Pope John Paul II praised the achievements of feminism Wednesday, saying it has championed the dignity of women and contributed to a more balanced view of womanhood.
The pontiff, who has reached out to women in statements several times this year, said feminism has reacted against all that has “impeded the value and full development of the feminine personality” in politics and society.
John Paul, however, criticized “feminist currents” that undervalued the figure of the Virgin Mary in considering her a “narrow domestic” symbol, rather than a spiritual figure.
St. Mary serves as a “valid response to the desire of women’s emancipation” because she is the only person who embodies “divine love,” the pope said during his regular general audience.
What prompted the need for feminism, John Paul said, was a “lack of appreciation for the value of woman, often forced into a secondary, or outright marginal, role.”