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But the book came out against contraception, and Karol Wojtyla went on to draft much of the language in Pope Paul VI's controversial 1968 directive reiterating that church prohibition. (Although many U.S. Catholics have long ignored the ban, some found their anger reignited in the 1990s when the Pope opposed AIDS-containment programs because of their use of condoms.) As Pope, he irritated both abortion-rights and population activists at a 1994 U.N. conference in Cairo by insisting on passing language that stated, "In no case should abortion be promoted as a method of family planning." In 1988 the Pope, despite standing up for female workers, asked women not to compromise their feminine "originality," which he identified with their God-given role as mothers. He ordered a draft of the English translation of his landmark revision of the church's catechism to be rewritten to remove gender-neutral language. References to "humanity" and "men and women" were out, and back in went "mankind." "Although he was second to none in talking about women and honoring women as mothers and nurturers," says former Congresswoman Geraldine Ferraro, a practicing Catholic, "the flip side is that's not the calling for every woman. And that's where he failed women."
THE CHAMPION OF ECUMENICISM
Consistently, John Paul was easier on groups outside Catholicism than he was on his own flock. He never ceased in his efforts to achieve some reconciliation with the Orthodox Christian tradition that parted with Roman Catholicism in the 11th century. In 1986 he gathered an extraordinary rainbow of religious leaders, from the Dalai Lama and the Archbishop of Canterbury to Sikh clerics and Zoroastrian priests, in the Italian town of Assisi, despite objections by Christian ultraconservatives. He was the first Pope to visit a mosque. But his most persistent and eloquent outreach was to Jews. At Vatican II, Wojtyla supported language clearing Jews of deicide and reaffirming Judaism's integrity. As Pope, he lived those words. He was the first modern Pontiff to enter a synagogue and the first to establish diplomatic relations with Israel. He referred to Jews as Christians' "elder brothers" in faith--an embrace that will make it harder for any future Pope to return to the old position that Christianity fulfilled and superseded Judaism.