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New Book About Pope John Paul II Looks at His Views on Women, Family and Feminism

Unexpected Influence of Women

John Paul II, the most charismatic and influential Pope in centuries, reshaped many facets of Catholic thought. Yet Church policy on women during his papacy remained deeply resistant to popular modern ideas on gender roles. WOJTYŁA’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 20th 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, women were a remarkable and unexpected influence on John Paul's understanding of gender issues and the Catholic Church's theology.

Read what others have said about WOJTYŁA’s WOMEN

American Catholics don't expect a more liberal church under Benedict XVI In a television interview with the Voice of America, Ted Lipien points out that the Catholic Church may become even more conservative under Benedict XVI read transcript...

Popes get conflicting advice on what to say to Americans and don't always say what they really think Read was Pope John Paul II wanted to tell Americans during his visit in 1979 and how his views of liberal America compare with the views of Benedict XVI click here..


Major Themes of WOJTYŁA’s WOMEN

A misunderstood Pope WOJTYŁA’s WOMEN How Women, History and Polish Traditions Shaped the Life of Pope John Paul II and Changed the Catholic Church reveals what Karol Wojtyła really thought about women, feminism and Western liberal values.

A defender of life The book describes how Polish traditions, World War II, the Holocaust and life under communist dictatorship influenced John Paul II's views and why secular feminists had such a hard time understanding his positions on abortion and gender relations.

Clash of civilizations WOJTYŁA’s WOMEN shows Pope John Paul II as a severe critic of American society and U.S. foreign policy, including the war in Iraq. (John Paul II feared the invasion of Iraq would have disastrous consequences.)

Was John Paul II a liberal or a conservative? As a young priest he wrote approvingly of female orgasm, causing quite a scandal in Poland. Greatly admired by evangelical and other conservative Christians in the U.S. for his stands on abortion, marriage and family, he held strongly liberal views on welfare programs, workers' rights, immigration, the death penalty, the environment, and aid to poor nations in the Third World. He irritated many secular feminists by declaring his support for "new feminism."

Women who knew him I spoke with women who knew him and worked with him for many decades. Why did he advocate traditional roles for women as wives and mothers, while at the same time promoting academic careers of Polish nuns? Why was he admired by young women whom he befriended as a young priest? Was John Paul II misunderstood by women in the West and even in his own country? WOJTYŁA’s WOMEN answers these and many other questions.

Communist spies Did communist secret police agents distort news reports about Wojtyła's early life and his activities as a priest, bishop and pope? The book deals with the most recent revelations about communist spies among John Paul II's closest priest-friends and associates from Poland.

WOJTYŁA’s WOMEN will be published by O-Books in June 2008. For information about ordering the book, send us an email to:




Pope John Paul II's Vision of Women and Family


How the Polish Pope Saw Women, Feminism and Western Liberal Values

by Ted Lipien Pope John Paul II was widely misunderstood on women's issues even though he held definite views on contraception, abortion and the ordination of women as Catholic priests. Many Catholics and others were confused watching him aggressively defend traditional Christian moral values while also trying to promote his Catholic version of feminism.

He was a passionate advocate for the poor and a relentless critic of Western "consumerist" societies. Despite many books and articles written about John Paul II, few people knew what he thought about women or understood his "theology of love."

This book shows John Paul II as he really was: an enigmatic man totally committed to defending human dignity and the basic human rights of all individuals, including women, and at the same time unwilling to break away from some of the traditions of his nation and his Church.

His early life experience in Poland under the Nazi occupation and the communist dictatorship had been so different from the lives of most women in the West that finding a common ground with feminists turned out to be an illusive task. Ted Lipien's book shows how cultural differences made it impossible for secular Western feminists and John Paul II to reach any kind of mutual understanding.

Ted Lipien's book reveals previously unpublicized statements by John Paul II and new information about his relationships with women Some of John Paul’s critics have pointed to his Polish heritage as the primary cause of his alleged conservatism. Making Wojtyła’s Polish record on dealing with women’s issues accessible to Western readers required a careful re-interpretation of the existing biographical data and supplementing it with information never before presented. Ted Lipien has included in his book many previously unpublicized statements and accounts of Wojtyła’s personal relationships with women of various ages and backgrounds.

The scope and intensity of John Paul II’s interest in women's issues were greater than what is generally assumed. Ted Lipien's research showed that much of Wojtyła's early life and activities in Poland revolved around women and questions of sexual ethics. Karol Wojtyła's pastoral work as the Archbishop of Kraków focused on actively promoting Church-accepted methods of birth control and opposing the use of the pill and other contraceptives.

More significantly for Catholics outside of Poland, it was Karol Wojtyła assisted by Dr. Wanda Półtawska, his advisor and close collaborator, who steered Pope Paul VI into making his crucial decision to forbid all use of artificial contraception by married Catholic couples. The book examines in detail the development of Wojtyła's views on birth control, love, sexual morality, and marriage. It presents the historical and cultural background that shaped Karol Wojtyła's deep concern for protecting human life and human dignity. It outlines the inevitable and unresolvable conflict between John Paul II and secular feminists.

Major Topics in WOJTYŁA’s WOMEN How Women, History and Polish Traditions Shaped the Life of Pope John Paul II and Changed the Catholic Church. Find out how Pope John Paul II saw women, feminism and Western liberal values.

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Extremely detailed research into a heretofore unexamined aspect of the beloved Pope John Paul II's life. This book is worthwhile reading for anyone interested in the personal network of highly influential women who shaped John Paul II's attitudes, particularly on the debate of women's roles. Dr. Nancy Snow, author of Information War

Ted Lipien has written an incisive and penetrating book on the role remarkable women, such as the Albanian-born nun and Nobel laureate Mother Teresa, played in shaping John Paul II's outlook on important and controversial issues that defined his papacy. Much of the ground that Lipien covers in his meticulously documented book is not familiar to students of John Paul II's papacy. He presents new information on the Pope's enduring relationships with women who had an enormous impact on his life, offers original interpretations, and makes a significant contribution in advancing the theoretical discussion on John Paul II's papacy. WOJTYŁA’s WOMEN's greatest strength lies in the author's impassioned analysis of astonishingly complex issues and events. Lipien's landmark book opens new paths for other scholars and is essential reading for specialists as well as the wider public. Dr. Elez Biberaj, author of Albania in Transition: The Rocky Road to Democracy

I read Ted Lipien's important book with enormous interest. Few persons are as qualified as he is to enlighten readers about Pope John Paul II's Polish roots -- and the impact that they had on his views on women. Lipien provides a stimulating analysis of the Pope's ideas on gender roles and how John Paul believed the Church should deal with sexual issues. While he does not agree with many of the Pope's stands on women, Lipien makes a laudatory effort to understand -- and explain -- them. This book is a must-read for anyone interested in the relationship between feminism and Catholicism, a key issue of our times. Dr. John H. Brown, former U.S. diplomat in Poland, editor of Public Diplomacy Press Review


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