Blog 9: Theology of the Body

John Paul II’s “Theology of the Body” was a good read because it brings a lot of our course themes into a more modern scenario. I thought that was good because it was something that helped me connect a lot of the ideas spoken by other thinkers to different concepts.

The first theme that I saw a connection with was JPII’s ideas on contraception. His thoughts that led to our class discussion on contraception reminded me of Augustin. Augustin previously argued that sex within marriage is more sinful than permanent abstinence. This reminds me of JPII because I feel like both ideas shunned sex in a negative way. JPII argued that sex is about union and procreation and so when it is done it should be recognized that a child could form from the action.  I think that contraceptives should be used because I think people can be united without having the idea of a child in their minds. I also think it is a safe alternative for lower income families who are not able to afford children and unmarried couples.

Another theme from JPII’s writings was the difference between the role of motherhood and fatherhood. This reminded me of Hildebrand’s topic of complementarity. While JPII speaks of genders roles in parenting, Hildebrand focused on them in marriage. They both said that they believe that it is important for men and women to have different roles in the family. Gender is a social construct (scientifically proven) but I understand that these thinkers are focusing on a specific type of family. However, a family that does not fit into this gender-based mold is also capable of being healthy.

The possibility of self-gift is argued by John Paul II as he focuses in on the importance of recognition of a person. JPII believes that you can’t fall in love unless you believe the other person loves you because you hold back until the mutual feelings are confirmed. This reminded me of Joseph Ratzinger’s discussion of the Gaze. I was reminded of Ratzinger because of how discuss the importance of the gaze being mutual. His idea of Autism of Love (that we truly love seeing ourselves in other people) reminded me of JPII’s idea that we have to believe that the other person loves us too. I completely agree with this idea behind the meaning of love because I think a lot changes when a couple confesses that they are in love from when they were initially keeping those thoughts to themselves. Also, based on the fear that people have when they are going to tell someone that they love them, it is clear that the mutual aspect of love is necessary.

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3 Comments

  1. I really appreciate your commentary on contraception. This is something that is highly controversial, especially in the Catholic Church and I appreciate your genuine and honest reflection with your viewpoint on it. However, I disagree slightly with your interpretation of Augustine and John Paul II and their thoughts on sex. While Augustine may have a slightly negative view towards sex, and especially towards lust and desire, I disagree that they shun sex in a negative way. Augustine, in my opinion, argued that sex may be a cornerstone of desire, but he recognized its importance in marriage in terms of procreation and the role it plays with that. Similarly, John Paul II recognizes the importance of sex in the physical union of a man and wife. For John Paul II, he does not shun sex negatively, rather he more argues that sex is indicative of the full union of man and wife. However, I can see how his restrictive viewpoint regarding contraceptives could be interpreted negatively against sex.

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  2. I liked to hear your take on contraception. I think that it is something that a lot of people disagree on but I think it is important to use for family planning and safety. I think that Augustine definitly had some negative views about sex, and that may just have been a product of the times, btu I don’t believe that JPII had much of a negative view on sex. I think that, given his position, he has a pretty open view of human sexuality. I think that Augustine saw sex as a sin and there is no getting around that, but JPII definitely sees sex as an important part of marriage.

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  3. Like some of our classmates, I liked that you addressed the controversial topic of contraception. I understand your point of view and definitely know there are numerous situations where contraceptives could be beneficial for lower income families, but I personally am still personally uncertain on my stance on them, especially considering the Church’s position. That being said, I really appreciated that you did take a stance on the highly disputed topic. Overall, I liked that you were able to tie this reading to some more controversial modern themes.

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