FRUITFULNESS AS AN ESSENTIAL DIMENSION OF ACTS OF CONJUGAL LOVE: AN INTERPRETIVE STUDY OF THE PRE-PONTIFICAL THOUGHT OF JOHN PAUL II (ETHICS, SEXUAL, CATHOLIC MORALITY, WOJTYLA)

JOHN MICHAEL FRANCIS GRONDELSKI, Fordham University

Abstract

The teaching of the Catholic Church in Humanae Vitae that the procreative and unitive meanings of the conjugal act are conjoined by Divine Will, a nexus man should not sunder, has had a certain centrality in sexual ethics, for the shape of one's practical conclusions in sexual morality depends on whether one accepts or rejects that teaching. The controversy engendered by that teaching, especially since 1968, points to its pivotal yet neuralgic importance in Catholic ethics.^ Karol Wojtyla (Pope John Paul II) wrote extensively in his pre-papal career on marital and sexual ethics. The study examines his pre-papal corpus, from circa 1950 to 1978, to discover his position regarding the indivisibility of the procreative-unitive nexus, which he maintains should not be broken. His treatment of fruitfulness as an essential dimension of conjugal love (which should not be excised when it is present) is shown to be rooted in a personalistic ethic of love. Wojtyla's position is fundamentally based upon the moral agent's responsibility to respond to another person from a posture of love, not use, taking into account integral visions of the person and of the meaning of conjugal love. He juxtaposes love to utilitarian manipulation of the person.^ This inquiry divides Wojtyla's writings into five periods, making extended expositions of and proferring possible objections to those writings. Where Wojtyla's views diverge from those of others, especially American revisionist moralists (e.g., McCormick, Curran, Keane) mention is made. In the process of examining Wojtyla's sexual ethics, the study surveys questions relating to his philosophical anthropology, especially as regards the sexual urge and the relation of nature and person.^ This investigation attempts to indicate stages of development in Wojtyla's thought: his earliest writings, crystallization of his thought in Love and Responsibility, writings on Humanae Vitae, implications of his general philosophical writings (e.g., Acting Person) for sexual ethics, and his use in sexual ethics of the teachings and concepts of Vatican II.^ This study conceives of itself as an expository interpretation of the main lines of Wojtyla's sexual ethics, bringing them to bear on some contemporary positions in that field. ^

Subject Area

Theology

Recommended Citation

GRONDELSKI, JOHN MICHAEL FRANCIS, "FRUITFULNESS AS AN ESSENTIAL DIMENSION OF ACTS OF CONJUGAL LOVE: AN INTERPRETIVE STUDY OF THE PRE-PONTIFICAL THOUGHT OF JOHN PAUL II (ETHICS, SEXUAL, CATHOLIC MORALITY, WOJTYLA)" (1985). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI8612858.
http://fordham.bepress.com/dissertations/AAI8612858

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