Mulieris Dignitatem is a 1988 apostolic letter by John Paul II on the dignity of women. The letter advocates what is called Christian complementarianism, a view on the complementary roles of men and women in line with the philosophy of new feminism.
It cites the recent Marian year commemorating the Theotokos, the Church as bride of Christ in liturgy and the role of women in the Bible as first witnesses to the Resurrection as proof that Christianity values women. It also mentions the importance of traditional gender roles such as mother, teacher and daughter in contemporary society.
It names several female saints such as Saint Monica, Macrina, Olga of Kiev, Matilda of Tuscany, Hedwig of Andechs, Jadwiga of Poland, Elizabeth of Thuringia, Birgitta of Sweden, Joan of Arc, Rose of Lima, Elizabeth Ann Seton and Mary Ward
The letter also defends the doctrine of the all-male clergy : "In calling only men as his Apostles, Christ acted in a completely free and sovereign manner. In doing so, he exercised the same freedom with which, in all his behaviour, he emphasized the dignity and the vocation of women, without conforming to the prevailing customs and to the traditions sanctioned by the legislation of the time."
John Paul II later wrote another text about women in 1995, which is entitled Letter to Women.
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