Over on the Catholic men’s mailing list I operate, the question of women and work came up, and as you might expect, Pope John Paul has written on the subject in his encyclical Laborem Exercens.
His teaching obviously does not correspond to some bumper-sticker slogan about individualistic “women’s rights” or a repressive notion of “women’s place”. Instead it’s about how people are more important than money, about the dignity and value of child-raising, and yes, about motherhood as a distinct role and a vocation, whose value society needs to respect and foster.
Let me summarize the main points:
- the working world should accommodate itself to the variety of workers, men and women, to their special talents, and to their family responsibilities;
- a “family wage” should enable a father to support his family, so that the mother has the freedom to care for the development of her children.
Here’s the passage: