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Theology of the Body

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  1. Theology of the Body Part I Patristic Thought, The Reformers, Eugenics, CastiConubii and Humanae Vitae

  2. Introduction: Think about it. • What are the Questions the Holy Father wanted to address? • Doctrinal and Theological-Is Marriage a Good? • Procreation? • Is The Body Good? • Philosophical-Is Authentic Freedom a Good? • Freedom v. autonomy • Moral and Legal-Is Human Nature (and Natural Law) Good?

  3. Overview of Presentations • Background: Where does TB fall in the history of Catholic thought? • Theology of the Body • Original Innocence • The Fall • Redemption • How can you use this?

  4. Patristic Thought • Background of great sexual licentiousness • Teachings of Jesus and Apostles on marriage, virginity, and chastity radically opposed the practice of the pagan world • Widespread divorce, contraception, abortion, and infanticide; chastity for males was unheard of.

  5. Patristic Thought • Gnostics-metaphysical dualists who held that matter was evil, ergo human body and sexuality • Total abstinence • Licentiousness without procreation • Fathers praised virginity, continence and upheld the good of marriage, and emphasized the good of procreation

  6. Patristic Thought • There was an apprehension about sex. • Depravity of the pagans • Story of the fall; Adam and Eve were ashamed • The problem of the appetite (concupiscence) • Blamed the loss of integration on original sin • Thus, they stressed the procreative end in order to emphasize virtue in marriage • Paul: marriage could allay concupiscence • Balancing these concerns was

  7. Augustine • De bono coniugali-Marriage is emphatically a good; embodies, fides, proles, sacramentum; Holy Trinity is the defining and interpretive principal • De virginitate-Based upon Paul’s view of virginity and consecration to the Lord

  8. St. Paul 1 Cor. 7:25 ff. • Now in regard to virgins, I have no commandment from the Lord, 11 but I give my opinion as one who by the Lord's mercy is trustworthy. 26 So this is what I think best because of the present distress: that it is a good thing for a person to remain as he is. 27 Are you bound to a wife? Do not seek a separation. Are you free of a wife? Then do not look for a wife. 28 If you marry, however, you do not sin, nor does an unmarried woman sin if she marries; but such people will experience affliction in their earthly life, and I would like to spare you that. 29 12 …For the world in its present form is passing away. 32 I should like you to be free of anxieties. … 35 I am telling you this for your own benefit, not to impose a restraint upon you, but for the sake of propriety and adherence to the Lord without distraction. 36

  9. De Genesi ad litteram • The good of marriage is threefold: fides, proles, sacramentum. Fidelity ensures that no sexual intercourse takes place with another outside the bond of matrimony. The offspring is to be lovingly welcomed, affectionately nurtured, and religiously reared. The sacramentum lays down that the marriage is not splint asunder, and that the husband or wife rejected by the partner should not be joined to another, even for the sake of offspring.

  10. Tradition on Marriage • From the Fathers to Trent, concerning the blessings assigned to marriage: proles, fides, sacramentum. • The first of these is procreation. • Marriage was seen as a sacrament of the New Law, a source of grace for conjugal holiness, representing the union between Christ and the Church.

  11. Reformers • With the Reformers came an emphasis on the corruption of human nature in the fall and with that, an emphasis on marriage as a remedy for concupiscence. • Since grace does not reorder human nature by a real change in the person, concupiscence itself becomes the law of marriage.

  12. Trent 24th Session • …Impious men of this age raging, have not only had false notions touching this venerable sacrament, but, introducing according to their wont, under the pretext of the Gospel, a carnal liberty, they have by word and writing asserted, not without great injury to the faithful of Christ, many things alien from the sentiment of the Catholic Church, and from the usage approved of since the times of the apostles • ON THE SACRAMENT OF MATRIMONY. CANON I.-If any one saith, that matrimony is not truly and properly one of the seven sacraments of the evangelic law, (a sacrament) instituted by Christ the Lord; but that it has been invented by men in the Church; and that it does not confer grace; let him be anathema.

  13. Trent: Reaction or Affirmation • Trent - merely a reaction to the sort of things Luther held? • The dogmatic formulas of the council then would merely be the reaction of the Church to a particular problem and could be dismissed out of hand. • I would suggest rather than saying that she had to speak because of the context, that the context was a problem only because the troubling elements of that context were in conflict with the truth about holiness and conjugal chastity. • And the troubling elements of that context were not so different than the earlier struggles or our modern day ones, as well.

  14. Manicheeism survives And the influence of the dualism of the Manichees has never been rooted out among the theologians. The point is that if marriage is merely a remedy for concupiscence and has no intrinsic goodness as the Church has constantly affirmed, a goodness elevated to the level of sacrament, then, of course, the whole of Christian conjugal morality falls. Marriage would not necessarily be indissoluble, nor would it then be directed to the good of procreation and education of children, nor would unity of the spouses in their marital love be considered a stable good.

  15. Tradition on Freedom • Intellect and free will • ST I-II Prologue-image in intelligence and free will • Efficacious • Human acts involve mastery through exercise of reason and will • Consciousness • The recognition of subjectivity

  16. Philosophy • What is Freedom? • How is it possible to speak of authentic human freedom and law (e.g. natural law, divine law) without a clash of wills?

  17. Background • Philosophical Moral question • Objective-Goodness • Subjective-Happiness • Anthropological Question • Who am I? • What does it mean to be a person? • Theological Question • How is Happiness Possible for a Person? • God Alone is Good

  18. Freedom and Morality Human Being Per Nature Freedom (Virtues) The Goal of Life: Perfection of Nature

  19. Freedom and Morality Subject Freedom (Virtues) Happiness

  20. Two Fonts of Christian Morality • St. Paul’s Morality • Gives Jewish Justice and Greek Wisdom a new foundation • Jesus Christ is • The Power of God-Jewish Law-Justice • The Wisdom of God-Greek Philosophy-Wisdom • Natural Human Reason as a participation in Divine Reason • The Sermon on the Mount-Beatitudes • Beatitudes and Happiness

  21. Question for Morality • How does Faith influence Morality Concretely? • How to bring the Law of the Sermon and the Faith in Christ of Paul together? • The Synthesis from the Patristic period through the Scholastic Period emphasized reason (participatio) as the measure of human actions • Free acts were, of necessity, also reasonable • Under the influence of nominalism there was a turn towards pure will

  22. Nominalist Philosophy • Inserted a conflict between human freedom and nature • Nature was something to be dominated • The inclinations of human nature (including goodness, sexuality) were a threat to freedom • In the Aristotelian-Augustinian-Thomistic synthesis freedom originates in the inclinations of nature

  23. Freedom and Morality Human Being w/ Reason Image of God Freedom (Virtues: Human and Theological) Perfection: Beatitude

  24. Kant • Autonomy takes the place of participated reason as the measure of human action • Marriage is a kind of remedy for concupiscence (sex occurs beneath the level of personhood)

  25. Scheler • Restores the concept of “object” rejected in Kantian subjectivism but it is an object of feeling. • Principles of ethical value actually remain subjectivist and intentional • But, Christ is a true lawgiver

  26. Contemporary Idea: freedom and sexuality • 1. The human person must have license in sexual matters because of original sin. • The point seems to be that the concupiscence that remains after baptism is incapable of being controlled by reason and will. Implicitly, the need for relaxing morality is based upon a determinism of the subject which holds that the moral agent is not really free to subject his passions to reason and will.

  27. Freedom and Sexual Expression • 2. At the same time, the right to sexual expression alleged to be rooted in human freedom. The concept is one in which we have the surrender to concupiscence joined to the consensual notion of freedom, which results in calling this surrender of human dignity a right. The right becomes not only a right to live out for myself my sexual tendencies, but also to demand that others remain silent or dutifully consent to similar sexual expression.

  28. The Progressives and Eugenics Background to CastiConubii

  29. Law and its Origin • Moral Law is not a matter for Catholics only • The Declaration of Independence • The Law of Nature and Nature’s God • Self-evident truth’s-God’s wisdom supplies reason with certain criteria for honest judgment • Unalienable rights-The nature of the human being established limits upon the State

  30. Blackstone’s Commentaries 1765-1769 • Foremost law book in England and US • Played a significant role in development of US legal system

  31. Blackstone • Those rights then which God and nature have established, and are therefore called natural rights such as are life and liberty, need not the aid of human laws to be more effectively invested in every man than they are; neither do they receive any additional strength when declared by the municipal laws to be inviolable.

  32. Blackstone • On the contrary, no human legislature has power to abridge or destroy them, .... Neither do divine or natural duties (such as, for instance, the worship of God, the maintenance of children, and the like) receive any stronger sanction from being also declared to be duties of the law of the land.

  33. Declaration of Independence • We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. --That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed

  34. Declaration of Independence • --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

  35. What Changed? • A loss of the sense of unalienable rights as persons (spiritual) naturally endowed by God • An Erosion of the Values of Marriage and Deterioration of Family • The problem has been recognized by the Church’s central authority for well over a century as a “flight from God.”

  36. The Pragmatists and Progressives • The Declaratory theory of Law • Until about the 20th Century • Judges, legislators discover, not create law • Recall Blackstone and the Declaration of Independence

  37. A New Approach • Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. • A new approach • The Potential for social evolution • Use the law to expedite social change • No need to appeal to God • The law simply was a statement of compromise between conflicting social interests

  38. Holmes said: • “The first requirement of a sound body of law is that it should correspond with the actual feelings and demands of the community, whether right or wrong.”

  39. Roscoe Pound-Harvard Law • Reform the judiciary into an institution for social change • The law should become an instrument for “a more effective social engineering.”

  40. William James • The influence of the Pragmatists • Between 1881 …and the 1930’s there was a dramatic reorientation in American legal thought…During the middle decades of this century (20th) … pragmatic instrumentalism … was our most influential theory of law in jurisprudential circles…Robert Summers, Cornell U.

  41. Pius XI • Philosophies which repudiated God, i.e., “the flight from God.” • The Church, it was argued, was an affront to human freedom (Cf. Quadragesimo Anno, 1931, social justice)

  42. Pius XI • The notion of the State that made the human being the absolute subject of the State • But human dignity has certain claims to make in the area of free enterprise, ex. Just wage, right to organize • This was not always recognized by the alleged voices of freedom

  43. Pius XI • From God comes the very institution of marriage, the ends for which it was instituted, the laws that govern it, the blessings that flow from it; while man, through generous surrender of his own person made to another for the whole span of life, becomes, with the help and cooperation of God, the author of each particular marriage, with the duties and blessings annexed thereto from divine institution. Casti connubii, Dec. 31, 1930

  44. Social Doctrine and Family • The Church’s social doctrine and concern about the family go hand in hand. The more we look back at the issues, the more we see this. It is explicit in the teaching of the modern Pope’s. • The fundamental problem is a loss of the sense of connection between God, the Creator, and His image, the human being.

  45. The Effects of Destabilizing the Law • Social theories affecting family life are of greatest concern to the Popes • Two-fold attack • Workers rights, social stability • The meaning of the human body, human family, sexuality, marital stability

  46. “No human legislature has power to abridge or destroy… those rights then which God and nature have established, and are therefore called natural rights such as are life and liberty.” Blackstone, 1765“ Law… should correspond feelings and demands of the community,...no need to appeal to God. Holmes, c. 1900 A more effective social engineering Pound, c. 1900 Contrast the Two Views of Law

  47. Aversio a Deo Pragmatists, Progressives and Eugenicists: Contraception, Abortion and Euthanasia

  48. Useless Eaters • “Whatever proportions these crimes finally assumed, it became evident to all who investigated them that they had started from small beginnings. The beginnings at first were merely a subtle shift in emphasis in the basic attitude of the physicians. It started with the acceptance of the attitude, basic in the euthanasia movement, that there is such a thing as a life not worthy to be lived. This attitude in its early stages concerned itself merely with the severely and chronically sick. Gradually the sphere of those to be included in this category was enlarged to encompass the socially unproductive, the ideologically unwanted, and finally all non-Aryans. But it is important to realize that the infinitely small wedged-in lever from which this entire trend of mind received its impetus was the attitude toward the non-rehabilitable sick.'' 1949 in the New England Journal of Medicine. Dr. Leo Alexander, Medical Advisor during Nuremburg Trials

  49. Eugenics • Sir Francis Galton coined the term “eugenics” in 1883. • “well-born.” • Galton focused on positive eugenics • Negative eugenics, developed in the United States and Germany, played on fears of “race degeneration.” • working-class poor were reproducing at a greater rate than successful middle- and upper-class

  50. Margaret Sanger • Organized charity itself is the symptom of a malignant social disease. • Those vast, complex, interrelated organizations … are the surest sign that our civilization has bred, is breeding and perpetuating constantly increasing numbers of defectives, delinquents and dependents.