Christifideles laici EN 43

Placing the Individual at the Center of Socio-Economic Life

43 Service to society on the part of the lay faithful finds its essence in the socio-economic question, which depends on the organization of work.

Recently recalled in the Encyclical Sollicitudo Rei Socialis, is the seriousness of present problems as they relate to the subject of development and a proposed solution according to the social doctrine of the Church. I warmly desire to again refer its contents to all, in particular, to the lay faithful.

The basis for the social doctrine of the Church is the principle of the universal destination of goods. According to the plan of God the goods of the earth are offered to all people and to each individual as a means towards the development of a truly human life. At the service of this destination of goods is private property, which -precisely for this purpose-possesses an intrinsic social function. Concretely the work of man and woman represents the most common and most immediate instrument for the development of economic life, an instrument that constitutes at one and the same time a right and a duty for every individual.

Once again, all of this comes to mind in a particular way in the mission of the lay faithful. The Second Vatican Council formulates in general terms the purpose and criterion of their presence and their action: "In the socio-economic realm the dignity and total vocation of the human person must be honoured and advanced along with the welfare of society as a whole, for man is the source, the center, and the purpose of all socio-economic life"(158).

In the context of the tranformations taking place in the world of economy and work which are a cause of concern, the lay faithful have the responsibility of being in the forefront in working out a solution to the very serious problems of growing unemployment; to fight for the most opportune overcoming of numerous injustices that come from organizations of work which lack a proper goal; to make the workplace become a community of persons respected in their uniqueness and in their right to participation; to develop new solidarity among those that participate in a common work; to raise up new forms of entrepreneurship and to look again at systems of commerce, finance and exchange of technology.

To such an end the lay faithful must accomplish their work with professional competence, with human honesty, and with a Christian spirit, and especially as a way of their own sanctification(159), according to the explicit invitation of the Council: "By work an individual ordinarily provides for self and family, is joined in fellowship to others, and renders them service; and is enabled to exercise genuine charity and be a partner in the work of bringing divine creation to perfection. Moreover, we know that through work offered to God an individual is associated with the redemptive work of Jesus Christ, whose labour with his hands at Nazareth greatly ennobled the dignity of work"(160).

Today in an ever-increasingly acute way, the so-called "ecological" question poses itself in relation to socio-economic life and work Certainly humanity has received from God himself the task of "dominating" the created world and "cultivating the garden" of the world. But this is a task that humanity must carry out in respect for the divine image received, and, therefore, with intelligence and with love, assuming responsibility for the gifts that God has bestowed and continues to bestow. Humanity has in its possession a gift that must be passed on to future generations, if possible, passed on in better condition. Even these future generations are the recipients of the Lord's gifts: "The dominion granted to humanity by the Creator is not an absolute power, nor can one speak of a freedom to 'use and misuse', or to dispose of things as one pleases. The limitation imposed from the beginning by the Creator himself and expressed symbolically by the prohibition not to 'eat of the fruit of the tree' (cf. Gen
Gn 2,16-17) shows clearly enough that, when it comes to the natural world, we are subject not only to biological laws but also to moral ones, which cannot be violated with impunity. A true concept of development cannot ignore the use of the things of nature, the renewability of resources and the consequences of haphazard industrialization-three considerations which alert our consciences to the moral dimension of development"(161).

[158] Conc. Ecum. Vat. II, Const. past. sobre la Iglesia en el mundo actual Gaudium et spes, GS 63.
[159] Cf. Propositio 24.
[160] Conc. Ecum. Vat. II, Const. past. sobre la Iglesia en el mundo actual Gaudium et spes, GS 67. Cf. Juan Pablo II, Enc. Laborem exercens, LE 24-27: AAS 73 (1981) 637-647.
[161] Juan Pablo II, Enc. Sollicitudo rei socialis, SRS 34: AAS 80 (1988) 560.

Evangelizing Culture and the Cultures of Humanity

44 Service to the individual and to human society is expressed and finds its fulfilment through the creation and the transmission of culture, which especially in our time constitutes one of the more serious tasks of living together as a human family and of social evolution. In light of the Council, we mean by "culture" all those "factors which go to the refining and developing of humanity's diverse spiritual and physical endowments. It means the efforts of the human family to bring the world under its control through its knowledge and its labour; to humanize social life both in the family and in the whole civic community through the improvement of customs and institutions; to express through its works the great spiritual experiences and aspirations of all peoples throughout the ages; finally, to communicate and to preserve them to be an inspiration for the progress of many, indeed of the whole human race"(162). In this sense, culture must be held as the common good of every people, the expression of its dignity, liberty and creativity, and the testimony of its course through history. In particular, only from within and through culture does the Christian faith become a part of history and the creator of history.

The Church is fully aware of a pastoral urgency that calls for an absolutely special concern for culture in those circumstances where the development of a culture becomes disassociated not only from Christian faith but even from human values(163), as well as in those situations where science and technology are powerless in giving an adequate response to the pressing questions of truth and well-being that burn in people's hearts. For this reason the Church calls upon the lay faithful to be present, as signs of courage and intellectual creativity, in the privileged places of culture, that is, the world of education-school and university-in places of scientific and technological research, the areas of artistic creativity and work in the humanities. Such a presence is destined not only for the recognition and possible purification of the elements that critically burden existing culture, but also for the elevation of these cultures through the riches which have their source in the Gospel and the Christian faith. The extensive treatment by the Second Vatican Council of the rapport between the Gospel and culture represents a constant historic fact and at the same time serves as a working ideal of particular and immediate urgency. It is a challenging programme given as a pastoral responsibility to the entire Church, but in a specific way to the lay faithful in her. "The good news of Christ continually renews the life and culture of fallen humanity; it combats and removes the error and evil which flow from the attraction of sin which are a perpetual threat. She never ceases to purify and to elevate the morality of peoples... In this way the Church carries out her mission and in that very act she stimulates and makes her contribution to human and civic culture. By her action, even in its liturgical forms, she leads people to interior freedom"(164).

Some particularly significant citations from Paul VI's Exhortation Evangelii Nuntiandi merit recollection here: "The Church evangelizes when she seeks to convert, solely through the divine power of the message she proclaims (cf. Rom
Rm 1,16 1Co 1,18 1Co 2,4), both the personal and collective consciences of people, the activities in which they engage, and the lives and concrete milieux which are theirs. Strata of humanity are transformed: for the Church it is a question not only of preaching the Gospel in ever-wider geographic areas or to ever-greater numbers of people, but also of affecting and as it were challenging, through the power of the Gospel, mankind's criteria of judgment, determining values, points of interest, lines of thought, sources of inspiration and models of life, which are in contrast with the Word of God and the plan of salvation. All this could be expressed in the following words: What matters is to evangelizehumanity's culture and the cultures of the human family... the split between the Gospel and culture is without a doubt the drama of our time, just as it was of other times. Therefore, every effort must be made to ensure a full evangelization of culture, or more correctly of cultures"(165).

The privileged way at present for the creation and transmission of culture is the means of socialcommunications(166). The world of the massmedia represents a new frontier for the mission of the Church, because it is undergoing a rapid and innovative development and has an extensive worldwide influence on the formation of mentality and customs. In particular, the lay faithful's responsibility as professionals in this field, exercised both by individual right and through community initiatives and institutions, demands a recognition of all its values, and demands that it be sustained by more adequate resource materials, both intellectual and pastoral.

The use of these instruments by professionals in communication and their reception by the public demand both a work of education in a critical sense, which is animated by a passion for the truth, and a work of defence of liberty, respect for the dignity of individuals, and the elevation of the authentic culture of peoples which occurs through a firm and courageous rejection of every form of monopoly and manipulation.

However, the pastoral responsibility among the lay faithful does not stop with this work of defence. It extends to everyone in the world of communications, even to those professional people of the press, cinema, radio, television and theatre. These also are called to proclaim the gospel that brings salvation.

[162] Conc. Ecum. Vat. II, Const. past. sobre la Iglesia en el mundo actual Gaudium et spes, GS 53.
[163] Cf. Propositio 35.
[164] Conc. Ecum. Vat. II, Const. past. sobre la Iglesia en el mundo actual Gaudium et spes, GS 58.
[165] Pablo VI, Exh. Ap. Evangelii nuntiandi, EN 18-20: AAS 68 (1976) 18-19.
[166] Cf. Propositio 37.



Good Stewards of God's Varied Grace

The Variety of Vocations

45 According to the gospel parable, the "householder" calls the labourers for his vineyard atvarious times during the day: some at dawn, others about nine in the morning, still others about midday and at three, the last, around five (cf. Mt Mt 20,1 ff.). In commenting on these words of the gospel, Saint Gregory the Great makes a comparison between the various times of the call and the different stages in life: "It is possible to compare the different hours", he writes, "to the various stages in a person's life. According to our analogy the morning can certainly represent childhood. The third hour, then, can refer to adolescence; the sun has now moved to the height of heaven, that is, at this stage a person grows in strength. The sixth hour is adulthood, the sun is in the middle of the sky, indeed at this age the fullness of vitality is obvious. Old age represents the ninth hour, because the sun starts its descent from the height of heaven, thus the youthful vitality begins to decline. The eleventh hour represents those who are most advanced in years... The labourers, then, are called and sent forth into the vineyard at different hours, that is to say, one is led to a holy life during childhood, another in adolescence, another in adulthood and another in old age"(167).

We can make a further application of the comments of Saint Gregory the Great to the extraordinary variety of ways the Church becomes "present" in life; one and all are called to work for the coming of the Kingdom of God according to the diversity of callings and situations, charisms and ministries. This variety is not only linked to age, but also to the difference of sex and to the diversity of natural gifts, as well as to careers and conditions affecting a person's life. It is a variety that makes the riches of the Church more vital and concrete.

[167] San Gregorio Magno, Hom. in Evang. I, XIX, 2: PL 76, 1155.

Young People, Children and Older People

Youth, the Hope of the Church
46 The Synod wished to give particular attention to the young. And rightly so. In a great many countries of the world, they represent half of entire populations, and often constitute in number half of the People of God itself living in those countries. Simply from this aspect youth make up an exceptional potential and a great challenge for the future of the Church. In fact the Church sees her path towards the future in the youth, beholding in them a reflection of herself and her call to that blessed youthfulness which she constantly enjoys as a result of Christ's Spirit. In this sense the Council has defined youth as "the hope of the Church"(168).

In the letter of 31 March 1985 to young men and women in the world we read: "The Church looks to the youth, indeed the Church in a special way looks at herself in the youth, in all of you and in each of you. It has been so from the beginning, from apostolic times. The words of St. John in his First Letter can serve as special testimony: 'I am writing to you, young people, because youhave overcome the evil one. I write to you, children, because you know the Father... I write to you, young people, because you are strong and the word of God abides in you (
1Jn 2,13 ff.)... In our generation, at the end of the Second Millennium after Christ, the Church also sees herself in the youth"(169).

Youth must not simply be considered as an object of pastoral concern for the Church: in fact, young people are and ought to be encouraged to be active on behalf of the Church as leading characters in evangelization and participants in the renewal of society.(170) Youth is a time of an especially intensive discovery of a "self" and "a choice of life". It is a time for growth which ought to progress "in wisdom, age and grace before God and people" (Lc 2,52).

The Synod Fathers have commented: "The sensitivity of young people profoundly affects their perceiving of the values of justice, nonviolence and peace. Their hearts are disposed to fellowship, friendship and solidarity. They are greatly moved by causes that relate to the quality of life and the conservation of nature. But they are troubled by anxiety, deceptions, anguishes and fears of the world as well as by the temptations that come with their state"(171).

The Church must seek to rekindle the very special love displayed by Christ towards the young man in the Gospel: "Jesus, looking upon him, loved him" (Mc 10,21). For this reason the Church does not tire of proclaiming Jesus Christ, of proclaiming his Gospel as the unique and satisfying response to the most deep-seated aspirations of young people, as illustrated in Christ's forceful and exalted personal call to discipleship ("Come and follow me." Mc 10,21), that brings about a sharing in the filial love of Jesus for his Father and the participation in his mission for the salvation of humanity.

The Church has so much to talk about with youth, and youth have so much to share with the Church. This mutual dialogue, by taking place with great cordiality, clarity and courage, will provide a favorable setting for the meeting and exchange between generations, and will be a source of richness and youthfulness for the Church and civil society. In its message to young people the Council said: "The Church looks to you with confidence and with love... She is the real youthfulness of the world... Look upon the Church and you will find in her the face of Christ"(172).

[168] Conc. Ecum. Vat. II, Decl. sobre la educación cristiana Gravissimum educationis, GE 2.
[169] Juan Pablo II, Carta Ap. a los jóvenes y a los jóvenes del mundo con ocasión del "Año Internacional de la Juventud", 15: AAS 77 (1985) 620-621.
[170] Cf. Propositio 52.
[171] Propositio 51.
[172] Conc. Ecum. Vat. II, "Mensaje a los jóvenes" (8 Diciembre 1965): AAS 58 (1966) 18.

Children and the Kingdom of Heaven

47 Children are certainly the object of the Lord Jesus' tender and generous love. To them he gave his blessing, and, even more, to them he promised the Kingdom of heaven (cf. Mt 19:13-15; Mc 10,14). In particular Jesus exalted the active role that little ones have in the Kingdom of God. They are the eloquent symbol and exalted image of those moral and spiritual conditions that are essential for entering into the Kingdom of God and for living the logic of total confidence in the Lord: "Truly I say to you, unless you turn and become like children. vou will never enter the Kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child, he is the greatest in the Kingdom of heaven" (Mt 18,3-5 cf. Lk Lc 9,48).

Children are a continual reminder that the missionary fruitfulness of the Church has its life-giving basis not in human means and merits, but in the absolute gratuitous gift of God. The life itself of innocence and grace of many children, and even the suffering and oppression unjustly inflicted upon them are in virtue of the Cross of Christ a source of spiritual enrichment for them and for the entire Church. Everyone ought to be more conscious and grateful for this fact.

Furthermore, it must be acknowledged that valuable possibilities exist even in the life's stages of infancy and childhood, both for the building up of the Church and for making society more humane. How often the Council referred to the beneficial and constructive affects for the family, "the domestic Church", through the presence of sons and daughters: "Children as living members of the family, contribute in their in their own way to the sanctification of their parents"(173). The Council's words must also be repeated about children in relation to the local and universal Church. John Gerson, a great theologian and educator of the 15th Century, had already emphasized this fact in stating that "children and young people are in no way a negligible part of the Church"(174).

[173] Conc. Ecum. Vat. II, Const. past. sobre la Iglesia en el mundo actual Gaudium et spes, GS 48.
[174] J. Gerson, De parvulis ad Christum trahendis, CEuvres completes, Desclée, Paris 1973, IX, 669.

Older People and the Gift of Wisdom

48 I now address older people, oftentimes unjustly considered as unproductive, if not directly an insupportable burden. I remind older people that the Church calls and expects them to continue to exercise their mission in the apostolic and missionary life. This is not only a possibility for them, but it is their duty even in this time in their life when age itself provides opportunities in some specific and basic way.

The Bible delights in presenting the older person as the symbol of someone rich in wisdom and fear of the Lord (cf. Sir
Si 25,4-6). In this sense the "gift" of older people can be specifically that of being the witness to tradition in the faith both in the Church and in society (cf. Ps Ps 44,2 Ex Ex 12,26-27), the teacher of the lessons of life (cf. Sir Si 6,34 Si 8,11-12), and the worker of charity.

At this moment the growing number of older people in different countries worldwide and the expected retirement of persons from various professions and the workplace provides older people with a new opportunity in the apostolate. Involved in the task is their determination to overcome the temptation of taking refuge in a nostalgia in a never-to-return past or fleeing from present responsibility because of difficulties encountered in a world of one novelty after another. They must always have a clear knowledge that one's role in the Church and society does not stop at a certain age at all, but at such times knows only new ways of application. As the Psalmist says: "They still bring forth fruit in old age, they are ever full of sap and green, to show that the Lord is upright" (Ps 92,15-16). I repeat all that I said during the celebration of the Older People's Jubilee: "Arriving at an older age is to be considered a privilege: not simply because not everyone has the good fortune to reach this stage in life, but also, and above all, because this period provides real possibilities for better evaluating the past, for knowing and living more deeply the Paschal Mystery, for becoming an example in the Church for the whole People of God... Despite the complex nature of the problems you face: a strength that progressively diminishes, the insufficiencies of social organizations, official legislation that comes late, or the lack of understanding by a self-centered society, you are not to feel yourselves as persons underestimated in the life of the Church or as passive objects in a fast-paced world, but as participants at a time of life which is humanly and spiritually fruitful. You still have a mission to fulfill, a contribution to make. According to the divine plan, each individual human being lives a life of continual growth, from the beginning of existence to the moment at which the last breath is taken"(175).

[175] Juan Pablo II, Discurso a grupos de la tercera edad de las diócesis italianas (23 Marzo 1984): Insegnamenti, VII, 1 (1984) 744.

Women and Men

49 The Synod Fathers gave special attention to the status and role of women, with two purposes in mind: to themselves acknowledge and to invite all others to once again acknowledge the indispensable contribution of women to the building up of the Church and the development of society. They wished as well to work on a more specific analysis of women's participation in the life and mission of the Church.

Making reference to Pope John XXIII, who saw women's greater consciousness of their proper dignity and their entrance into public life as signs of our times(176), the Synod Fathers, when confronted with the various forms of discrimination and marginization to which women are subjected simply because they are women, time and time again strongly affirmed the urgency to defend and to promote the personal dignity of woman, and consequently, her equality with man.

If anyone has this task of advancing the dignity of women in the Church and society, it is women themselves, who must recognize their responsibility as leading characters. There is still much effort to be done, in many parts of the world and in various surroundings, to destroy that unjust and deleterious mentality which considers the human being as a thing, as an object to buy and sell, as an instrument for selfish interests or for pleasure only. Women themselves, for the most part, are the prime victims of such a mentality. Only through openly acknowledging the personal dignity of women is the first step taken to promote the full participation of women in Church life as well as in social and public life. A more extensive and decisive response must be given to the demands made in the Exhortation Familiaris Consortio concerning the many discriminations of which women are the victims: "Vigorous and incisive pastoral action must be taken by all to overcome completely these forms of discrimination so that the image of God that shines in all human beings without exception may be fully respected"(177). Along the same lines, the Synod Fathers stated: "As an expression of her mission the Church must stand firmly against all forms of discrimination and abuse of women"(178). And again: "The dignity of women, gravely wounded in public esteem, must be restored through effective respect for the rights of the human person and by putting the teaching of the Church into practice"(179).

In particular when speaking of active and responsible participation in the life and mission of the Church, emphasis should be placed on what has already been stated and clearly urged by the Second Vatican Council: "Since in our days women are taking an increasingly active share in the whole life of society, it is very important that they participate more widely also in the various fields of the Church's apostolate"(180).

The awareness that women with their own gifts and tasks have their own specific vocation, has increased and been deepened in the years following the Council and has found its fundamental inspiration in the Gospel and the Church's history. In fact, for the believer the Gospel, namely, the word and example of Jesus Christ, remains the necessary and decisive point of reference. In no other moment in history is this fact more fruitful and innovative.

Though not called to the apostolate of the Twelve, and thereby, to the ministerial priesthood, many women, nevertheless, accompanied Jesus in his ministry and assisted the group of Apostles (cf. Lk
Lc 8,2-3), were present at the foot of the Cross (cf. Lk Lc 23,49), assisted at the burial of Christ (cf. Lk Lc 23,55) received and transmitted the message of resurrection on Easter morn (cf. Lk Lc 24,1-10), and prayed with the apostles in the Cenacle awaiting Pentecost (cf . Acts Ac 1,14).

From the evidence of the Gospel, the Church at its origin detached herself from the culture of the time and called women to tasks connected with spreading the gospel. In his letters the Apostle Paul even cites by name a great number of women for their various functions in service of the primitive Christian community (cf. Rom Rm 16,1-15 Ph 4,2-3 Col Col 4,15 and 1Co 11,5 1Tm 5,16). "If the witness of the Apostles founds the Church", stated Paul VI, "the witness of women contributes greatly towards nourishing the faith of Christian communities"(181).

Both in her earliest days and in her successive development the Church, albeit in different ways and with diverse emphases, has always known women who have exercised an oftentimes decisive role in the Church herself and accomplished tasks of considerable value on her behalf. History is marked by grand works, quite often lowly and hidden, but not for this reason any less decisive to the growth and the holiness of the Church. It is necessary that this history continue, indeed that it be expanded and intensified in the face of the growing and widespread awareness of the personal dignity of woman and her vocation, particularly in light of the urgency of a "re-evangelization" and a major effort towards "humanizing" social relations.

Gathering together the pronouncements of the Second Vatican Council, which reflect the Gospel's message and the Church's history, the Synod Fathers formulated, among others, this precise "recommendation": "It is necessary that the Church recognize all the gifts of men and women for her life and mission, and put them into practice"(182). And again, "This Synod proclaims that the Church seeks the recognition and use of all the gifts, experiences and talents of men and women to make her mission effective (cf. Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Instruction on Christian Freedom and Liberation, 72)"(183).

[176] Cf Juan XXIII, Enc. Pacem in terris: AAS 55 (1963) PT 267-268.
[177] Juan Pablo II, Exh. Ap. Familiaris consortio, FC 24: AAS 74 (1982) 109-110.
[178] Propositio 46.
[179] Propositio 47.
[180] Conc. Ecum. Vat. II, Dec. sobre el apostolado de los laicos Apostolicam actuositatem, AA 9.
[181] Pablo VI, Discurso al Comité de organización del Año Internacional de la Mujer (18 Abril 1975): AAS 67 (1975) 266.
[182] Propositio 46.
[183] Propositio 47.

Anthropological and Theological Foundations

50 The condition that will assure the rightful presence of woman in the Church and in society is a more penetrating and accurate consideration of the anthropological foundation for masculinity and femininity with the intent of clarifying woman's personal identity in relation to man, that is, a diversity yet mutual complementarity, not only as it concerns roles to be held and functions to be performed, but also, and more deeply, as it concerns her make-up and meaning as a person.

The Synod Fathers have deeply felt this requirement, maintaining that "the anthropological and theological foundations for resolving questions about the true significance and dignity of each sex require deeper study"(184).

Through committing herself to a reflection on the anthropological and theological basis of femininity, the Church enters the historic process of the various movements for the promotion of woman, and, in going to the very basic aspect of woman as a personal being, provides her most precious contribution. But even before this the Church intends, in such a way, to obey God, who created the individual "in his image", "male and female he created them" (
Gn 1,27) and who intended that they would accept the call of God to come to know, reverence and live his plan. It is a plan that "from the beginning" has been indelibly imprinted in the very being of the human person-men and women-and, therefore, in the make-up, meaning and deepest workings of the individual. This most wise and loving plan must be explored to discover all its richness of content-a richness that "from the beginning" came to be progressively manifested and realized in the whole history of salvation, and was brought to completion in "the fullness of time", when "God sent his Son, born of a woman" (Ga 4,4). That "fullness" continues in history: God's plan for woman is read and is to be read within the context of the faith of the Church, and also, in the lives lived by so many Christian women today. Without forgetting the help that can come from different human sciences and cultures, researchers because of an informed discernment, will be able to help gather and clarify the values and requirements that belong to the enduring essential aspects of women and those bound to evolve in history. The Second Vatican Council reminds us: "The Church maintains that beneath all changes there are many realities which do not change; these find their ultimate foundation in Christ, who is the same yesterday, and today, and forever (cf. Heb He 13,8)"(185). The Apostolic Letter on the Dignity and Vocation of Woman gives much attention to the anthropological and theological foundation of woman's dignity as a person. The document seeks to again treat and develop the catechetical reflections of the Wednesday General Audiences devoted over a long period of time to the "theology of the body", while at the same time fulfilling a promise made in the Encyclical Redemptoris Mater(186) and serving as a response to the request of the Synod Fathers.

May the reading of the Apostolic Letter Mulieris Dignitatem, in particular, as a biblical theological meditation, be an incentive for everyone, both women and men, and especially for those who devote their lives to the human sciences and theological disciplines, to pursue on the basis of the personal dignity of man and woman and their mutual relationship, a critical study to better and more deeply understand the values and specific gifts of femininity and masculinity, not only in the surroundings of social living but also and above all in living as Christians and as members of the Church.

This meditation on the anthropological and theological foundations of women ought to enlighten and guide the Christian response to the most frequently asked questions, oftentimes so crucial, onthe "place" that women can have and ought to have in the Church and in society.

It is quite clear from the words and attitude of Christ, which are normative for the Church, that no discrimination exists on the level of an individual's relation to Christ, in which "there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus" (Ga 3,28) and on the level of participation in the Church's life of grace and holiness, as Joel's prophecy fulfilled at Pentecost wonderfully attests: "I will pour out my spirit on all flesh; your sons and daughters shall prophecy" (Jl 3,1 cf. Ac 2,17 ff). As the Apostolic Letter on the Dignity and Vocation of Woman reads: "Both women and men ... are equally capable of receiving the outpouring of divine truth and love in the Holy Spirit. Both receive his salvific and sanctifying 'visits'"(187).

[184] Ibid.
[185] Conc. Ecum. Vat. II, Const. past. sobre la Iglesia en el mundo actual Gaudium et spes, GS 10.
[186] La Encíclica Redemptoris Mater, después de haber recordado que la "dimensión mariana de la vida cristiana adquiere una peculiar acentuación, en relación con la mujer y su condición", escribe: "En efecto, la femineidad se encuentra en una relación singular con la Madre del Redentor, tema que podrá ser profundizado en otro lugar. Aquí deseo solamente hacer notar que la figura de María de Nazareth proyecta su luz sobre la mujer en cuanto tal por el hecho mismo de que Dios, en el sublime acontecimiento de la encarnación del Hijo, se ha confiado al ministerio, libre y activo, de una mujer. Por tanto, se puede afirmar que la mujer, mirando a María, encuentra en Ella el secreto para vivir dignamente su femineidad y llevar a cabo su propia promoción. A la luz de María, la Iglesia percibe en el rostro de la mujer los reflejos de una belleza que es espejo de los más elevados sentimientos de que es capaz el corazón humano: la ofrenda total del amor; la fuerza que sabe resistir a los más grandes dolores; la fidelidad ilimitada y la laboriosidad infatigable; la capacidad de conjugar la intuición penetrante con la palabra de apoyo y de estímulo" (Juan Pablo II, Enc. Redemptoris Mater RMA 46, AAS 79 [1987] 424-425).
[187] Juan Pablo II, Carta Ap. Mulieris dignitatem, MD 16.

Christifideles laici EN 43