The August issue of Columbia, the magazine of the Knights of Columbus, features an excellent article by Susan Brinkmann with observations from "leading Catholic women" on the 20th anniversary of Mulieris Dignitatem, Pope John Paul II's apostolic letter on the dignity and vocation of women. I admit to some bias, as I am among the interviewees, but the article is well worth in its entirety.
Cutting to the chas(t)e:
For women in the West, the message of Mulieris Dignitatem boldly defies the prevailing militant feminism leftover from the last century. The difference between the sexes is meant to bring men and women into deeper communion, not continual warfare, John Paul II explained.
"From the very beginning, for feminists it was all about taking [the woman] out of the network of social and family relationships and isolating her as an independent person," said Dawn Eden, 39, author of The Thrill of the Chaste and a former music industry journalist. "Belonging to a husband, a father, a brother," she said, were mistakenly believed to be about "submitting to another’s power."
To the contrary, Eden said, "The pope is all about celebrating our dependence upon others as being a representation of our dependence upon God. It's in showing the world how we receive the love of God that we become truly feminine."
It is a message that applies to every woman, single or married, young or old.
"As a young single woman in the Church, one is given these various messages as to how to be feminine," explained Eden. “What the pope showed me in Mulieris Dignitatem is how to be authentically myself in social situations and that I don’t need to try to fit anyone's ideal. I just need to live out the graces that God has given me in a unique way as a woman. And that by living virtuously I will become feminine without effort."
RELATED: My InsideCatholic.com article "Eve of Deconstruction: Feminism and John Paul II."
Buy The Thrill of the Chaste: Finding Fulfillment While Keeping Your Clothes On at Amazon.com.