ROME, OCT. 30, 2009 (Zenit.org).- A genuine promotion of woman must understand femininity as an anthropological characteristic, not a cultural imposition, explains a new book from the Vatican Publishing House.
The Pontifical Council for the Laity announced the publication of the 405-page book, “Woman and Man, The Totality of the Humanum.”
The initial version was published in Italian; Spanish, English and French translations are forthcoming.
The book contains the addresses delivered at an international conference that reflected on this theme, held Feb. 7-9, 2008, in Rome. The conference commemorated the 20th anniversary of the publication of Pope John Paul II’s apostolic letter “Mulieris Dignitatem.”
The volume seeks to show that a genuine promotion of woman must include an understanding of the feminine as an anthropological characteristic and not as a cultural imposition. It seeks to illustrate the reciprocity between man and woman as an indispensable element in understanding and promoting the totality of the human being.
“Woman and Man, the Totality of the Humanum” includes the Feb. 9, 2008, address from Benedict XVI to participants in the conference.
“A renewed anthropological study is certainly necessary based on the great Christian tradition, which incorporates new scientific advances and, given today’s cultural sensitivity, in this way contributes to deepening not only the feminine identity but also the masculine, which is often the object of partial and ideological reflections. Faced with cultural and political trends that seek to eliminate, or at least cloud and confuse, the sexual differences inscribed in human nature, considering them a cultural construct, it is necessary to recall God’s design that created the human being masculine and feminine, with a unity and at the same time an original difference and complimentary. Human nature and the cultural dimension are integrated in an ample and complex process that constitutes the formation on one’s own identity, where both dimensions, that of the feminine and that of the masculine, correspond to and complete each other,” the Holy Father affirmed in that address.
The book also has a preface from Cardinal Stanislaw Rylko, president of the Pontifical Council for the Laity.
The volume evaluates progress over the past 20 years in the area of the promotion of woman.
It also includes a reflection on the new cultural paradigms, as well as the difficulties that women face in living their identity and helping, in fruitful reciprocity with man, the building up of the Church and society.
The book points out how women must place their gifts at the service of the apostolate and the family, as well as of the world of work and culture, incorporating all the riches of the feminine “genius,” enlightened by progress in holiness.
Among the texts contained in this volume are “Evaluation of the Perspective of Reflection on Woman 20 Years after ‘Mulieris Dignitatem,'” by Cardinal Antonio Cañizares Llovera; “Woman and Man, Created for One Another,” by Paola Bignardi; and “The Reduction of Femininity to Object of Consumption,” by Helen Alvaré.