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Self-Giving, Self-Mastery

St John Paul II on Men, Women and Conjugal Chastity

Alan O'Sullivan OP

The dignity of the person has always been a key theme of Pope John Paul II. Perhaps less well known is his emphasis on self-mastery as intrinsic to such dignity. In the love of man and woman, such mastery paves the way to self-giving and provides a richer, deeper experience of the union of persons. It also gives a new sensitivity to the beauty of masculinity and femininity as sexuality is seen in its original holiness: that is, by sharing in the Creator’s vision of the body. In this book, the author traces this daring portrait of human love back to the early writings of Karol Wojtyła.

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Chapter 2: Love, Chastity and Self-Giving


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Love, Chastity and Self-Giving


Wojtyła’s “rehabilitation” of chastity is a twofold process: (1) looking back into the tradition; (2) offering a refreshing way to speak of chastity. Contemporary sensibilities need to be convinced of the need for chastity in human life, particularly as it pertains to the love of man and woman. Outside of its concrete expression, chastity tends to be seen as a lofty ideal, pitched above ordinary experience, attainable only to an elite and certainly not to those who engage in a love which is all too human.

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