather calls for women and all people to defend the most defenseless- the unborn.
He said notably on a visit to the United States:
“America you are beautiful…and blessed…. The ultimate test of your greatness is the way you treat every human being, but especially the weakest and most defenseless. If you want equal justice for all and true freedom and lasting peace, then America, defend life.”
Most importantly, John Paul II created a more attainable, productive, and welcoming form of feminism, which contrary to modern feminism doesn’t teach a hatred of males and their former “domination” over society. It instead puts forth an idea of equality based on love, theology, and most sacredly- life.
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