American Hailed for Work on Feminism in Light of Aquinas

VATICAN CITY, NOV. 8, 2001 ( John Paul II today awarded the prize of the pontifical academies, an honor he himself instituted in 1995, to an American, Pia Francesca de Solenni.

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The papal recognition, which includes a $30,000 prize, was awarded to De Solenni, 29, for the defense of her doctoral thesis at the University of the Holy Cross in Rome. The thesis is an analysis of feminist theories in the light of Thomas Aquinas´ philosophy.

The recipient was chosen by the Coordinating Council of the Pontifical Academies from a number of university students who, over the past year, have been deemed outstanding for their original scientific and cultural contributions, rooted in Christian thought.

De Solenni´s thesis has been published by the «Apollinare Studi» collection and is entitled «A Hermeneutic of Aquinas´ ´Mens´ Through a Sexually Differentiated Epistemology: Towards an Understanding of Woman as ´Imago Dei.´»

The examination of feminist theories leads the author to underline the originality of Aquinas´ anthropology, when he affirms that man — man and woman — has been created in the image of God.

This «imago Dei» is the foundation of man´s specific end, which consists of knowledge and contemplation.

John Paul II also gave a medal of his pontificate to Johannes Nebel, who has just received his doctorate, after defending a thesis on the development of the rite of the Mass in the different «Ordines Romani.» He defended his work at the Athenaeum of St. Anselm in Rome.

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