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Posted October 3, 2014

Book: Understanding Love and Responsibility: A Companion to Karol Wojtyla's Classic Work
Author: Richard A Spinello
Pauline Books and Media. Boston. 2014. Pp. 179

An Excerpt from the Jacket:

After years of counseling young adults and married couples, Karol Wojtyla --- now Saint John Paul II --- published Love and Responsibility. With insights into how we think, behave, and relate to one another, Love and Responsibility is an important complement to the theology of the body.

An Excerpt from the Book:

In response to the question: How can spousal love be realized or lived out as virtuous love? Wojtyla proposes four ethical requirements. First, spousal love must always include an affirmation of the value of the person along with a sincere commitment based on that unconditional affirmation. Second, priority must be given to interpersonal union over sexual union or emotional attachment, the objective contours of love over its subjective contours. Third, spousal love always entails the attitude of responsibility for the other's well-being and ultimate fulfillment. In spousal love two lives become interwoven, and this implies the need to choose prudently so that the beloved can find herself in her spouse and he can find himself in her. Fourth, spousal love requires freedom, since the act of self-donation can only be authentic if a person freely gives himself to his spouse. A person cannot choose freely if sexual values beset the will, but only when a commitment is made to a person that affirms and acknowledges his value as a person. In freedom the will can be generous, and love's generosity extends from spirit to body, which now participates in this desire to give rather than to take. Wojtyla's ethical analysis of love brings to light why personal fulfillment does not lie in sexual satisfaction, but in an intimate relationship that entails mutual affirmation, commitment, and belonging.

Table of Contents:

1. Who is Karol Wojtyla and why read Love and Responsibility

2. The human person

3. The personalistic norm

4. What is the sexual drive?

5. The essential ingredients of love

6. The psychological and ethical aspects of love

7. Interlude

8. Chastity

9. Marriage

10. Justice to the Creator

11. Concluding thoughts