Love and the sexual sphere : a study of the relationship between love and sexuality in Karol Wojtyla's Love and responsibility
Olver, Jordan Matthew
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Spurred on by the controversy over contraception, the twentieth century became one of most eventful for the history of Catholic thought on human sexuality. The Catholic Church in this century experienced the rise and eventual dominance, at least at the level of the Magisterium, of a personalist approach to Marriage and sexual ethics, an approach which sought to treat of these subjects from the perspective of their relation to personal values, especially the value of love. Of those figures who were most crucial in the development of such a personalist approach, one was Karol Wojtyła. As bishop, archbishop, cardinal and finally pope, Wojtyła (John Paul II) would be involved in some of the most important events of this history, such as the drafting of Vatican II’s Gaudium et Spes and the controversy surrounding Paul VI’s Humanae Vitae. This study is intended to further an understanding of Wojtyła's role in this history by investigating his thought on human sexuality. Accurate interpretation of his actions would require knowledge about his convictions, beliefs and reasons for them. This study, however, limits itself to investigating only one of Wojtyła’s works, Love and Responsibility, and to asking one specific question of it, what relation is understood to exist between love and sexuality. This investigation leads to several important conclusions. First, Wojtyła has a definite and reasoned belief that sexuality is necessarily related to love. Second, his understanding of sexuality and its relation to love depends on his belief about the nature of love. Third, Wojtyła believes that human sexuality is related to love because a) it is the sexuality of a person and a person is the sort of entity which is able to love and ought to be loved, b) by virtue of the sexual urge attraction (a form of love) arises very easily, c) by sex (male and female) being a limitation or imbalance a special basis is created for love-as-desire (another form of love), and finally d) by sexual intercourse being a union of bodies, intercourse both expresses “betrothed love” (yet another form of love) and gives it an added perfection.
DegreeMaster of Arts (M.A.)
CommitteeStill, Carl; Reese, Alan
Copyright DateAugust 2006
love and responsibility