All of this is, quite naturally, offensive to many, and as the Guardian reports, the document has drawn "scornful criticism" from - wait for it - "feminists and academics." I liked these quotes:
The feminist author Natasha Walter questioned whether there were essential differences between men and women at all.
"We have centuries and centuries of acculturation towards a 'vocation' of maternity, and men have only had a couple of generations of acculturation towards active paternity. Until we encourage men [to do more] it's too early to call on whether there are innate differences. The weight of tradition is so strong that it precludes the freedom to choose."
However, Eva Figes, whose book Patriarchal Attitudes was one of the major works of feminism's "second wave" in the 70s, said: "I have always thought men and women were different - we have better linguistic skills, for instance - but it wasn't politic to say so when I was writing 30 years ago."
She added: "The trouble is we all know the Pope's opinions on issues such as abortion and contraception."
Ah yes, we all know those. The trouble for Ms. Figes is, part of the reason the Church teaches the positions she does on birth control and abortion is precisely a deep concern for women, for their dignity and for the respect and reverence they are due by men (see, e.g., HV 17). Personally, I'll stick with the views that show a genuine concern for and understanding of my well-being (spiritual, emotional, social, and physical) than those of the feminists and academics. But thanks anyway :)