Mulieris Dignitatem: Pornography and the Dignity of the Soul: An Exploration of Dignity in a Protected Speech Paradigm

46 Pages Posted: 11 Dec 2009 Last revised: 12 Nov 2013

Mary Leary

Catholic University of America (CUA)

Abstract

This article, part of a symposium celebrating the 20th anniversary of Mulieris Dignitatem, reflects on Mulieris Dignitatem’s teachings, and how they can inform the issue of pornography. Modern day pornography has increased in both its quantity and severity of content. Mulieris Dignitatem offers a pathway out of this reality with its focus on the concept of dignity. The article reviews John Paul II’s emphasis on the dignity of woman and applies it to the modern day issue of pornography. The article suggests a paradigm shift from examining pornography solely through a speech and expression lens to examining the issue through a dignity lens. In so doing, the article explores John Paul II’s discussion of dignity of both men and women, as well as society as a whole. It examines some parallels between this approach and the previous civil rights approach of the feminist movement. Finally, the article invokes John Paul II’s emphasis on vocation and proposes a social movement targeting a paradigm shift to a dignity perspective rather than relying on a legal movement.

Suggested Citation

Leary, Mary, Mulieris Dignitatem: Pornography and the Dignity of the Soul: An Exploration of Dignity in a Protected Speech Paradigm. Ave Maria Law Review, Vol. 8, No. 2, 2010; CUA Columbus School of Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2009-15. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1521163 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1521163

Mary Leary (Contact Author)

Catholic University of America (CUA) ( email )

116 McMahon Hall
Washington, DC 20064
United States

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