The Family: A Communion of Persons
Among the thematic concerns of Pope John Paul II’s pontificate have been the restoration of Christian Unity and the fall of Communism, and increasingly a plea to the West to abandon its materialistic ways. He has been working actively to advance these goals. Indeed, he played a major role in the fall of Communism, progress has been made in various ecumenical endeavors and arguably World Youth Days have begun to direct the youth of the world away from consumerism to supernatural realities.
A concern of seemingly equal importance for John Paul II has been the promotion of the Christian understanding of the family. He has expressed repeatedly that “at [this] moment in history, …the family is the object of numerous forces that seek to destroy it or in some way to deform it” (Familiaris Consortio 3). Thus, he seeks to fortify the family to withstand these attacks so that it can perform its vital role for the good of the individual, society, and the Church. John Paul II’s numerous and profound writings on sexuality, marriage, and the family are shaped by theological, philosophical, and political perspectives. From his pre-pontifical years, we have the philosophical, incomparable Love and Responsibility, and from the early years of his pontificate we have his elaborate theology of the body set out in a series of Wednesday audiences. The family is comprehensively treated in Familiaris Consortio and his Letter to Families; these are complemented by lengthy passages in his writings on women and also his writings on the laity and social justice. There are few portions of his thought that are not touched by concern for the family.
To observe that we live in a society that is suffering greatly from sexual confusion or,...Continue Reading