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  #1  
Old 28th August 2009, 01:06 PM
Ron Conte Ron Conte is offline
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Default Theology of the Body: lecture 17

17. Man and Woman: A Mutual Gift for Each Other
http://www.ewtn.com/library/PAPALDOC/jp2tb16.htm

"Within the mystery of creation, man attains this in the complementarity of what is male and female in him. However, at the root of this experience there must be the interior freedom of the gift, united above all with innocence. The human will is originally innocent."

God created men and women as good and innocent human persons. The complementarity of male and female is integral to human nature, apart from any sin or imperfection. As we will later see, sin enters in and adversely affects the male female relationship. But even before any sin or imperfection, the differences between men and women are fundamental to the human person, and are not merely reproductive or physical.

"The sentence: "The man and his wife were both naked, and were not ashamed," expresses this innocence in the reciprocal experience of the body."

Shame is threefold, based on (1) sin, (2) imperfections related to sin, (3) the finiteness of all created persons. Adam and Eve had no reason, before the Fall, to cover themselves, since they had no sin and no imperfections; they were as they were created by God, sinless and perfect.

But Adam and Eve had free will, and they did not choose, when commanded by God not to eat the fruit, to have the third type of shame, which acknowledges our unworthiness before God who is infinite. Instead, they chose to act as if they were gods, deciding right and wrong for themselves, apart from the one true God.

"Interior innocence (that is, righteousness of intention) in the exchange of the gift consists in reciprocal "acceptance" of the other, such as to correspond to the essence of the gift. In this way, mutual donation creates the communion of persons."

There is a fundamental equality, in having the same nature, between men and women. This is well expressed in JP2's TOB lectures. However, he lacks emphasis on the differences within that equality. He over-emphasizes the mutual nature of the relationship, and under-emphasizes the extent to which gender effects each person's role within that mutual exchange. (This is my only significant criticism of JP2's TOB at this point.)
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Old 28th August 2009, 01:11 PM
Ron Conte Ron Conte is offline
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digression on mistakes in the popular version of theology of the body:

Many persons treat JP2's TOB:

(1) as if it were a new insight not found explicity or even implicitly in Tradition, Scripture, Magisterium,

(2) as if it were a break from past teaching that makes all past teachings, especially those by theologians, null and void, irrelevant, and even erroneous,

(3) as if it were infallible dogma, rather than JP2's personal theology,

(4) as if it were the standard against which the teachings of TSM should be measured, so that his private theology becomes exalted above TSM.

(5) as if it constituted an exemption for married couples from the moral law, so that they could commit any sexual acts between themselves, with no regard for morality,

(6) as if it were an excuse to cast aside modesty, shame, reverence for the gift of sexuality, with the result that the attitudes of sinful secular society toward sexuality become incorporated into a supposedly Catholic view of sex.
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Old 28th August 2009, 01:34 PM
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"The opposite of this "welcoming" or "acceptance" of the other human being as a gift would be a privation of the gift itself. Therefore, it would be a changing and even a reduction of the other to an "object for myself" (an object of lust, of misappropriation, etc.)."

"We will not deal in detail now with this multiform, presumable antithesis of the gift. However, in the context of Genesis 2:23-25, we can note that this extorting of the gift from the other human being (from the woman by the man and vice versa) and reducing him or her interiorly to a mere "object for me," should mark the beginning of shame. The latter corresponds to a threat inflicted on the gift in its personal intimacy and bears witness to the interior collapse of innocence in the mutual experience."

Even within marriage, there is the very real possibility and danger of misuse of sexuality, by intention, by the moral nature of the chosen act, and by the consequences. This should result in modesty and restraint in the marital bedroom, so that the shame of sin is avoided.

A shameless attitude lacking all modesty, lacking in the type of shame based on an acknowledgement that God is infinite and we are finite, leads to sin and the shame of sin, and leads to imperfections in each human person caused by our own sins. Thus shamelessness (3rd type) leads to shame (1st and second types).

"We can conclude that the exchange of the gift, in which the whole of their humanity participated, body and soul, femininity and masculinity, was actualized by preserving the interior characteristic (that is, precisely, innocence) of the donation of oneself and of the acceptance of the other as a gift."

gender differences are not limited to reproduction, and are not superficial; they involve the whole person. So the Virgin Mary, as perfect virgin, is thoroughly feminine, even before she ever bore the Christ-child and became a mother. And Christ, as perfect virgin, is thoroughly masculine; He is not neuter, as many would present him. It is not irrelevant that Christ is male, and Mary is female. Each of their roles in their human natures is pervasively and fundamentally in accord with their gender. This truth permeates Sacred Scripture, and yet is denied and explained away by modern scholars.

In this next quote, JP2 acknowledges the differences in gender that are inherent to the act of God in creating humanity:

"Genesis 2:23-25 enables us to deduce that woman, who in the mystery of creation "is given" to man by the Creator, is "received," thanks to original innocence. That is, she is accepted by man as a gift. The Bible text is quite clear and limpid at this point. At the same time, the acceptance of the woman by the man and the very way of accepting her, become, as it were, a first donation. In giving herself (from the very first moment in which, in the mystery of creation, she was "given" to the man by the Creator), the woman "rediscovers herself" at the same time. This is because she has been accepted and welcomed, and thanks to the way in which she has been received by the man."

The man and woman are not created at the same time in the same way.
Their relationship is reciprocal (i.e. mutual) but also assymetrical (i.e. differences in roles).

"So she finds herself again in the very fact of giving herself "through a sincere gift of herself," (cf. Gaudium et Spes 24), when she is accepted in the way in which the Creator wished her to be, that is, "for her own sake," through her humanity and femininity."

The woman finds herself, in her whole human nature, by accepting her role as woman, a role that is inherently feminine, not coincidentally feminine. And likewise the man must understand and accept that his role, given by God, is inherently masculine, not coincidentally masculine. This is perhaps the main insight lacking in most modern texts on theology of sexuality, on theology of the body.

"When the whole dignity of the gift is ensured in this acceptance, through the offer of what she is in the whole truth of her humanity and in the whole reality of her body and sex, of her femininity, she reaches the inner depth of her person and full possession of herself."

JP2 has this insight clearly stated in his work. It is entirely ignored and even explicitly denied by most popular theology of the body works. Here it is again:

"It seems that the second narrative of creation has assigned to man "from the beginning" the function of the one who, above all, receives the gift (cf. especially Gn 2:23). "From the beginning" the woman is entrusted to his eyes, to his consciousness, to his sensitivity, to his heart."

"In the mystery of creation, the woman was "given" to the man. On his part, in receiving her as a gift in the full truth of her person and femininity, man thereby enriches her.... The man's giving of himself, in response to that of the woman, enriches himself. It manifests the specific essence of his masculinity which, through the reality of the body and of sex, reaches the deep recesses of the "possession of self." "

The relationship between men and women is reciprocal (mutual) and assymetrical:

"Therefore, the man not only accepts the gift. At the same time he is received as a gift by the woman, in the revelation of the interior spiritual essence of his masculinity, together with the whole truth of his body and sex. Accepted in this way, he is enriched through this acceptance and welcoming of the gift of his own masculinity. Subsequently, this acceptance, in which the man finds himself again through the sincere gift of himself, becomes in him the source of a new and deeper enrichment of the woman. The exchange is mutual. In it the reciprocal effects of the sincere gift and of the finding oneself again are revealed and grow."

And the differences based on gender are not superficial, but include the entire nature of the whole human person, even to the interior spiritual aspects of the person.

To the contrary, secular society seeks to make men and women as much the same as possible. The result is that various serious sins are not understood to be sins at all. Marriage becomes not one man and one woman, but any combination of genders, because gender is seen as superficial. Homosexuality is not recognized as sin because gender is seen as superficial to sexual relationships. But all these disorders find their remedy in the proper understanding of the importance of gender to the whole human person, and to the roles of human persons in the Church, the family, and society.

The claim that women should be priests and Bishops is rooted in this failure to understand that differences in gender permeate the whole human person, and therefore can effect the person's role in the Church.
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Old 28th August 2009, 02:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ron Conte View Post

"The sentence: "The man and his wife were both naked, and were not ashamed," expresses this innocence in the reciprocal experience of the body."

Quote:
"The opposite of this "welcoming" or "acceptance" of the other human being as a gift would be a privation of the gift itself.

Quote:
(6) as if it were an excuse to cast aside modesty, shame, reverence for the gift of sexuality, with the result that the attitudes of sinful secular society toward sexuality become incorporated into a supposedly Catholic view of sex.

It is until certain point amusing to se how the popular version of TOB interprets certain writings of JPII as exalting the body and as if it's ok for women (or men) to even dress without modesty, semi naked, very short shorts, etc. "and that they should be without shame".

Last edited by Brother : 28th August 2009 at 02:48 PM.
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Old 28th August 2009, 02:56 PM
Ron Conte Ron Conte is offline
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Originally Posted by Brother View Post
It is until certain point amusing to se how the popular version of TOB interprets certain writings of JPII as exalting the body and as if it's ok for women (or men) to even dress without modesty, semi naked, very short shorts, etc. "and that they should be without shame".

Yes, the pop-theology version of TOB casts aside shame, as if shame were sin itself, and as a result also casts aside modesty. We are all sinners, so we cannot be like Adam and Eve before the Fall, lacking in the type of shame that comes from either sin or imperfections related to sin. But notice that Mary was sinless and perfect, yet very modest. She had the type of shame that Adam and Eve lacked before the Fall, which is based on our unworthiness as finite creatures before God who is infinitely Good. The pop-TOB has no understanding of these points at all.

Also, I often find that when these errors are expressed, they are presented without any theological argument at all. The rhetorical and baseless claim is made that this is the teaching of JP2 (it is not, as we see from reading the actual TOB lecture series). But no theological argument is even offered. These teachers seem to know that their audience (1) does not give any weight to theological arguments, (2) will accept this distorted version of TOB because it is in accord with what secular society has already ingrained in their souls, and they also seem to understand that (3) they themselves do not have a firm theological basis for these assertion.
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Old 28th August 2009, 03:09 PM
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But notice that Mary was sinless and perfect, yet very modest. She had the type of shame that Adam and Eve lacked before the Fall, which is based on our unworthiness as finite creatures before God who is infinitely Good. The pop-TOB has no understanding of these points at all.

This is a very good point, sadly ignored.
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