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/24-7PressRelease/ - SAN FRANCISCO, CA, August 26, 2008 -- John Paul II warned about the dangers of secular feminism but accepted of some of its ideas. A new book -- "Wojtyla's Women" -- explores the role of remarkable women who shaped the life of Pope John Paul II, supported his concept of "New Feminism," and changed the Catholic Church.
Ted Lipien's new book, "Wojtyla's Women: How They Shaped the Life of Pope John Paul II and Changed the Catholic Church," published by the UK publisher O-Books and available on Amazon, reveals for the first time the role of remarkable women in the life of Karol Wojtyla and their impact on his papacy and the Catholic Church. The book also explores John Paul II's views on feminism, gender roles, love, sex, abortion, and contraception in the context of unprecedented threats against human dignity during his lifetime, from pre-World War II anti-Semitism to the Holocaust, Nazi medical experiments on women prisoners, and communist dictatorship.
The book shows how John Paul II, the most charismatic and influential Pope in centuries, reshaped many facets of Catholic thought. Yet, as Ted Lipien demonstrates, Church policy on women during John Paul II's papacy remained deeply resistant to popular modern ideas on gender roles. "Wojtyla's Women" explores John Paul II's views on women, marriage, family and sexual ethics from both feminist and conservative Christian perspectives. Previously untapped sources reveal the influence of his upbringing in Poland at the outset of the Twentieth Century, a time when deeply rooted traditions collided with rapid social change and new ideas, against a backdrop of war, genocide, and political oppression.
As the book reveals, Polish women were a remarkable and unexpected influence on John Paul's understanding of gender issues and the Catholic Church's theology. They were also the main force behind his advancement of New Feminism and Theology of the Body as alternatives to the Sexual Revolution and to radical and Marxist feminism in the West and in the communist world.
The future Pope John Paul II told Polish Catholics before becoming pope that "the affairs of the Kingdom of God" cannot be left only to women and that "social advancement of women has in it a little bit of truth but also a great deal of error." John Paul II was strongly opposed to ordaining women priests.
But while he could not reach an understanding with liberal Western women because of vast differences in how he and they were shaped by culture and history, Karol Wojtyla nevertheless supported many ideas embraced by secular feminists and broke with many misogynist Christian traditions.
"Wojtyla's Women" also analyzes the considerable impact of John Paul II's views and papacy on the abortion debate in the United States and his conflict with the Clinton Administration over U.S. policies on birth control programs and abortion in the Third World. Lipien writes in his book that John Paul II was successful in raising awareness of the moral aspects of abortion through his campaign of "the culture of life versus the culture of death." The book demonstrates, however, that Wojtyla's campaign to promote natural birth control methods for women has not succeeded in any country, including his native Poland.
The author points out that John Paul II would have been appalled that the majority of U.S. presidential contenders in 2008 have been pro-choice, including the majority of those who are Roman Catholic: Joe Biden (D) who is now Barak Obama's vice-presidential running mate, Christopher Dodd (D), Rudolph Giuliani (R), Dennis Kucinich (D), Bill Richardson (D); only Senator Sam Brownback (R) and Alan Keyes (R), among former candidates who are Catholic, are pro-life.
Barak Obama (D), Hillary Clinton (D), and Senator McCain (R) belong to Protestant Christian Churches. Both Obama and Clinton are strongly pro-choice, while McCain is pro-life.
Ted Lipien reports in his book that Senator Joe Biden, who is a strong supporter of Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion, had said that he is prepared to accept the Catholic Church teaching that life begins at conception. Ted Lipien points out that John Paul II would have been gravely disappointed that abortion has not emerged in the U.S. as a major presidential campaign issue in 2008.
Ted Lipien's book also reveals Pope John Paul II's deep mistrust of Western liberalism and his condemnation of the United States as "a continent marked by competition and aggressiveness, unbridled consumerism and corruption." In addition to abortion, he was particularly troubled by the growing support among Americans for ordination of women priests and social and legal acceptance of gay marriages.
John Paul II doubted that the emergence of the United States at the end of the Cold War as the only superpower was good for the rest of the world and he strongly opposed the U.S. invasion of Iraq.
Ted Lipien also reveals in his book how the KGB and the Polish communist security service recruited spies among John Paul II closest friends and their attempts to manipulate media coverage of his papacy. This part of Lipien's book was cited in a recent news story about Senator Biden's staff and the shutting down of the Voice of America radio broadcasts to Russia by the Broadcasting Board of Governors, BBG, shortly before the Russian attack on Georgia in early August. To see the news story, please visit www.TedLipien.com, Pope John Paul II and Women Blog, http://tedlipien.com/WojtylaWomen/, www.FreeMediaOnline.org, and Free Media Online Blog, http://freemediaonline.org/freemediaonlineblog/.
Ted Lipien is a former director of the Polish Service of the Voice of America and a journalist with more than 30 years of reporting and writing about politics, society, women's issues, and the Catholic Church in Poland. He interviewed Karol Wojtyla shortly before the Polish cardinal became pope. Ted Lipien is also president and founder of FreeMediaOnline.org, a 501 (c) 3 nonprofit organization supporting media freedom worldwide. He lives in San Francisco.
For more information, please visit his website: www.TedLipien.com.
"Wojtyla's Women" is available for purchase on Amazon.
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