At QDVF, we like to celebrate mother’s day by talking about motherhood and who better than Bl. John Paul II and his anthropology of women. Hence, we like to offer some excerpts of an excellent article based on Bl. John Paul philosophy by Kathleen Sweeney published by Logos:
In contemporary American society, a problematic phenomenon exists in which women, and even the culture as a whole, ex- press a fear and/or a devaluation of a basic reality of life—woman as mother.
A number of women today fear their “agency, power, prestige, and their very identities are at stake,” if they embrace their motherhood.
Understanding of the nature of motherliness, not only in the direct exercise of the repro- ductive function, but also as a principle radiating into all the fields of life, a principle innate in woman. If it is innate in women, are those women who reject their maternal side missing an essential part of themselves?
Maternal instinct and intuition have received empirical confirmation from research on the brain that reveals the physiological basis for female experience.
An experiment with toys and a plot to see how girls and boys use space. This experiment found that the girls, quite differently from the boys, emphasized inner space, focusing on the interior of a house, placing people and animals within the interior, in a static position that was peaceful, or if intruded upon by animals or dangerous men, accepting this with humor or excitement rather than defensively…this as an external expression of the “profound difference existing between the sexes in the experience of the ground plan of the human body.”
Many feminists today have rejected the idea that the ma- ternal is an essential part of being a woman. Fighting for recogni- tion of women’s place and status in the workplace, they have con- vinced many women that for the sake of careers they must delegate child care to others. (Notably, the “others” are predominantly other women.)
If the capacity for motherhood is part of the physiological reality of a woman that is organically connected to the psychological and spiritual aspects of her personal subjectivity, then the failure to integrate maternal instincts within the totality of a woman’s life would show signs of a certain disintegration of her personality.
Pope John Paul II recognized the challenge of the integration of the woman in motherhood, of both the physical and spiritual realities. He appealed to science to make its contribution to an understanding of the psychophysical structure of women as disposed to motherhood, but also rejected a purely materialistic or deterministic view.
Because of her innate qualities of motherliness, woman makes a particular contribution to the civilization of love of which the Pope frequently spoke. This is the “genius of women.”