Summary of Love and Responsibility
Summary of Love and Responsibility
Notes by John Henry Purk
(Bishop Karol Wotyla in 1958 was Pope John Paul II )
THE PERSON AND THE SEXUAL URGE
The person as the subject and object of action
Every subject (person) also exists as an object, an objective somebody.
As opposed to a something which is every other entity in the visible world.
A thing does not have intelligence or life.
A person is distinctive in that a person has the capacity to reason.
Only man has an interior life, a spiritual life, which revolves around truth and goodness.
How is one to be good and posses it to the fullness?
Man communicates with the visible and invisible world, and most importantly with God.
Man has the power of self-determination, based on reflection, and man acts from choice (which is called free will)?
Because a person has free will he is his own master. Because man has a free will he has his own personality. No one can substitute his act of will for mine.
Since the subject and object alike are persons, we ask by what principles should a human beings actions conform when their object is another human being?
The first meaning of the verb to use
To use as a verb means to employ some object of action as a means to an end. The specific end which the subject has in view.
Man alone is able to understand other created things, therefore intelligent human beings are required not to destroy or squander natural resources, but to use them with restraint, so as not to impede the development of man himself, and so as to ensure the coexistence of human societies in justice and harmony.
In his treatment of animals since animals have feelings and are sensitive to pain, man is required to ensure that the use of animals is never attended by suffering or physical torture.
The purpose of education (adults and children) is to teach the seeking of true ends. And of showing others the ways to realize true ends.
Nobody can use a person as a means towards an end, no human being, not yet God the Creator. On the part of God, indeed it is totally out of the question, thereby ordained that each man alone will decide for himself the ends of his activity, and not be a blind tool of someone else's ends.
If God intends to direct man towards goals, he allows him to begin with to know those goals, so that he may make them his own and strive towards them independently. God allows man to learn His supernatural ends, but the decision to strive towards an end, the choice of course, is left to man's free will.
God does not redeem man against his will.
Whenever a PERSON is the object of your activity, remember that you may not treat that person as only the means to an end, but must allow for the fact that he or she too, has, distinct personal ends.
Love as the opposite of using
Love between two people is unthinkable without some common good to bind them together. This good is the end which both these persons choose. When two different people consciously choose a common aim this puts them on a footing of equality, and precludes the possibility that one of them might be subordinated to the other.
Love is not ready made. It begins as a principle or idea which people must live up to in their behavior, which they must desire, to free themselves from the utilitarian, the consumer attitude towards other persons.
Employees and employers cannot use one another as mere instruments, to their own end. But if an employee and employer agree on a common good which is clearly visible, then the danger of treating persons as someone less than he really is will be reduced to almost nothing.
It is never permissible to use a person as a means to an end for another person.
In marriage, so that one does not use the other for a selfish end, both must share the same end.
The end where marriage is concerned is procreation. Procreation is the future generation, a family and the continual ripening of a relationship between two people.
The second meaning of the verb to use = enjoy
To use (enjoy) means to experience pleasure, the pleasure which is associated both with the activity itself and with the object of the activity.
In any association between a man and a woman, and in the sexual relationship the object of activity is of course always a person.
The sexual life of animals is on the natural and instinctive level, but that of man on the personal and moral level.
Because man has the power to reason he can in his actions treat pleasure as a distinct aim of his activity.
A person of the opposite sex cannot be for another person only the means to an end - in this case sexual pleasure or delight. Because a human being is a person, all enjoyment must be subordinated to love.
Only caring precludes using in this second meaning of the word use.
"Loving kindness" must be distinguished from the "intention to use" in relationships.
Critique of Utilitarianism
Utilitarianism puts the emphasis on the usefulness of any and every human activity. Uti means (to use, to take advantage of and utilis (useful).
The useful is whatever gives pleasure and to avoid its opposite what ever gives pain.
The utilitarian considers pleasure important in itself. He believes that one should attain the maximum of pleasure with a minimum of discomfort. He believes, not only the individual must act this way but society as a whole should also act this way.
So for society the utilitarian wants the maximum of pleasure possible for the greatest number of people with a minimum of discomfort for the same number.
The real mistake in this philosophy is that pleasure in itself is seen as the greatest good, to which everything else in the activity of an individual or a society should be subordinated.
But, pleasure is really incidental and may occur in the course of some action.
For a utilitarian if a person is a means to an end then I must see myself as a subject desirous of as many experiences with a positive affective charge as possible, and at the same time as an object which may be called upon to provide such experiences for others. I must then look at every person other than myself from the same point of view: as a possible means of obtaining the maximum pleasure.
Utilitarianism is a program of obtaining egoism and is incapable of evolving into authentic altruism. So if one sees pleasure as the only good, I try to obtain the maximum pleasure for someone else. Then I put a value on pleasure only in so far that it gives pleasure to me. If I cease experiencing pleasure then the pleasure of the other person ceases to be my obligation. So a utilitarianist will seek to eliminate the other persons pleasure because no pleasure for me is any longer connected to it. Or the other persons pleasure will be an indifference to me. In utilitarianism the end leads to egoism.
Love is the unification of persons not pleasure.
If two utilitarianists say lets both seek pleasure for both of us as the common good, then the practical application of this principle will never save the two from egoism. There will be a harmony only if both of their ego's match. When they cease to match and to be of advantage to each other, noting at all is left of the harmony. Their idea of love in a utilitarian concept is a union of egoisms, which can hold together only on condition that they confront each other with nothing unpleasant, nothing to conflict with their mutual pleasure. If one treats someone else as a means and a tool in relation to myself I cannot help but regard myself in the same light as a means to be used for their pleasure. This is the opposite of the commandment to love.
The commandment to love and the personalistic norm
The commandment in the New testament demands from man love for persons (others, his neighbors) - and especially for God who is the most perfect personal Being.
Utilitarianism is the opposite to love because it cannot guarantee the love of one person for another. Thecommandments speaks of love for others while the utilitarian principle points to pleasure not only as the basis on which we act but as the basis for rules of human behavior. The principle of utility which is to treat persons as a means to maximization of pleasure will always stand in the way of love. If one accepts utilitarianism then the commandment to love is meaningless.
The commandment to love is only based on the personalistic norm. The value of the person is always greater than the value of pleasure. This is why the person can never be subordinated to a lesser end such as the means to pleasure. This norm demands a certain way of relating to God and to other people.
In order to treat others fairly and to be just means to give others what is rightly due to them.
A person's rightful due is to be treated as an object of love, not as an object for use.
Love for a person must consist in affirmation that the person has a value higher than that of an object for consumption or use. A person who loves shows it by their behavior, so he should be just towards another person.
Sexuality is so easily connected with the concept of love, so it is an arena of constant conflict between two fundamentally different value systems, the personalistic and the utilitarian.
St. Augustine distinguishes between uti and frui.
Uti = an intent on pleasure with no concern for the person.
Frui = joy is found in a totally committed relationship with a person because this is what the nature of the person demands.
Interpretation of the sexual urge
Instinct or urge
A human being is conscious of his free will, his ability to decide for himself, and so by reflex action resists everything that does violence in any way to that freedom. Man is by nature capable of rising above instinct in his actions.
The sexual urge is a natural drive born in all human beings, which their whole existence develops and perfects itself from within. Something happens to man, something beings to take place without any initiative on his part.
This internal happening creates a base for definite actions, for considered actions, in which man exercises self-determination, decides for himself about his own actions and takes responsibility for them. This is the point at which human freedom and the sex urge meet.
Man is not responsible for what happens to him in the sphere of sex since he is obviously not himself the cause of it, but he is entirely responsible for what he does in this sphere.
The sexual urge as an attribute of the individual
Every human person is a sexual being and is a member of one of the two sexes.
Sexual attraction makes obvious the fact that the attributes of the two sexes are complementary, so that a man and a woman can complete each other. The properties which the woman possess are not possessed by the man and vice versa. There exists for each of them not only the possibility of supplementing his or her own attributes with those of a person of the other sex, but at times a keenly felt need to do so.
The urge to mutual completion which accompanies this division indicates that the attributes of each sex possess some specific value for the other.
The sexual urge is always in the natural course of things directed towards another human being
If directed towards person of the same sex it is a homosexual deviation
if directed towards an animal it is a deviation
The sexual urge is in control of the person and it can be directed freely by the person
In man the sexual urge is naturally subordinated to the will
The sexual urge does not determine human behavior but leaves room for the free exercise of the will
The sexual urge and existence
Human existence can only be maintained only so long as individual people, men and women, human couples, obey the sexual urge.
Now existence is the first and basic good for the creature. The existence of the species is the first and basic good for that species
All other goods derive from this first good
I can only act if I exist, if I am.
Man's works, the creations of the genius, the fruits of holiness in the saints are only possible if the man comes into existence.
the natural route human beings come into existence passes through the sexual urge
Although sexual urge is there for man to use it must not contradict love for the person
The proper end of the sexual urge is the existence of the species, Homo sapiens and love between persons.
If people try to circumvent procreation by artificial means it has a damaging effect on the love between persons
Individually, the man and woman facilitate the existence of another concrete person, their own child, blood of their blood and flesh of their flesh.
This child is an affirmation and a continuation of their own love.
The religious Interpretation
The sexual urge has a profoundly religious significance
The established order of human existence is the work of the Creator
Existence did not happen once and for all but is a work continually in progress. God creates continually
The source and final cause of existence of all creatures is always to be found in God.
Through married intercourse, existence is transmitted
Man and woman are the rational co-creators of a new human being, who is a person
The parents take part in the genesis of a person
When a new human is conceived a new spirit is conceived simultaneously
The physical relationship between persons ought to be the result of love between persons
Full development of a human person is the result of education.
People are educated. Animals are trained.
Grace is the continuation of the work and education of the person by God.
A man and woman through their conjugal life and a full sexual relationship link themselves with the natural order of existence and agree to take a special part in the work of creation.
The sexual urge owes its objective importance to its connection with the divine work of creation and this importance vanishes if our way of thinking is inspired only by the biological order of nature.
The Rigorist Interpretation or the Puritanical Interpretation
It grew up around the 17th century in England probably as a result of sensualist empiricism.
It is a form of Utilitarianism
It is expressed by the interpretation that in using man and woman and their sexual intercourse to assure the existence of the species, the Creator Himself uses persons as the means to His end.
A man thus does well when he uses a woman as the indispensable means of obtaining posterity.
The rigorists want to only have sexual intercourse used for procreation and see seeking pleasure and enjoyment in intercourse as wrong, they see it as a necessary evil, and this evil must be tolerated since there is no way of eliminating it
The Creators will is not only the preservation of the species by way of sexual intercourse but also its preservation on the basis of a love worthy of human persons.
The Creator designed this joy, and linked it with love between man and woman in so far as that love develops on the basis of the sexual urge in a normal manner, in other words in a manner worthy of human persons.
The Libidinistic Interpretation
Sigmund Freud speaks above all of the pleasure principle and not of the sexual urge.
Freud sees the sexual urge fundamentally as an urge to enjoy
Man is internally conditioned to seek the sexual urge in everything he does
pleasure is the primary aim of the sexual urge
pleasure is an end in itself
procreation is only a secondary end or an accident
if the sexual urge is seen primarily as a drive for enjoyment then the inner life of the person is ignored or negated
man is only a subject not an object capable of objectively knowing truth objectively
Man is aware of the sexual urge,. He recognizes his place in the order of existence, and at the same time discovers the part which the sexual urge plays in that order. He is even capable of understanding his role in relation to the Creator as a form of participation in the work of creation.
Man must assume full responsibility for the way in which the sexual urge is used.
The libidinistic distortion is a frank form of utilitarianism
Malthusianism - founded by Thomas Malthus
Children must be maintained and educated
Humanity is in the grip of a great anxiety that it will not be able economically to keep up with the natural increase in population, this predominates in white civilized societies
Followers of Malthus also aim at putting the primary use of the sexual urge as subjective pleasure and want to limit its objective use of procreation
it is a form of utilitarianism = what matters is to maximize the pleasure which sex affords
Catholic thinking says that no one must take pleasure as his sole guide where a relationship with another person is concerned - a person can never be an object of use.
the value of the person is the most precious good - more immediate and greater than any economic good
Three aims of marriage in this order
Marriage objectively considered must first provide first of all the means of continuing existence. This is a more important purpose than man and woman living together, supporting each other and complementing each other.
second it provides a conjugal life for man and woman. This is more important than the appeasement of natural desire.
and third a legitimate orientation for desire
However love and procreation are not opposed nor does procreation take precedence over love.
These aims are objective and not subject to any subjectivist interpretation
By reason of the fact that man and woman are persons they must consciously seek to realize the aims of marriage according to the order of priority given above,
because this order is objective, accessible to reason and therefore binding on human persons.
The practical realization of all the purposes of marriage also means the successful practice of love as a virtue
To rule out the possibility of procreation reduces or destroys the possibility of an enduring marital relationship of mutual education.
Also procreation unaccompanied by reciprocal education would be incomplete with love between persons. For it is not only the numerical increase of the world but also of education.
Those who cut themselves off from the natural results of conjugal intercourse ruin the spontaneity and depth of their experiences, especially if artificial means are used to this end.
The Person and Love
Metaphysical analysis of love
The word "love" has more than one meaning
Love is always a mutual relationship between persons.
It is bound up with the greatest commandment to love.
Things common to love
Love as attraction
If one is attracted to another they are seen as a good.
That the two parties so easily attract to each other is due to the sexual urge.
The sexual urge - is a force in persons and insists on being raised to the personal level
Liking of the person of the other sex is connected to knowledge.
To be attracted means a commitment to think of that person as a certain good
This commitment can only be affected by the will
The emotions are present at the birth of love
Since man and woman are corporeal and spiritual beings, they are also a corporeal & spiritual good.
Attraction is of the essence of love and in some sense is indeed love, although love is not merely attraction. Attraction is one of the essential aspects of love.
Feelings for others arise spontaneously - the attraction that one feels towards another begins suddenly and unexpectedly
Where feelings are functioning naturally they are not concerned about the truth of their object
Truth for man is a function of his reason
Emotional - affective reactions may equally well further or hinder an attraction to a true good.
Emotional and affective reactions often tend to distort or falsify attractions
This can be very dangerous to love
for when emotional reactions are spent - and they are naturally fleeting - the subject, whose whole attitude was based on such reaction and not on the truth about the other person is left as it were in a void, bereft of that good which he or she appeared to have found
this emptiness and the feeling of disappointment which goes with it often produce an emotional reaction in the opposite direction
a purely emotional love often becomes an equally emotional hatred for the same person
this is why the truth about the person during attraction is so important
People believe that love can be reduced largely to a question of the genuineness of feelings
The truth of the person must be at least as important as the truth of the sentiments
These two truths properly integrated give to an attraction a perfection which is one of the elements of a good and cultivated love.
There must be a direct attraction to the person; a response to particular qualities inherent in a person and not merely attractive because of certain qualities which he or she possesses.
An attraction which fastens first and foremost upon the value of the person has the value of complete truth; the good to which it addresses is precisely the person, and something else.
The object of attraction which is seen by the subject as a good is also seen as a thing of beauty.
A human being is a person, a being whose nature is determined by his or her inwardness.
It is therefore necessary to discover and to be attracted by the inner as well as the outer beauty, and perhaps indeed to be more attracted by the inner than the outer beauty.
The attraction on which love is based must originate not just in a reaction to visible and physical beauty, but also in a full and deep appreciation of the beauty of the person.
Love as Desire
Because a person is a limited being, not self-sufficient - humans need other beings.
Realization of the limitation and insufficiency of the human being is the starting point for an understanding of man's relation to God. Man needs God, as does every other creature simply in order to be.
A human being is either a man or a woman, sex is a limitation, an imbalance.
A man therefore needs a woman, and vice versa to complete his own being.
This objective need makes itself felt through the sexual urge.
There is a profound difference between love as desire and desire itself, especially sensual desire. (concupiscence).
When a human being becomes a means for the satisfaction of desire it is similar to lusting after a woman as Jesus says. Therefore love as desire cannot be reduced to desire itself.
Love must not be predominantly desire and rob and deform love between man and woman
Because you are good for me, the good which satisfies the need is in one sense useful. But to be useful is not the same as being an object for use.
When a man or woman wants another because they are a good for me, as a longing for the person and not as mere sensual desire this is ok.
Desire can never become utilitarian but must have its roots in the personalistic principle.
Desire is in man's love for God, because man sees that to desire God is a good for himself.
The analysis of desire demands a certain perfection so it is not equated with sensual desires.
Love as Goodwill
The person finds in love the greatest possible fullness of being, of objective existence.
Genuine love perfects the life and enlarges the existence of the person.
Love would be false and evil if it did not go beyond love as desire. For love as desire is not the whole essence of love between persons.
It is not enough to long for a person as a good for oneself, one must also, above all, long for that person's good.
If love for each other is not benevolent it is not love but egoism.
Goodwill is free of self-interest. Self interest as a trace is conspicuous in love as desire.
Goodwill is the same as selflessness in love. Not I long for you as a good, but I long for your good. I long for that which is good for you. This is the purest form of love.
The person who experiences this kind of love does more to perfect the person who experiences it, it brings the subject and the object of that love the greatest fulfillment.
Genuine love as goodwill can keep company with love as desire, provided that desire does not overwhelm all else in the love of man and woman. Desire should not become its entire content and meaning.
The Problem of Reciprocity
Reciprocity is the love between persons. It is not just two loves a love in the man and a love in the womanbut a love common to both. It is one love.
The route from one I to the other leads through the free will, through a commitment of the will. The route may however be a one way street. This is unrequited love.
Unrequited love if present for a very long time is due to some inner obstinacy.
Unrequited love condemns first to stagnation then to gradual extinction in the person who feels it.
Love is basically between two persons, it is shared, it is interpersonal, not an individual matter.
Love is a force which joins and unites. A single we comes about from two I's.
Reciprocity is a proof that love has matured.
One who desires another's love desires another person above all as co-creator of love and not merely as the object of appetite.
Love as desire becomes more conspicuous especially when one of them fears the other's unfaithfulness.
Aristotle said that if love is a genuine good (an honest good) reciprocity is something deep, mature and virtually indestructible. On the other hand if it is created only by self interest, utility or pleasure then it is superficial and impermanent.
To think of another person as a friend that one can rely on, a friend who will never prove false, is for the person who loves a source of peace and joy. Peace and joy are fruits of love very closely bound up with its very essence. When reciprocity assumes durability and reliability, trust in another occurs, and this brings freedom from suspicion and from jealousy.
If on the other hand if both persons bring to their mutual love only or mainly desire, if their aim is to merely use each other or seek pleasure, then it is impossible to put ones trust in another. It is equally impossible to put your trust in a person if you yourself have the same thing as your main object (pleasure and use).
This is where love because of its nature takes its revenge.
If one person does not have genuine love, but utilitarian aims many suspicions & jealousies will occur.
Sharing their lives gives couples an opportunity to test their good faith and to reinforce it by virtue. Life then together becomes a school for self-perfection.
If one of the parties brings a consumer attitude or a utilitarian intent then mere pleasure is not enough to bind and unite people for long. They will remain together just as long as they remain a source of pleasure or profit for each other. This is when the illusion of reciprocity's bubble bursts. It not reciprocity then mere egoism will result.
Genuine reciprocity cannot arise from two egoisms.
It is necessary to analyze love not only from the psychological but the ethical point of view.
People should always verify their love before exchanging declarations and especially before acknowledging it as their vocation and beginning to build their lives upon it.
More precisely they should assay that which is in each of the two co-creators of this love and by extension what there is "between" them. They must determine what their reciprocity relies on as to whether it is real or only apparent.
The structure of love is that of a interpersonal communion, not two I's or a combination of two egoisms.
From sympathy to friendship
Sympathy means - to experience together
That which happens between people in the realm of their emotions that by which emotional and affective experiences unite people
This happens to them, it is not their doing, it is not the result of acts of the will
It is a manifestation of experience rather than activity
People succumb to it in ways which they sometimes find incomprehensible. The will is captured by the pull of emotions and sensations which bring two people close together regardless of whether one of them has consciously chosen the other as the object of his or her love
It is love at a purely emotional stage, at which no decision of the will, no act of choice as yet plays its proper part
At most the will consents to the existence of a sympathy and the direction it takes
Sympathy awakens an emotional response to another person and enhances the value of the person
This 'plus' is born with sympathy but it can also die with it since it depends on the emotional attitude to the person. Or it can change gradually into an unqualified belief in that person's worth.
There is subjectivism involved in sympathy
Sympathy often takes possession of one's feelings and will irrespective of the objective worth of the person for whom it is felt.
The value of the emotion matters rather than the value of the person
Sympathy is weak because it lacks objectivity
Only sympathy - has the power to make people feel closer to each other
Sympathy makes them aware of their mutual love
However sympathy is not the whole of love, it is only one element among others
The most important element of love is the will - which has the power to create love in a human being and between people
Sympathy becomes friendship
In friendship the decisive part is played by the will. I desire a good for you just as I desire a good for myself. "I want what is good for you."
The Doubling of the "I" emphasizes the unification of persons in friendship.
Your I and my I form a mutual unity - the will especially inclined to both of them
In friendship the will is actively involved, the person chooses to make friends. When in sympathy the will acquiesces to emotion.
Objectively friendship says " I want what is good for you" but it can be deprived of the emotional warmth which sympathy supplies.
Sympathy brings warmth and communication to friendship which is chosen by the will
Love needs the subjective (Sympathy) and objective (Friendship) together.
A relationship like marriage should be based on friendship but is often based on sympathy.
Friendship is a full commitment to another person with a view to that persons good.
Emotions (sympathy) can commit the will but only in a subjective superficial fashion. Friendship demands a sincere commitment of the will with the fullest possible objective justification.
Sympathy has a tendency to become friendship.
Only things justified by free will and belief acquire full value. No mere sense or emotion can take the place of this justification.
A mistake people make (man and woman) is to leave love at the level of sympathy with no conscious decision to mold it into friendship.
One consequence is that people think when sympathy breaks down love is also at an end.
Love cannot merely find an outlet for one's feelings in sexual relief.
In the "Art" of "Education in Love", sympathy and friendship must interpenetrate without hindering each other.
It is against the rules of this "art" to let sympathy (combined with a powerful sensual and physical attraction) obscure the need to create friendship and make it impossible to practice. This is the reason for many failures and disasters to which human love is exposed.
The subjective and objective shapes of love do not fit and they must.
Love is a subjective thing because it resides in persons but it must be free of subjectivity. It must be objective within the subject. For this reason it can't be mere sympathy, but must include friendship.
You may test the maturity of the friendship between 2 persons by asking whether it is accompanied by sympathy.
Only if it does is it a friendship on the basis of which 2 people can build a marriage.
Gives a man and a woman an objective common interest
Binds many people together
Friendship - binds only a few
Comradeship is different from sympathy and friendship
Comradeship is not confined mainly to the emotional affective sphere of life
Comradeship rests on such objective foundations as joint work, common goals and shared concerns.
"I want your good as much as I want my own."
Sharing around objective factors is distinctive of comradeship.
Love develops by way of attraction, desire and goodwill. Love however finds its full realization not in an individual subject but in a relationship between subjects, between persons.
A problem with friendship is reciprocity. Two "I"'s must become a "we".
Love is not just an aspiration but a coming together, a unification of persons.
Love takes place on the basis of attraction, desire and goodwill which develops in individual subjects.
It's character is giving one's own person (to another). The essence of betrothed love is self-giving, the surrender of one's I. (It can be to a human person or to God the ultimate person).
It is more than attraction, desire, goodwill, sympathy and friendship.
In betrothed love two people give themselves each to the other
Christ said it "He who loses his soul for my sake shall find it." Matt 10:39
Self perfection proceeds side by side and step by step with love.
The world of persons possesses it's own laws of existence and of development.
In giving ourselves we find clear proof that we possess ourselves.
Different manifestations of this love are present - but they vary greatly
Devotion of mother to child
Relationship of self giving in the relationship of a doctor to this patient
A teacher who is devoted to the education of this pupil
Pastor who is devoted to a soul
In order to give oneself entirely to the vocation of doctor, teacher, pastor, it suffices to desire the good of those for whom these duties are performed.
This is different from betrothed love
For in matrimony 2 persons have a mutual devotion one to the other.
However, there is a danger for the woman to only see her role as to give herself to man" and for the man to experience possessing woman.
In betrothed love the man simultaneously gives himself in return for the woman's gift of herself to him, and the two (man and woman) conscious experience will differ, but none the less, it must be a real giving of himself to another person. If it is not a real danger occurs that the man may treat the woman as an object and an object to use.
When man and woman give themselves in matrimony it must be monogamous.
sexual intercourse has the effect of limiting that love to a single pair of persons, although it gains in intensity
only when it is limited can that love open itself fully to the children
Betrothed love should ally itself with goodwill and friendship
The lover 'goes outside' the self to find a fuller existence in another.
PSYCHOLOGICAL ANALYSIS OF LOVE
Sense impression and emotion
Elements of Man's psychological life
Sense impression - content of any sensory reaction to objective stimuli
Motor responses -
External senses - establish immediate contact with an object that is present to them
Interior senses - maintain contact when the object is no longer within the immediate range of the external senses
A sensory image is often connected with a particular feeling or reaction.
Emotion - in an emotion we are reacting to a value which we find in that object
Sense impression - is a reaction to content
Emotion is a reaction to value
Emotions can be evoked by
material values - which are shallower and superficial
spiritual value - which goes deeper into man's psyche
A more intense experience occurs when an emotion is also felt
Impressions of others are accompanied by emotions, this enables two persons (a woman and man) each to experience the other as a value.
Analysis of sensuality
What first reveals itself in an impression of another person is the content available to the senses. An 'external image' of the other person arises.
This image is not merely a reflection of a body but it is a reflection of a 'human being'. A human being of the other sex.
Sensuality - implies experiencing a particular value bound up with this sensory awareness.
A sexual value is connected with the body of a person of the other sex.
However, when sensuality is only stirred, a body is commonly experienced as a 'potential object of enjoyment.' Sensuality in itself has a 'consumer orientation' which is directed primarily and immediately towards a body; it touches a person indirectly and tends to avoid direct contact.
Sensuality interferes with contemplating the beautiful, because it introduces a consumer attitude, the body is regarded as a potential object of exploitation.
Sensuality is matter of spontaneous reflexes. It is not primarily an evil thing but a natural thing.
A man & woman's sexual life is naturally directed towards procreation & the other sex serves this end.
But a human person can not be an object for use. The body cannot be detached from the whole person.
A sensual reaction in which the body and sex are a possible object for use, threatens to devalue the person.
Conscience reacts when the 'body and sex' are divorced from the person so that 'body and sex' are left alone as a 'possible object of use' or else to a valuation of the person exclusively as 'body and sex'.
Sensuality by itself is not love and may very easily become its opposite.
Sensuality must be open to the other nobler elements of love.
Sensuality is itself quite blind to the person, and oriented only towards the sexual value connected with the body.
Sensuality is fickle, turning wherever it finds value, wherever a 'possible object of enjoyment' appears.
It is not only the external senses that serve sensuality but also the inner senses of Imagination and Memory with assistance of the imagination and memory we can make contact even with the 'body' of a person not physically present.
Sensual excitability as a natural and congenital characteristic of a concrete person is not in itself morally wrong.
It may help a person to respond more readily and completely to the decisive elements in personal love.
Sentiment and love
Sentimentality and sensuality are different.
Sensuality - is when direct contact between man and woman produces an impression which may be accompanied by an emotion. When this emotion has as its object a sexual value residing in the 'body' itself as a 'possible object of enjoyment' it is sensuality.
Sentimentality - when this direct contact between man and woman has a sexual value that is not connected with just a body itself as a possible object of enjoyment but is connected with the whole personof the other sex,
then the object of emotional experience for a woman will be the value masculinity and for a man the value femininity.
For example strength in man and charm and woman is connected not just with the body but the whole person. When it is directed to the whole person of the opposite sex it is femininity and masculinity.
Sentimentality is the source of affection.
Note: Sensuality and sentimentality have the same basis of sensory intuition but its inner content is different.
In sentimentality the content of the sense impression is the whole person, the whole man or whole woman. No desire to use the other is discernible within the limits of affection and sentimentality. It is compatible with the contemplative moods which go with a sense of beauty and responsiveness to aesthetic values.
In sensuality the body stands out.
In sentimentality the whole person stands out. In sentiment we do not see this whole drive towards conspicuous enjoyment .
Sentimental love keeps two people close together even if they are physically apart. This love embraces memory and imagination but does not arouse the will but only charms and disarms it. This affectionate love is not indeed focused on the body as is sensuality. For that reason it is so frequently identified with spiritual love.
Woman is by nature more sentimental and man more sensual.
Man is more readily compelled to disclose and objectivize his love for woman.
Man is more active in his role but a responsibility is imposed upon him.
In woman sensuality is concealed by sentimentality. Thus by nature a woman will see a relationship as a manifestation of affection and man will see a relationship as an effect of sensuality and a desire for enjoyment.
Woman is naturally seen as more passive when compared to man, although she is more active in affection. Woman is more subjective. Therefore their responsibilities are different in their roles.
Sentimentality is free from any consumer orientation of each others body, but is directed to the whole person and their femininity or masculinity. However sentimentality has a tendency to see the value of the other person grow out of all proportion to his or her real value.
Sentimental love influences imagination and memory and is influenced by memory and imagination.
This explains why values are bestowed upon another which he or she does not possess in reality. These are ideal values not real values.
Sentimental love has a wish and a dream that these various values be found in the other person.Sentiment call them into being and endows that person with these values, so as to make the emotional commitment still fuller.
In young love the ideal is more powerful than the real and another human being becomes merely the occasion for an eruption (rather than an object to love) in another persons emotions of the values which he or she longs with all his heart to find in another person.
Sentimentality is subjective and can feed on values which one has within themself, and for which they consciously or unconsciously yearn for. Sentiment suffers from subjectivism.
In sentimentality the person does not depend for its life on that person's true value, but on those values to which the subject clings as to its ideal.
This is why sentimental love is very often a cause of disillusionment.
the woman can discover with time that a mans sentimentality is a screen for the man's concupiscence to only use her as an object of enjoyment
Man and woman alike may be disillusioned to find that the values ascribed to the beloved person are fictitious.
The difference between the ideal and the real person results in sentimental love fading and changing into a feeling of hatred.
Therefore sentimental love is also insufficient by itself as a form of reciprocal relationship between a man and a woman.
It too needs to be integrated as does sexual desire.
Sensuality or sex appeal is not love at all, but only the utilization of one person by another or of two persons by each other. Sentimentality is also not a complete love and may be by itself only a consumer phenomenon.
The problem of integrating love
Man has an interior life and its most essential characteristics are
Truth and freedom
Truth is a condition of freedom
If a person can preserve his freedom in relation to objects that thrust themself upon a person it is only because he can see these objects in the light of truth & have an independent attitude to them.
Without this faculty man would be determined by objects. These objects would take possession of him and direct his whole activity.
Because man can discover the truth it gives him the possibility of self-determination, the character and direction of his own actions and this is what freedom means.
Summary of love between persons
Originates in the sexual instinct
Has immediate consequences in an experience that centers around sexual value
This value is associated with a person of the other sex.
When the value is connected primarily with the body and leans to use the other person for enjoyment = sensuality
When the value is connected with the whole person it shifts to sentiment.
Characteristics of love
Love aims at integration 'within the person' and at the same time
Integration 'between persons'.
Integration - from the Latin = integer = whole, so integration means making whole or complete.
The process of integrating love relies on the primary elements of the human spirit
Truth and freedom
Love is always an interior matter - a matter of the spirit
When it ceases to be an interior matter and a matter of the spirit it ceases to be love.
The will is our final authority and the will must participate.
Freedom is bound up with the value of the person.
Freedom is a property of the will
Love demands freedom
The process of integration which accompanies sexual love involves an unconditional commitment of the will.
A really free commitment of the will is possible only on the basis of truth. The experience of freedom goes hand in hand with the experience of truth.
Love is both subjective (an experience of persons) and also objective. Love insists on objective truth.
The ethical analysis of love
Experience and virtue
Is a way of looking at things that excluded no general and abstract norms but only puts value on each situational experience.
this view proclaims the primacy of experience over virtue.
However, freedom of the will is possible only if it rests on truth
it is also man's duty to choose the true good
duty displays the freedom of the human will
Situationism and existentialism, reject duty in the name of freedom
this denies any understanding of free will
the freedom of the human will is most fully displayed in morality through duty
Human love is integrated not in psychology but in ethics
There is no possibility of psychological completeness in love unless ethical completeness is attained
The personalistic norm finds its expression in the commandment to love.
Love as experience should be subordinated to love as virtue
Elements of love that are most important
Affirmation of the value of the person
A person differs from a thing (animal or object) in structure and in degree of perfection
A person can have an interior life and (this acknowledges the human soul)
A person can be perfected. This determines the value of the person.
Every person of the opposite sex possesses value
First as a person and then
Only secondarily possesses a sexual value
When love is integrated (complete) = the sexual value of the person is subordinated to the value that a 'person has value'
When love is not integrated = the affirmation of the value of the person is absent and not love at all even though the reactions and experiences concerned have an erotic character.
A virtue not just an emotion
And still less a mere excitement of the senses
Love as a virtue is
Produced in the will,
Is an authentic commitment of the free will of one person
Resulting from the truth about another person.
Love as a virtue is oriented by the will towards the value of the person
Love is connected with
Emotional love - a response to femininity and masculinity. This may bring a person closer to a human being but can easily 'miss the person.'
Sensual desire - love is directed merely to the body (and the person can be merely used).
Value of the person
Emotional love and sensual desire must be bound tightly to the value of the person.
Love is not directed toward the body alone, nor towards a human being of the other sex who has femininity and masculinity but
Love is directed toward a person
Love is only love when it is directed to another person.
Sensuality and sentimentality
Bypasses the real person. Prevents the awareness of the real affirmation of the person.
Affirmation of the value of a person can lead in two directions
The way to control experiences of sensuality and emotionalism
The choice of one's principal vocation in life
This involves choosing another person (other sex or God).
Membership of one another
Love can not be mere use of another even if enjoyment is mutual and simultaneous.
Love finds its proper expression in the union of persons.
The result of unification, is that each belongs to the other.
The unification of the two persons must first be achieved by way of love, and sexual relations between them can only be the expression of a unification already complete.
love is subjective
love is objective
experience caused by a sexual value
hinges on the awareness of the sexual value in the other person
friendship based on shared goods
two subjects each experiencing love for each other
unification of two persons with the result they belong to each other
The measure of the grandeur of betrothed love is the value of the person who gives himself or herself, and not just the degree of sensual and sexual enjoyment, which accompanies the gift of self.
Take away from love the 1. Fullness of self surrender and 2. The completeness of personal commitment and what remains is = prostitution.
Love is of its nature reciprocal. Love gives and it receives.
There is a skill in giving and receiving
Can be a skill in 'love' or in 'egoism'.
The Skill in Giving And Receiving in Love Is Exhibited by
The Man Whose Attitude to a Woman Is Informed by Total Affirmation of Her Value as a Person and
Equally by the Woman Whose Attitude to a Man Is Informed by Affirmation of His Value as a Person
A Woman can only give the gift of her self only if she fully believes in the value of her person and in the value as a person of the man to whom she gives herself
And a man is capable of fully accepting a woman's gift of herself only if he is fully conscious of the magnitude of the gift - which he cannot be unless he affirms the value of her person.
Realization of the value of the gift awakens the need to show gratitude and to reciprocate in ways which would match its value.
Love has to rise to the plane of the person - it is the person that we are commanded to love.
Choice and responsibility
There exists in love a particular responsibility
Responsibility for love clearly comes down to responsibility for the person, originates in it & returns to it.
This immense responsibility can only be understood by one who has a complete awareness of the value of the person.
The person who only reacts to the sexual value of the person but cannot see the value of the person as such will always go on confusing love and eros, will complicate his own life and that of others by letting the reality of love escape him.
Being responsible for another is never in itself an unpleasant or painful felling. Because it is an enrichment and a broadening of the human being.
Love divorced from responsibility is only egoism.
The greater feeling of responsibility for the person the more true love there is.
Only if it is objectively good for two persons to be together can they belong to each other.
One must continually discover himself in the other and the other in himself.
Only the spirituality and the inwardness of persons create the conditions for mutual interpenetration, which enables each to live in and by the other.
The choice of the person of the opposite sex
The choice of a person of the other sex as the object of betrothed love, and as the co-creator of that love by way of reciprocity, must depend to a certain extent on sexual values.
Sexual values is connected
Not just with the body as a possible object of enjoyment
But with the total impression made by a human being of the other sex - by the womanliness or manliness of that other person. This is the more important impression.
If #1 exists or predominates love will be made for difficult and especially the process of choosing a person to love will be more difficult.
For in choosing a person sexual values cannot by the sole or primary motive. This is at odds with the veryconcept of choosing a person.
If sexual values were the primary motive then we are not choosing a person but
Choosing only the opposite sex
Or choosing a particular body which is a potential object of enjoyment
If we talk about choosing a person we must talk about the value of the person as the primary reason for this choice.
Each person (man and woman) chooses the sexual values because they belong to a person and not the person because of his or her sexual values.
If one starts by choosing a person because of their sexual values (primarily) then this choice is inevitably the starting point for a love that is incapable of integration, a love that is defective and invalid.
Love is put to the test most severely when
The sensual and emotional reactions themselves grow weaker, and sexual values as such lose their effect.
Nothing then remains except the value of the person, and the inner truth about the love of those concerned comes to light.
If their love is a true gift of self, so that they belong each to the other, it will not only survive but grow stronger and sink deeper roots.
But if it were a sort of synchronization of sensual and emotional experiences it will lose its reason and the persons involved in it will suddenly find themselves in a vacuum.
Don't forget only when love between human beings is put to the test can its true value be seen.
A certain anxiety is present if sensual and emotional experiences are not always present. (An immature relationship.)
A love that has matured within the subject frees itself from this anxiety by its choice of person. The emotion becomes more serene and confident, for it ceases to be absorbed entirely in itself and attaches itself instead to its object, to the beloved person. As a result the emotion becomes simpler and soberer.
The love for a person which results from a valid act of choice is concentrated on the value of the person as such and makes us feel emotional love for the person as he or she really is, not for the person of our imagination, but for the real person.
We love the person complete with all his or her virtues and faults, and up to a point independently of those virtues and in spite of those faults.
the strength of this love emerges above all when the beloved person stumbles, when his or her weaknesses or even sins come into the open.
one who truly love does not then withdraw his love, but loves all the more, loves in full consciousness of the other's shortcomings and faults, and without in the least approving of them. For the person as such never loses its essential value. The emotion which attaches itself to the value of the person remains loyal to the human being.
The commitment of freedom
Openly true knowledge of a person makes it possible to commit one's freedom to him or her
Love consists of limiting one's freedom on behalf of another.
Freedom exists for the sake of love.
if freedom is not used for the sake of love it gives human beings a feeling of emptiness andunfullfilment. (Freedom belongs to the will).
Man longs for love more than he longs for freedom. Freedom is the means and love the end.
If love is based on truth then a genuine commitment of freedom is possible.
The will cannot allow an object to be imposed upon it as a good. The will wants to choose and in choosing the affirmation of the value of the person (object) is chosen. When a man chooses a woman he affirms her value.
Analysis of a person who has not succumbed to mere passion but has preserved his inner purity
He is usually caught in the struggle between sexual instinct and the need for freedom
when the will succumbs to sensual attraction it begins to feel desire for another person
sentiment frees desire of its carnal, consumer character, and gives it instead a longing for a human being of the other sex
as long as the will merely capitulates to the object of sensual attraction and emotional yearning it cannot make its proper creative contribution to love
the will only loves when it consciously commits its freedom in respect to another person whose value is recognized and affirmed.
willed love expresses itself above all in the desire of what is good for the beloved person.
the will of its nature desires the good, the good without limits, which is happiness
The sexual instinct makes the will desire & long for a person because of the person's sexual value
The will, however does not want to stop at this it wants to be free to desire everything relating to the unqualified good, the unlimited good, that is happiness.
And it commits this capacity, its natural and noble potentiality to the other person concerned. It desires the absolute good, the unlimited good, the happiness for that person and in this way compensates and atones for the desire to have that other person, a person of the other sex for itself.
The will does not only combat the sexual urge but it assumes (within the framework of betrothed love) responsibility for the natural purpose of the sexual instinct.
this is of course the continuation of the human race = a child shall be the fruit of conjugal love between a man and a woman
The sexual instinct wants above all to take over, to make use of another person, whereas love wants to give, to create a good, to bring happiness.
Betrothed love must be permeated with friendship.
To desire unlimited good for another person is really to desire God for that person; He alone is the objective fullness of the good, and only His goodness can fill every man to overflowing. It is through its connection with happiness, with the fullness of the good, that human love comes closest to God.
The moral force of true love lies precisely in this desire for the happiness, for the true good, of anotherperson, this is what makes a man aware of the riches within him, his spiritual fertility and creativity.
One must know how to transfer love to the ordinary affairs of everyday life.
THE EDUCATION OF LOVE
Can love be improved by education? Yes!!!
Love is not complete from the start
Those who think it is complete from the start especially in the young tend to prevent the integration of love from occurring.
Love is not ready made but a task.
Love is something that is never is, but is always becoming.
What love becomes depends upon the contribution of both persons and the depth of their commitment.
Man was created to create. A great love can only be the work of persons - and to complete the picture - the work of Divine Grace.
Love is primarily the work of man.
The operation of grace is implicit in these efforts, for they are the contribution of the invisible Creator who is Himself love, and has the power to fashion any love, including that which in its natural development is based on the values of sex and the body - PROVIDED THAT HUMAN BEINGS ARE WILLING TO BE HIS CONSCIOUS CO-CREATORS.
The purpose of love and its actions is what we have called the integration of love 'within' the person and 'between' the persons.
Love can disintegrate between man and woman but CHASTITY guards against this disintegration.
THE PERSON AND CHASTITY
The rehabilitation of chastity
When a virtue is no longer welcome in the human soul, the human will it ceases to have any real existence
Chastity and resentment
Resentment arises in weakness of the will in an erroneous and distorted sense of values.
In order to attain a higher value one must exert a greater effort of the will
So in order to spare ourselves the effort, to excuse our failure to obtain this value, we minimize its significance, deny it the respect it deserves
resentment possesses the distinctive characteristic of the cardinal sin sloth.
sloth is a sadness arising from the fact that the good is difficult to obtain
Resentment is a result of original sin
in order to free us from resentment we must rehabilitate chastity
in order to rehabilitate chastity we must first eliminate the enormous accretion of subjectivity in our conception of love and of the happiness which it can bring to man and woman
Love must be integrated in each of the lovers independently and love must be integrated between each of them.. Integration is so important.
If love remains purely subjective in which sensual and emotional energies aroused by the sexual urge make themselves felt and if does not rise to the level of persons then it cannot unite persons.
If love is dominated by ambition to possess, or more specifically by concupiscence born of sensual reaction, even if these are accompanied by intense emotion.
The value of a relationship between persons cannot simply be judged by emotions.
the very exuberance of emotions born of sensuality may conceal an absence of true love, or indeed outright egoism.
love develops on the basis of the totally committed and fully responsible attitude of a person to a person, erotic experiences are born spontaneously from sensual and emotional reactions.
Nonintegration of love
means underdevelopment of the moral component of love.
erotic experiences originate and are maintained by the senses and emotions and they may fail to ripen into a feeling at the personal level.
sensual and emotional reactions to a person of the other sex which arise before and develop more quickly than virtue are something less than love. However they are taken for love. And it is this experience that chastity is hostile or an obstacle to.
Chaste (clean) - implies liberation from everything that makes dirty. Emotions and sensations from sexual reactions deprive love of its crystal clarity. Chastity protects the true nature of love.
Cohabitation leads to a whole series of actions
A unification of persons occurs
Their wills are united in that they desire a single good
Their emotions react together in the same way to the same values
The sixth commandment covers external actions and the ninth commandment covers internal actions
Sensuality typically reacts to the body as a source of enjoyment. Nevertheless this is not lust. It merely orients the whole psyche towards the sexual values, awakening an interest in or indeed an 'absorption ' in them. It is a very easy transition to the second stage of concupiscence.
The obvious transition from each stage to the next
from the arousal of interest to
to carnal desire
is a source of great tensions in the inner life of the person
it is here where continence comes into action
Carnal concupiscence has as its object the 'body and sex'. There is a difference between carnal concupiscence and love of the body.
For the body of the person may also be an object of love and not merely concupiscence.
St. Thomas said the sensual soul has two different forces
and the urge to act
Carnal concupiscence seeks satisfaction in the 'body and sex' by way of enjoyment.
As soon as it achieves its ends, its attitude to the person changes completely, all interest in it disappears until desire is aroused again. A persons sensuality is expended in concupiscence.
Concupiscence substitutes for what should be the object of love (the person) a different object namely (the body and sex) of a person.
this means that a person of the other sex is discerned not as a person but as only a 'body and sex'.
Love is nonintegrated in concupiscence since feelings do not rise to the level of the person, since they do not go beyond the 'body and sex'.
Carnal concupiscence does not unite a man and a woman as persons, it does not have the value of a personal union, and is not love in the true ethical sense.
Carnal concupiscence left to itself is not a source of love for the person, although it evokes amorous (erotic) experiences which carry a powerful charge of sensual feeling.
In carnal concupiscence love is deformed and the natural raw material is squandered.
sensuality furnishes love with material but the material can only be shaped by the will.
without using the will the raw material is used up by concupiscence as it seeks an 'outlet.'
This results in actions which have as their sole outlet external and internal actions the sexual values connected with a person, and which take the direction typical of mere sensuality - 'the body as a possible object of enjoyment'.
Their relation to the person is therefore a utilitarian, a 'consumer' approach. They make the person an object of enjoyment.
Sentimental love (goes to the femininity and masculinity of the person) is not a full and positive solution to the problem of concupiscence. It idealizes and removes concupiscence from the field of consciousness. But idealization is a evasion of the problem not an attempt to face and solve it.
Complete security against carnal concupiscence is only found in chastity.
Subjectivism and egoism
Emotion introduces a subjective element into love between people.
Subjectivism - is a distortion of love. It is a hypertrophy of the subjective element such that the objective value of love is partially or wholly swallowed up and lost in it.
The first form is emotional subjectivism - emotions may be excessively subjective.
emotion can affect our apprehension of the truth. Emotion may be a threat to love.
emotion diverts the gaze of truth away from the objective elements of action and deflects it towards what is subjective in it, towards our feelings as we act. The effect of emotion is that the consciousness is preoccupied with the subjective authenticity of experience. The experience is true or genuine to the extent it is imbued with genuine (sincere) emotion. Therefore two things can happen
an immediate disintegration. Emotion detaches itself from objective principles & values.
objective principles are replaced by the value of the emotion and it becomes the main criterion by which an act is evaluated-then an act is authentic if it has true emotion. But emotion itself has only a subjective truth.
The road from subjectivism of emotions to subjectivism of values, is a straight and easy one.
Love itself is oriented towards objective values, first among them the value of the person, which both partners in love affirm, and the union of persons to which love leads.
In subjectivism pleasure becomes the only value, and the only scale by which we measure values. Pleasure is the end and the person, that persons body, femininity, or masculinity is only a means to this pleasure.
Hedonism is the end result of subjectivism.
Egoism then grows as a result of this second form of subjectivism of values. The egoist is preoccupied to the exclusion of all else with his own I his ego, and so seeks the good of that I alone, caring nothing for others. Egoism precludes love, and any shared good, and hence the possibility of reciprocity, which always presupposes the pursuit of a common good.
there is no reciprocity but only bilateralism, the pleasure between two person must be so skillfully shared between them that each obtains as much as possible. Egoism excludes love, but permits calculation and compromise - even though there is no love there can be a bilateral accommodation between egoisms.
pleasure is not evil but is a specific good - but only points to the moral evil involved in fixing the will on pleasure alone. Such a fixation is not only subjective but also egoistic.
when an emotion becomes an end in itself, merely for the sake of the pleasure it gives, the person who causes the emotion or to whom it is directed is once again a mere object providing an opportunity to satisfy the emotional needs of ones own 'ego.'
emotional egoism just like sensual egoism can be the cause of unchastity in a relationship.
Love must be unambiguously directed to the person.
The structure of sin
Sensuality and emotionalism furnish the raw material for love i.e. They create states of feeling within persons, and situations between persons favorable to love.
None the less these situations are not love
They become love only as a result of integration, or in other words by being raised to the personal level, by reciprocal affirmation of the value of the person.
Concupiscence is a consistent tendency to see persons of the other sex through the prism of sexuality alone, as objects of potential enjoyment.
Concupiscence refers to a latent inclination of human beings to invert the objective order of values. \
The body of a person should itself be an object of love only because of the value of the person. Hence there is a distinction between 'love of the body' and 'carnal love.'
Concupiscence is in every man where two attitudes to a person of the other sex contend for mastery.
The body of the person arouses an appetite for enjoyment vs the value of the person which should awaken love.
Sensuality is the capacity to react to the sexual value connected with the body as a 'potential object of enjoyment,' while concupiscence is a permanent tendency to experience desire caused by sensual reactions.
Neither sensuality nor carnal desire is in itself a sin. (It is only the germ of sin. Based on Revelation carnal desire is a consequence of original sin.
The truth of original sin explains a very basic and widespread evil - that a human being encountering a person of the other sex does not simply and spontaneously experience love, but a feeling muddied by the longing to enjoy, which often overshadows loving kindness and robs love of its true nature. It is not safe to put our trust in the reactions of the senses and emotions, they are not love, but only something from which love is obtained.
A hardship exists because human beings want to follow their spontaneous inclinations and to find love fully present in all of their reactions which have another human being as their object.
Neither sensuality nor even concupiscence is a sin in itself, since only that which derives from the will can be a sin - only an act of a conscious and voluntary nature, both interior or exterior.
We must give proper weight to the fact that in any normal man the lust of the body has its own dynamic, of which his sensual reactions are a manifestation.
Concupiscence of the senses tends to become active 'wanting', which is an act of will. The dividing line between the two is however clear.
concupiscence does not immediately aim at causing the will fully and actively to want the object of sensual desire: passive acquiescence suffices.
concupiscence continually induces the will to cross it.
as soon as the will consents it begins actively to want what is spontaneously happening in the senses and the sensual appetites.
from then on this is not something that is just happening to a man but something which he himself begins actively doing - at first internally, for the will is the place of interior acts and deeds.
The problem of the boundaries of sin.
Objectively the dividing line is drawn by acts of will, by conscious and voluntary assent of the will. (But people have a difficulty in identifying the border line.
Those who lack the proper power of discrimination easily take as an act of will what is only the prompting of the senses and of carnal desire.
an act of will directed against a sensual impulse does not generally produce any immediate result.
no one can demand of himself either that he should experience no sensual reactions at all, or that they should immediately yield just because the will does not consent or even because it declares itself definitely against.
this is a point of great importance to those who seek to practice continence.
there is a difference between not wanting, not feeling not experiencing.
A spontaneous sensual reaction, a carnal reflex, is not in itself a sin, nor will it become sin, unless the will leads the way. And if the will conduces to sin it is because it is wrongly oriented, and is guided by a false conception of love.
Emotional subjectivism makes us susceptible to the suggestion that whatever is connected with genuine emotion, authentic emotion is good. Hence the temptation exists to reduce love to nothing more than subjective emotional states.
If we do this the affirmation of the value of the person, the aspiration to the person's true good, to union in a common true good - none of these things will exist for a will subjectively fixed on emotion.
Sin arises from the fact that a human being does not wish to subordinate emotion to the person and to love, but on the contrary to subordinate the person and love to emotion. Sinful love is very often emotional which leaves no room for anything else.
The will puts emotion before the person, allowing the will to annul all the objective laws and principles which must govern the unification of two persons. (Authenticity of feeling is quite often inimical to truth in behavior.)
Concupiscence and the spontaneous stirrings of lust are not in themselves sinful. What makes them sinful is the deliberate conscious self-commitment of the will to the promptings of the body, which conflicts with objective truth.
The will succumbs only when it sees its good in pleasure itself - and to an extent that pleasure overshadows all else. , the value of the person, and the value of a genuine unification of two persons in love.
If the suggestion that what is pleasant is good it results in an habitual incapacity for loving kindness towards a person - the will to love is lacking. The will has no contact with the value of the person, it lives by the negation of love, putting up no resistance to concupiscence.
Enjoying displaces loving in sin. The moral evil in sin consists in treatment of one person by another,or of each of the partners by the other, as an object of enjoyment.
The true good in the love of man and woman is first of all the person, and not emotion for its own sake, still less pleasure as such.
The person must never be sacrificed to emotion and pleasure.
A subjective orientation of the will not only makes true love unrealizable, because of an exaggerated fixation on the subject, but also suggests that the subjective state of being saturated in emotion is love at its fullest and most perfect, is everything that love has to offer.
An orientation towards the subject ( and not the objective value of the person, or the objective laws and principles governing the association of persons of different sex) is usually accompanied by a preoccupation with one's own 'I'. Egoism is experienced as love but it is only a particular form of enjoying the person and not love at all.
The will must prevent the dis-integration of love - prevent pleasure, or emotion from growing to the dimensions of goods in their own right. While all else in the relationship is subordinated to them. The will can and must be guided by objective truth.
the will demands from reason and the intellect a correct vision of love and the happiness which love can bring to two persons.
in sin the fullness of good is often replaced by the sum of pleasures.
the task of the will (to which true love ought to be particularly attractive, because it creates a real opportunity for the will to immerse itself in the good) should safeguard itself against the destructive influence of those forces (pleasure and emotion) to safeguard the person against evil love.
The true meaning of chastity
People are unwilling to acknowledge the enormous value of chastity to human love because they reject the full objective truth about the love of man and woman and put instead a subjective fiction in its place.
When objective truth is present chastity regains its importance.
The full significance of chastity is seen when love is seen as a function of the attitude of person to person, which makes for union between them.
Love is only psychologically complete when it possesses an ethical value, when it is a virtue.
Sometimes what is called a manifestation of love or simply 'love' turns out to be only a form of utilization of the person. This gives rise to a great responsibility for love and for the person.
Chastity is linked with the cardinal virtue of moderation.
Moderation has its immediate effect in mans concupiscence to which it attaches itself in order to restrain the instinctive appetites for various material and bodily goods which force themselves upon the senses.
Chastity assists the mental faculties (reason and will) and the sensual faculties.
Sensual reactions must be subordinated to reason, this is the function of the virtue of moderation. If man lacked it the will might become easily subject to the senses and select as a good only that which the senses perceived and desired as good.
The virtue of moderation strives to save a reasonable person from this perversion of his nature.
The virtue of moderation helps reasonable beings to live reasonably, and so to attain the perfection proper to their nature.
The virtue of chastity is simply a matter of efficiency in controlling the concupiscent impulses. Virtue is constant effectiveness. If it were only occasionally effective it would not be effective. Virtue guarantees that man will control an impulse.
The ability to merely subdue the appetites originating in sensuality as they arise falls short of virtue,it is not chastity in the full sense of the word.
Fully formed virtue is an efficiently functioning control which permanently keeps the appetites in equilibrium by means of its habitual attitude to the true good determined by reason.
Chastity's function is to free love from the utilitarian attitude. Also it must control the sensual and carnal concupiscence and perhaps more important those centers deep within the human being in which the utilitarian attitude is hatched and grows.
To be chaste means to have a transparent attitude to a person of the other sex . Love cannot be itself until the desire to enjoy is subordinated to a readiness to show loving kindness in every situation.
The positive side of chastity
This transparency over 'the other sex' does not mean artificially banishing the values of the body or the values of sex to the subconscious, or pretending they do not exist or are pushed down into the subconscious where they wait to explode.
This is a mistaken view of chastity and relegates it to a negative virtue. Chastity in this view is one long no.
Chastity is above all the 'yes' of which certain no's are the consequence.
The virtue of chastity is underdeveloped in anyone who is slow to affirm the value of the person and allows the values of sex to reign supreme; these, once they take possession of the will distort one's whole attitude to a person of the other sex.
The essence of chastity consists in quickness to affirm the value of the person in every situation and in raising to the personal level all reactions to the value of the body and sex. True chastity does not lead to disdain for the body or to disparaging matrimony and the sexual life. (This is false chastity)
This effort is positive and creative from within, not negative and destructive. It is not a matter of annihilating the value body and sex in the conscious mind by pushing reactions to them down into the subconscious, but of sustained long term integration; the value body and sex must be grounded and implanted in the value of the person.
By moderating the feelings and actions connected with the sexual values we serve the values of the person and of love.
Chastity has a positive content (Thou shall love) and a negative content (Thou shall not use).
All human beings have to mature internally and externally. Men in one way and women in a different way. Before they are capable os such chaste loving kindness, before they can learn to savor it, since every human being is burdened by nature with concupiscence and apt to find the savor of love above all in the satisfaction of carnal desire. For this reason chastity is a difficult long term matter; one must wait patiently for it to bear fruit. Chastity is the sure way to happiness.
The human body must be humble before the greatness represented by the person. In the person resides the greatness of man.
Without chastity the body is not subordinated to true love, but strives to impose its own laws and to subjugate love to itself; mere carnal enjoyment usurps the essential role of love, which should be the person, and in this way destroys love.
The body must also subordinate (be humble ) to true happiness. True happiness is a lasting union which has an interpersonal character. Ultimate happiness is the happiness of the human person in union with a personal God. This is how we understand Christs words Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
The truth about the union of the human person with a personal God, (fully accomplished in eternity) at the same time illuminates more fully the value of human love, the value of the union of man and woman as two persons.
The Metaphysics of Shame
The phenomenon of sexual shame and it interpretation
In shame there is a tendency to concealment
The phenomenon of shame arises when something which of its very nature or in view of its purpose ought to be private passes the bounds of a person's privacy and somehow becomes public
Objects of shame are the parts and organs of the body which determine its sex
Children do not have sexual shame because sexual values do not exist in them
There is a different relationship between men and women, between sensuality and emotion in the two sexes
Sensuality, which is oriented towards the 'body as an object of enjoyment' is in general stronger and more importunate in men
Modesty and shame must be more pronounced in girls and women
women are less aware of sensuality and of its natural orientation in men, because in them emotion is usually stronger than sensuality, and sensuality tends to be latent in emotion
woman is purer in that she experiences more powerfully the value of a human being of the other sex
since a woman does not find in herself the sensuality of which a man as a rule cannot but be aware in himself she does not feel so great a need to conceal the body as a potential object of enjoyment.
the evolution of modesty in woman requires some initial insight into the male psychology.
a man does not have to fear female sensuality as much as a woman must fear the sensuality of the man
man is keenly aware of his own sensuality and this for him is a source of shame. For man sexual values are more closely bound up with the body and sex as potential objects of enjoyment. He is above all ashamed of the way in which he reacts to the sexual value of persons of the other sex. He is also ashamed of the reaction to the value body which he encounters in himself.
modesty is born to correct what is shameless. Modesty helps to prevent such reactions to the body in oneself, because they are incompatible with the value of the person.
the experience of shame is a natural reflection of the essential nature of the person
the feeling of shame goes with the realization that one's person must not be an object for use on account of the sexual values connected with it, whether in fact or only in intention. Also the person of the other sex must not be regarded as an object of use.
sexual morality is deeply rooted in the laws of nature.
The longing to inspire love goes together with this shrinking from reactions to mere sexual values
A woman wants to be loved so that she can show love
A man wants to love so that he can be loved
The value of a person is closely connected with its status as something more than an object of use.
Sexual modesty is a defensive reflex, which protects that status and value of the person. It is also more than protecting but also revealing the value of the person.
Shame is real hence the feeling of inviolability. (In the woman , it expresses itself like this, 'You must not touch me, not even in your secret carnal thoughts and in the man like this: 'I must not touch her, not even with a deeply hidden wish to enjoy her, for she cannot be an object for use. This fear of contact which is so characteristic or persons who truly love each other is an indirect way of affirming the value of the person. And this is part of love in the proper and ethical sense of the word.
Shame of those who take part in the married act is overcome when during this act, love which is a union of persons. Sexual values are shared in the married act and are bound up in love. Love overcomes shame.
Love is an interior matter of the soul, not just a physical matter.
Law of the absorption of shame by love
Shame is swallowed up by love. So that man and woman are no longer ashamed to be sharing their experience of sexual values.
It is a natural process which cannot be understood until we have grasped the relative importance of the value of the person and of sexual values in human beings, and in the love of man and woman.
Shame has a dual significance
It means flight, the endeavor to conceal sexual values so that they do not obscure the values of the person
It also means the longing to inspire or experience love. Sexual shame clears the way, so to speak for love.
Shame is a natural form of self defense for the person against the danger of descending or being pushed into the position of an object for sexual use.
the person cannot (must not) voluntarily descend to the position of an object of use for another person or persons
equally a person must not push any person of the other sex into the position of an object of use.
in both parties sexual shame - physical shame and shame for their emotions - militates against this.
love is an attitude to another person which essentially precludes treatment of the person as an object for use
it does not allow another person to descend to that level of being used, nor does it permit one person to reduce another to that status. This is why shame leads so naturally to love.
where there is love, shame is the natural way of avoiding the utilitarian attitude of using another. But only to the extend that a person loved in this way - and this is most important - is equally ready to give himself or herself.
shame tends to conceal sexual values so that the value of the person is not obscured by them, but is enhanced by them. True love is a love in which sexual values are subordinated to the value of the person.
true love ensures that sexual experiences are imbued with affirmation of the value of the person to such an extent that it is impossible for the will to regard the other person as an object for use.
in love the will is fixed not on the exploitation but on the true good of the other person, even if sensuality reacts to the body as a possible object of use.
Affirmation of the value of the person so thoroughly permeates all the sensual and emotional reactions connected with the sexual values that the will is not threatened by a utilitarian outlook. Affirmation of the person influences the emotions in such a way that the value of the person is not just abstractly understood but deeply felt.
This is the point at which love is complete and sexual shame is thoroughly absorbed. Love is not just a form of shamelessness but the full realization of the union of persons, which results from reciprocal conjugal love.
Love as an emotional experience even if it is reciprocated, is very far from being the same as love completed by commitment of the will.
This requires that each of two persons chooses the other, on the basis
of an unqualified affirmation of the value of the other person, with a view to a lasting union in matrimony
and persons must have a clearly defined attitude to parenthood. Love between persons possesses and must possess a clear cut objective purpose.
transient erotic experiences must not be confused with love.
the mere elimination of the feeling of shame by some sort of amorous feeling is not enough, for this contradicts the essential nature of sexual shame - here we have a form of shamelessness.
true shame can be absorbed only by true life, which affirms the value of the person and seeks the greatest good of the value of the person with all its strength.
There is a need to develop sexual shame by education since some people are less modest than others and opinions, life styles among men and women vary. This is an inseparable part of the education of love.
The problem of shamelessness - means the absence or negation of shame
People are different because they possess greater or lesser excitability, a higher or lower level of moral culture or different world views.
Physical shamelessness - any mode of behavior on the part of a particular person in which the values of sex as such are given such prominence that they obscure the essential value of the person
the person is then put in the position of an object of use. A person that can be merely used not to be loved.
emotional shamelessness consists in the rejection of that healthy tendency to be ashamed of reactions and feeling which make another person merely an object of use because of the sexual values belonging to him or her
example a man is shameless in his feelings toward a woman when he feels no inner shame for his urge towards sensual and sexual exploitation, when he refuses to accept that any other attitude is possible and make no effort to subordinate this urge to true love for the person, or to make the proper connections between the two things.
Prudery - is a form of hypocrisy, a way of disguising one's intentions. Prudery consists in concealing one's real intentions with regard to persons of the other sex, or with regard to sexual matters in general. A prudish person intent on exploitation tries to make it appear he has no interest at all in sexual matters. True emotional shame cannot be identified with prudishness.
Emotional shame is a healthy reaction within a person against any attitude to another person which disregards that person's essential value, degrading him or her to the level of an object for sexual use.
Healthy customs of shame have nothing in common with puritanism in sexual matters, for exaggeration easily results in prudery.
What is truly immodest in dress is that which frankly contributes to the deliberate displacement of the true value of the person by sexual values, that which is bound to elicit a reaction to the person as to a possible means of obtaining sexual enjoyment and not a possible object of love by reason of his or her personal value.
Man is not so perfect that the sight of the body of another person (other sex), can arouse in him merely a disinterested liking which develops into an innocent affection. In practice it also arouses concupiscence, or a wish to enjoy concentrated on sexual values with no regard for the value of the person.
Immodesty is present only when nakedness plays a negative role with regard to the value of the person, when its aim is to arouse concupiscence, as a result of which the person is put in the position of an object for enjoyment. This is depersonalization by sexualization.
Shamelessness is a function of the interior of a person and specifically of the will, which too easily accepts the sensual reaction and reduces another person, because of the persons body and sex to the role of an object for enjoyment.
Pornography is a marked tendency to accentuate the sexual element when reproducing the human body with the object of inducing the reader or viewer to believe that sexual values are the only real values of the person, and that love is nothing more than the experience, of those values alone. Pornography is not just a lapse in error it is a deliberate trend.
It negates reproducing in man and woman the interpersonal relationship. The important human reality is love between man and woman.
Good art will first establish itself in the mind and the will of those who contemplate it.
When we condemn pornography we should often put the blame on immaturity and impurity the absence of emotion al shame in those responsible for it.
The problems of continence
Self control and objectivization
The chaste man is the self controlled man
Chastity's function is to moderate the promptings of concupiscence (hence it is also called moderation)
A man must control the concupiscence of the body, must endeavor to control it at the moment when it makes itself felt and demands satisfaction in defiance of reason, and what reason recognizes as right and truly good - for it is assumed that reason knows the objective order of nature, or at least can and should know it.
The dignity of the person demands control of concupiscence. If the person does not exercise such control it jeopardizes its natural perfectability, allows an inferior and dependent part of itself to enjoy freedom of action and indeed subjects itself to this lesser self.
Control of concupiscence has as its objective not only the perfection of the person who attempts to achieve it, but also the realization of love in the world of persons.
A man who seeks to control physical desire must restrain the stirrings of sensual appetite and thus moderate the various feelings or emotions which accompany these sensual reactions.
Obviously they are the origin of acts which may easily conflict with the principles of love for the person, since they are only a utilization of the person governed by none but sexual values.
By moderation we mean the ability to find that 'mean' in the control of sensual excitability and sentimental impressionability which in each concrete case, in every interpersonal configuration or situation, will best facilitate the realization of love, and avoid the danger of exploitation which as we have seen can very easily be the result not only of sensual but of emotional reactions too.
Moderation is not mediocrity but the ability to maintain one's equilibrium amid the stirrings of concupiscence.
This equilibrium must provide the inner gauge for one's feelings, sensual and emotional, for one's actions and up to a point for one's state of mind.
Whoever has not attained moderation, whoever is not self-controlled and moderate is not chaste.
The person feels the need to defend itself against the forces of sensuality and concupiscence, above all because their invasion threatens its natural power of self-determination. The person cannot allow things to happen to it which it has not willed.
Continence is very closely tied up with the natural need of the person to be its own master.
Chastity does not consist in systematic depreciation of the value of the body and sex any more than it can be identified with the morbid fear which they may inspire, sometimes as a reflex. Such reactions are symptoms not of inner strength but rather of weakness. Virtue can only come from spiritual strength.
This strength comes from reason, which sees the real truth about the values and puts the value of the person and love above the values of sex and above the enjoyment associated with them.
Continence, efficiency in curbing the lust of the body by the exercise of will, the capacity for successful moderation of the sensations connected with sensual and even with emotional reactions, is the indispensable method of self-mastery, but it does not in itself amount to a full achievement of virtue.
above all continence cannot be an end in itself. "Blind" self restraint alone is not enough.
There is no valid continence without recognition of the objective order of values; the value of the person is higher than the values of sex. The basic condition of self-control in matters of sex is that the superiority of the value of the person to that of sex should be recognized.
continence should be subordinated to the process of objectivization
then the value of the person must take command of all that happens in a man. When it does continence is no longer blind. It goes beyond mere self restraint and permits the mind and the will to open up to a value which is both genuine and superior.
if someone only objectivizes the truth about the value of the person without containing the promptings of carnal desire, he cannot be said to be self-controlled or chaste. His behavior would be all theory and no practice.
the promptings of carnal desire do not disappear merely because they are contained by willpower, although superficially they appear to do so, for them to disappear completely a man must know why he is containing them. Only as this value gradually takes possession of the mind and the will does the will become calm and free itself from a characteristic sense of loss.
those who practice self control especially in the early stages experience a feeling of loss, of having renounced a value. This feeling is a natural phenomenom, it tells us how powerfully the reflex of carnal desire acts upon the conscious mind and the will. As true love of the person develops, this reflex will grow weaker, the values will return to their proper places. Thus the virtue of chastity and love of the person are each conditional upon the other.
the value of the person must be not merely understood by the cold light of reason but felt. An abstract understanding of the person does not necessarily beget a feeling for the value of the person.
Tenderness and sensuality
Tenderness towards others result when we become aware of the ties that unite us.
The function of tenderness is that one of the persons in a relationship is able and feels the need to enter into the feelings, the inner state, the whole spiritual life of the other - and is able and needs to make the other aware of this.
Tenderness is the tendency to makes one's own the feelings and mental states of another person. Tenderness comes from sentiment and its characteristic reaction to a human being of the other sex. It is not an expression of concupiscence but of benevolence and devotion. Sentiment concentrates more on the human being not on the body and sex and its immediate aim is not enjoyment but the feeling of nearness.
Tenderness demands vigilance against the danger that its manifestations may acquire a different significance and become merely forms of sensual and sexual gratification. Tenderness, therefore cannot do without a perfected inner self-control, which here becomes the index of the inner refinement and delicacy of one's attitude to a person of the other sex. Whereas mere sensuality pushes us towards enjoyment.
Children have a special right to tenderness.
In tenderness there is also a danger of inflaming egoism by exaggerated tenderness, which serves above all to satisfy the sentimental needs of the person who shows it, and has no regard to the objective needs and the good of the other human being. But only is tender to satisfy ones sensual needs, his desire to enjoy.
Love for a human being must contain certain elements of struggle. Struggle for the beloved human being and his or her true good.
Subjective elements in love between man and woman, even if both of them intend it to be honest and genuine, usually develop more quickly than its objective content. In those who are sanguine (for example) the emotion of love is a sudden and powerful explosion and the cultivation and education of virtue requires an effort so much the greater for that.
If we grant to man or woman the right to show tenderness we must also demand a greater sense of responsibility.
Without the virtue of moderation, without chastity and self-control it is impossible so to educate and develop tenderness, so that it does not harm love but serves it.
Marriage is not where a body needs a body but where a human being needs another human being.
Tenderness is the ability to feel with and for the whole person, to feel even the most deeply hidden spiritual tremors and always to have in mind the true good of that person.
A woman rightly expects from a man a tenderness,. Woman gives herself to man and goes through such extremely important periods in her life, pregnancy, childbirth and etc. A womans emotional life is generally richer than a man's and so her need for tenderness is greater.
In the woman and man tenderness creates a feeling of not being alone, a feeling that her or his whole life is equally the content of another. This reinforces their sense of unity.
There can be no genuine tenderness without a perfected habit of continence.
Continence has its origin in a will always ready to show loving kindness, and so overcome the temptation merely to enjoy put in its way by sensuality and carnal concupiscence.
Without continence, the natural energies of sensuality, and the energies of sentiment drawn into their orbit, will become merely the raw material of sensual or at best emotional egoism.
For believers what lies behind this fact is the mystery of original sin. Which is a danger to the person, who is the greatest good in the created universe.
Love between man and woman cannot be built without sacrifices and self-denial.
Justice towards the creator
Marriage - a suitable framework for the union of man and woman where the full development of the sexual relationship occurs while ensuring the durability of their union.
Monogamy and the indissolubility of marriage - attempts to solve the problem of marriage other than by monogamy imply that marriage is dissoluble. Divorce is incompatible with the personalistic norm and puts the person in the position of an object to be enjoyed by another, the woman in particular is in danger of becoming a mere object of enjoyment for the man.
The principle of dissolution of marriage puts the person in a position to be an object for use by another person. Marriage is then mainly an institutional framework within which man and a woman obtain sexual pleasure, and not a durable union of persons based on mutual affirmation of the value of the person.
If people do not remarry when they become widows they witness more fully the reality of the union with the person now deceased. Although they can remarry.
The idea of monogamous marriage which dwelt in the mind and will of the Creator was distorted by the chosen people as well as by others. Christ said in the beginning ti was no so. From Genesis 1:27 and 2:24 God, the Creator made marriage indissoluble.
Polygamy degrades women reduces them to objects of enjoyment and lowers the level of morality amongst men. Divorce is polygamy in practice. Because a person is seen as only a sexual value and not as a means to bring two people together in a union of persons.
If separated persons do not remarry there is not a breach of the personalistic order, the person is not degraded to the status of an object of use, and marriage preserves its character as an institution facilitating the personal union of man and woman, and not merely sexual relations between them.
Union between men and woman should not last only as long as they themselves wish it to last.
Their change of mind cannot cancel the fact that they are objectively united as man and wife.
A man and a woman who are not integrated within themselves bring an enormous risk to marriage.
Their love has not begun to mature
Their love has not established itself as a genuine union of persons
they should not marry for they are not ready for the test to which married life will subject them.
This does not mean their love has to be at full maturity in order to be married but must be ripe enough to continue ripening.
The value of the institution
Institution means - something established in accordance with the concept of justice
Society depends on the existence of the family
The normal consequence of a sexual relationship between a man and a woman is progeny. The birth of a child turns the union of a man and a woman into a family.
Legislation concerning the family must objectively express the order implicit in its nature. Marriage is an inter-personal structure - it is a union and a community of two persons.
The inner and essential reason of marriage is not simply eventual transformation into a family but above all the creation of a lasting personal union between a man and a woman based on love.
An actual sexual relationship between a man and a woman demands the institution of marriage as its natural setting, for the institution legitimates the actuality above all in the minds of the partners to the sexual relationship themselves.
Sexual relations outside of marriage automatically put one person in the position of an object to be used by another.
The value of this institution is fully preserved only on condition of monogamy and indissolubility.
The concept creature denotes a special form of dependence on the Creator. Man differs from other creatures of the visible world in that his reason is capable of understanding all these things. Reason is at the same time the foundation of personality, the necessary condition of the interiority and spirituality of the being and life of a person.
A religious man above all is just to God the Creator. His reason makes him realize he is at once his own property and as a creature, the property of the Creator, he feels the effects of the Creator's proprietorialrights over himself.
The justification of man in the eyes of God is accomplished essentially through Grace. Man obtains grace through the sacraments (mystery) administered by the Church which was endowed by Christ with supernatural authority for this purpose.
Procreation and parenthood
In the context of sexual union people must show responsibility for their love.
When husband and wife unite in a sexual relationship they enter into the realm of what can properly called the order of nature. The order of nature is above all existence and procreation.
Sexual intercourse is essentially a union of persons affected by the possibility of procreation.
When a man and a woman consciously and of their own free will choose to marry and have sexual relations they choose at he same time the possibility of procreation, they choose to participate in creation.
Sexual relations between a man and woman in marriage have their full value as a union of persons only when they go with conscious acceptance of the possibility of parenthood. Without this the marital relationship will not be internally justified. One goes from sexual union to the union of persons only when the act is accompanied in the mind and the will by acceptance of the possibility of parenthood.
Without this acceptance in the mind the logical conclusion is that the value rests solely on the affirmation of the value sex not on affirmation of the value of the person.
If the possibility of parenthood is deliberately excluded from marital relations, the character of the relationship between the partners automatically changes. The change is away from unification in love and in the direction of mutual, or rather bilateral enjoyment.
When parenthood is excluded objectively speaking nothing is left except utilisation for pleasure, of which the object will be a person.
To master the sexual urge means to accept its purpose in marital relations. Some will say man must triumph over nature but nature cannot be conquered by violating its laws.
Acceptance of the possibility of procreation safeguards love and is an indispensable condition of a truly personal union.
Acceptance of parenthood serves to break down the reciprocal egoism (or the egoism of one party at which the other connives) - behind which lurks the will to exploit the person.
There must be close connection between the order of nature and the order of the person. This is preserved in acceptance of parenthood.
The argument that there is no love without erotic experience is not totally false, it is merely incomplete.
Genuine continence inmarriage grows out of shame which reacts negatively to exploitation of the person. Shame is strongest where continence and the culture of the person and the culture of love is most genuine.
Twice Gandhi succumbed in his life to the propaganda of artificial contraceptives. However, he came to the conclusion that in one's actions one must be able to rely on one's own internal impulses, to control oneself. The Pope adds that this is the only solution of the problem of birth control at a level worthy of human persons.
Parenthood in potenetia (in potential)
Without the willing acceptance of parenthood between spouses the value of union in love will be lost and marriage will become merely a bilateral arrangement for sexual enjoyment.
Spouses are not demanded that they must positively desire to procreate on every occasion when they have intercourse. This would be at odds with the order of nature.
To say that sexual intercourse is permissible only when the immediate intention of the partners is to produce offspring is a disguise for utilitarianism.
Marital intercourse is and should be the result of reciprocal betrothed love between spouses, of the gift of self made by one person to another. Intercourse is necessary to love, not just to procreation. Marriage is an institution which exists for the sake of love, not merely for the purpose of biological reproduction. Marital intercourse is in itself an interpersonal act, an act of betrothed love, so that the intentions and the attention of each partner must be fixed upon the other, upon his or her true good.
They must be concentrated on the possible consequences of the act, especially if that would mean a diversion of attention from the partner. It is certainly not necessary always to resolve that we are performing this act in order to become parents. It is sufficient to way that in performing this act we know that we may become parents and we are willing for that to happen. The marital act must be an act of love, an act of unification of persons and not merely the instrument or means of procreation.
When a man and woman preclude the possibility of procreation there intentions are thereby diverted from the person and directed to mere enjoyment, the person as co-creator of love disappears and there remains only the partner in an erotic experience.
The intentions and attention of each party to the act should be directed to the other person, as a person, the will should be wholly concerned with that person's good, the heart filled with affirmation of that person's specific value.
When procreation is blocked man and woman shifts their whole focus of the experience in the direction of sexual pleasure. The whole content of the experience is then enjoyment.
The marital act should be an expression of love with pleasure as an incidental accompaniment of the sexual act.
Deliberate prevention of pregnancy
Deliberate exclusion of parenthood means prevention of conception by artificial means.
If man and woman use the laws of nature by having intercourse during the infertile periods and abstaining during the fertile periods. Then procreation is excluded in the natural way. Neither man or woman is using any artificial method to prevent conception. They are merely adapting themselves to the laws of nature, to the order which reigns in nature.
It is enough that couples are willing to accept conception, although in the particular instance they do not desire it. It is not necessary for them expressly to desire procreation. They just have to have inner willingness to accept conception should it occur.
Man must reconcile himself to his natural greatness, he must also not forget that he is a person.
Responsibility for love is very closely bound up with responsibility for procreation.
Periodic continence is a method of regulating conception and not of avoiding a family.
Periodic continence: method and interpretation
Sexual intercourse has the true value of love, the union of two persons, only when neither of them deliberately excludes the possibility of procreation.
When couples must or should abstain from intercourse then continence is the obvious course to follow.
Continence is compatible with affirmation of the value of the person
it means that it will be necessary to master not only the promptings of sensuality but also emotional reactions as well
man is endowed with reason not primarily to calculate the maximum of pleasure in his life but above all to seek knowledge of objective truth.
it is not enough to say a particular mode of behavior is expedient but that it is just. Therefore if we stand firmly on justice and the personalistic norm the only acceptable method of regulating conception in marriage is continence. Those who do not desire the consequence must avoid the cause.
Why is the natural method more superior than the artificial method - since the purpose is the same in each case - to eliminate the possibility of procreation.
Talking about methods is utilitarian and this is where the fundamental error occurs. We can't approach the natural and artificial method from the same point of view.
periodic continence is
permissible because if it does not conflict with the demands of the personalistic norm
continence seeks to regulate conception by taking advantage of biological rhythms. Infertility results from the natural operation of the laws of fertility
the love of man and woman loses nothing as a result of temporary abstention from erotic experiences, but on the contrary gains, the personal union takes deeper root, grounded as it is above all in the affirmation of the value of the person and not just in sexual attachment
continence like other virtues must be disinterested and wholly concerned with justice not with expediency. Self-interested calculating continence awakens doubts and is not virtue.
continence unless it is a virtue is alien to love.
continence must acquire a constructive significance for the couple and become one of the factors which gives shape to their love
its secret of continence lies in the practice of virtue not the use of a method (like the utilitarians promote)
artificial methods destroy the naturalness of sexual intercourse. Infertility is imposed in defiance of nature.
a determination on spouses to have as few children as possible to make their own lives easy is bound to inflict moral damage both on their family and on society at large
limitation on the number of conceptions must not be another name for renunciation of parenthood
Continence is permissible only with certain qualifications
as long as it does not serve to destroy readiness for parenthood in attitude. Attitudes are most important here.
continence is not a virtue where spouses take advantage of infertility exclusively for the purpose of avoiding parenthood altogether, and have intercourse only in those periods
If we can talk of methods then 'Periodic continence is a method of regulating conception and not of avoiding a family.' This is different from artificial methods.
Periodic continence as a method of regulating conception is permissible as long as it does not conflict with a sincere disposition to procreate. Marital intercourse cannot be deprived of the value of love and be left to only the value of enjoyment.
The concept of justice towards the Creator
Horizontal justice is to follow the commandment to love (love a person).
Vertical justice towards God. (This involves the problem of sexual behavior in the eyes of God.
God too is a Personal Being, with whom man must have some sort of relationship.
God has rights on man as His Creator
man has duties toward his Creator
God relates to man as a person to a person, that is his attitude to man is one of love.
The more fully man becomes aware of God's love for him the better he will understand God's claim on his person and on his love.
Man is just towards God the Creator when he recognizes the order of nature and conforms to it in his actions. When man does this he participates in the thought of God and in the Law of God. When man is in harmony towards the laws of nature he is just towards God the Creator.
This comprises two elements of Justice towards God
when he is obedient to the order of nature
and when the emphasis is placed on the value of the person
there can be no justice (love) towards the Creator where the correct attitude to his other human beings is lacking.
man can only be just to God the Creator if he loves his fellows.
it is impossible for a man and a woman to behave justly towards God the Creator if their treatment of each other falls short of the demands of the personalistic norm.
Sex throughout the natural world, is connected with reproduction. The conjugal relationship makes a man and a woman intermediaries in the transmission of life to a new human being. Because they are persons, they take part consciously in the work of creation, and from this point of view are participating with the Creator. It is therefore impossible to compare their marital life with the sexual life of animals, which is governed completely by instinct.
Justice towards the Creator is inseparable from responsibility for love.
Man and woman fulfill their obligations to God the Creator only when they raise their relationship to the level of love, to the level of a truly personal union. Only then do they participate with the Creator.
Unwillingness for parenthood in a man and a woman deprives sexual relations of the value of love, which is a union on the truly personal level, and all that remains is the sexual act itself, or rather reciprocal sexual exploitation.
Mystical and physical virginity
To be completely just to God the Creator, I must offer him all that is in me, my whole being, for he has first claim on all of it.
Love aims at the unification of persons.
Man can only surrender to God. We then see the possibility of betrothed love of God and man.
Physical virginity is a conscious decision and choice to give oneself to God. Man has an inborn need of betrothed love, a need to give himself to another.
The kingdom of God on earth is realized in that particular people gradually prepare and perfect themselves for eternal union with God. In this union the objective development of the human person reaches its highest point.
Spiritual virginity the self-giving of a human person wedded to God Himself, expressly anticipates this eternal union with God and points the way towards it.
The problem of vocation
Vocation - means being summoned or called to a personal commitment to a purpose.
There is a proper course for every person's development to follow, a specific way in which he commits his whole life to the service of certain values.
Every individual must understand what he has in himself and what he can offer to others, and on the other what is expected of him.
It is not enough to plot the course but he must have an active commitment of one's whole life to it is essential.
When a person has a particular vocation his or her love is fixed on some particular goal.
A person who has a vocation must not only love someone but be prepared to give himself or herself for love.
The person fulfills itself most effectively when it gives itself more fully.
We are all called to a self perfection through love.
Every person is called to determine the main direction of his life. What is my vocation means in what direction should my personality develop
The operations of grace take man beyond the confines of his personal life and bring him within the orbit of God's activity and His Love.
A state of perfection is the condition, of virginity, obedience and poverty chosen that creates favorable conditions for the attainment of perfection in the New Testament sense.
This does not mean that one not choosing this state cannot be perfected, but one by observing the greatest commandment to love can be closer to perfection than one who has chose the perfect state.
Paternity and maternity
A woman's inclinations for maternity are stronger than a mans for paternity.
Paternal feelings must be specially cultivated and trained so that they may become as important in the inner life of the man as is maternity in that of the woman.
In parenthood couples seek their physical and spiritual maturity and a promise of the prolongation of their own existence.
When they die their child who has an inner life that they both helped to form will continue to live.
Spiritual parenthood is vitally important and parents must take pains that are necessary for their children's education.
Spiritual paternity and maternity are characteristics indicative of mature parenthood in man and woman. They wish to share a certain fullness with others.
Spiritual paternity and maternity involve a certain transmission of personality.
Human beings will come particularly close to God when the spiritual parenthood of which God is the prototype takes shape in them.
Sexology and ethics
The love of man and woman is above all interpersonal.
The proper concerns of sexual morality are not the body and sex but the personal relationships and the interpersonal love between man and woman inseparable from them.
The only proper starting point for the study of man and sexology is that man and woman are persons and their love is a mutual relationship between persons. The person is always first. Not his biology. Nor his sexology.
Ethics finds its proper aim and object in the moral good of the person.
A man and woman come to love each other not because they are two sexually differentiated organisms, but because they are two persons.
The sexual urge
The sexual urge is a specific orientation of the whole human being resulting from the division of the speciesHomo into two sexes. It is directed towards a human being of the other sex (not towards sex as an attribute of man) since its final end is the preservation of the human species.
It first occurs in women (age 12-13) and is more noticeable in them.
Occurs in boys later but is preceded by a pre-pubertal stage.
Puberty brings a rapid indeed one might say an explosive intensification of the sexual urge.
In the subsequent period of physical and psychological maturity the urge becomes stable.
In middle age it passes through a heightened stage, then in old age gradually declines.
Sexual stimuli (from the imagination) and the other senses produce a peculiar state of tension in the genital organs and in the whole organism.
Things which in themselves must be recognized as manifestations of the sexual urge can be converted in the interior of a person into the real ingredients of love.
Marriage and marital intercourse
Sexual ethics, takes as its starting point not the biological facts as such, but the concepts of the person and of love as a reciprocal relationship between persons.
Because of the objective aims of marriage (procreation) and the personalistic norm adultery and pre-marital relations are prohibited. from an altruistic standpoint - it is necessary to insist that intercourse must not serve merely as a means of allowing sexual excitement to reach its climax in one of the partners, i.e. the man alone, but that climax must be reached in harmony, not at the expense of one partner, but with both partners fully involved.
There exists a rhythm dictated by nature itself which both spouses must discover so that climax may be reached both by the man and by the woman, and as far as possible are in both simultaneously. In egoism one party seeks only his own pleasure.
There is a need for harmonization especially on the part of man, who must carefully observe the reactions of the woman. If a woman does not obtain natural gratification there is a danger that her experience will be inferior, will not involve her as a person.
Frigidity is usually (though not always) the result of egoism in the man, who seeks merely his own pleasure and satisfaction.
If a woman does not have orgasm neuroses and sometimes organic disorders occur. Engorgement of blood in the sexual organs occurs and results in inflammation. Psychologically such a situation may lead not to just indifference but to outright hostility. It is hard for a woman to forgive a man if she finds no satisfaction from intercourse.
Sexual education's main objective is to create the conviction that 'the other person is more important than I'.
Sexual intercourse does not teach love, but love will show itself to be so in sexual relations between married people as elsewhere.
What is wanted in sexual relations is a certain spontaneity and naturalness and not the concept of techniques. Disinterested tenderness is important.
Tenderness has its origin in sentiment, which is directed primarily towards the human being and so can temper and tone down the violent reactions of sensuality which is oriented only towards the body and the uninhibited impulses of concupiscence.
Continence can be practiced in intercourse during sexual relations in order to be tender toward the woman since her orgasm will take longer to achieve than the mans.
Love is an educational process whereby the husband and wife educate each other.
For the man, a woman's world is another world. He must get to know that world and project himself into it emotionally. This is the positive function of tenderness.
Harmonious sexual intercourse is possible only where it involves no conflict of consciences, and is not troubled by fears.
People are attracted to each other because of their likes or because there is an attraction of opposites.
The fact is that sensual and sentimental factors have a powerful effect at the moment of choice, but that rational analysis must nevertheless have the decisive significance.
The problem of birth control
Spouses have a responsibility for every conception, not only to themselves but also to the family which they are founding or increasing by that conception.
Resistance to the idea of having a child in the mind and will is unnatural. Even biology and hormones support this idea in each man and woman.
Factors which disturb the regularity of the biological cycle in women include
Fear of conception
Fear of becoming pregnant
Fear can destroy the natural regularity of the woman
therefore readiness to accept during intercourse parenthood (I may become a mother or father) and that readiness to practice continence.
nature in human beings is subordinated to ethics. The correct biological rhythm is easier if ethics is in line and integrated.
One method underlies all natural methods of regulating fertility and that method is virtue (love and continence).
Birth control by natural means depends in the last analysis on the moral attitude of the man and the regular practice of continence on the part of the man.
the relationship demands on the mans part tenderness, an understanding for the feelings of the woman. The effort put into these natural ways is essentially a moral effort.
Unless the virtue of continence is properly understood and its practice perfected there can be no thought of birth control and planned parenthood by natural methods.
A woman feels a grudge towards the man who has brought her to it.
She cannot forget that it has happened.
Abortion causes an anxiety neurosis with guilt feelings and sometimes even a profound psychotic reaction.
There is no grounds for discussing abortion as birth control. To do so would be quite improper.
Sexual psychopathology and ethics
The lack of continence produces real diseases. Not the lack of sexual intercourse.
The sexual urge in man is a fact which he must recognize and welcome as a source of natural energy.
The instinctive reaction which is called sexual arousal is to a large extent a vegetative reaction independent of the will and failure to understand this simple fact often becomes a cause of serious sexual neuroses.
The person involved in such a conflict is torn by two contrary tendencies which he cannot reconcile - hence the neurotic reactions.
The indispensable requirement of correct behavior and health is training from childhood upwards in truth and in reverence for sex, which must be seen as intimately connected with the highest values of human life and human love.
If a sexual urge is repressed in the wrong way it can become a source of neurotic disturbances.
Sex education based on honest biological information is so important.
lack of information and especially lack of training in the correct attitudes may cause a variety of aberrations (such as infantile and adolescent masturbation).
when a person's attitudes are incorrect neuroses will be the response of the organism and of the nervous system to continual stress
Sexual reactions are perfectly natural, and have no intrinsic moral value. Morally they are neither good nor bad, but morally good or morally bad uses may be made of them.
If a man is to acquire the conviction that he is capable of controlling his reactions he must first be set free from the opinion that sexual reactions are determined by necessity and entirely independent of the will. He must be persuaded that his body can be made to 'obey' him if he trains it to do so.
People, especially young people, must be set free from the belief that sexual matters are an area of incomprehensible phenomena which threaten their equilibrium. Instead we must reduce sex to a set of phenomena which though of great moment and beauty are totally comprehensible and so to speak 'ordinary'. This demands the timely provision of biological information.
The most important thing is to transmit the right hierarchy of values, and to show the position occupied by the sexual urge in that hierarchy. Its' use will then be subordinated to the end which it exists to serve. People must be further persuaded of the possibility and necessity of conscious choice. We must, as it weregive back to people their consciousness of the freedom of the will and of the fact that the area of sexual experience is completely subject to the will.
Doctors must take into account the totality of human aims. For there are times when the doctor's advice is just what turns the patient into a neurotic, in that it blatantly contradicts the real nature of man.
In counseling people who have neuroses they need more detailed information and such persons are less capable of love and responsibility. These people must be delivered from the oppressive notion that the sex urge is overwhelmingly strong and inculcating in them the realization that every man is capable of self-determination with regard to the sexual urge and the impulses born of it. This is the starting point of sexual ethics at large.
Mans interior must be captured in order to obtain control of his outward behavior. In the formation of that inner self a fundamental part is played by the truth about the sex instinct.
All sex therapy and education cannot take as its starting point only the natural plane of the sex instinct, but must proceed from the plane of the person, with which the whole subject of love and responsibility is bound up. Proper knowledge of biology and physiology in regard to sexual matters is important and valuable but it cannot achieve its proper end unless it is grounded in an objective view of the person and the natural (and supernatural) vocation of the person, which is love.
Gandhi said, the man who understands ... will strive at all costs to master his senses, arm himself with the knowledge that is necessary to the physical and spiritual welfare of his posterity, and transmit this knowledge to the future, for its benefit. P. 232
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Copyright © John Purk. All rights reserved.