A ZENIT DAILY DISPATCH
The Church Must Guide the Sexual Revolution
|Man and Woman in Union With God
ROME, 31 AUG 1999 (ZENIT).
The John Paul II Institute for Studies of Marriage and the Family has just closed a week of study involving 120 university professors from around the world. This the second event of its kind in the 18-year history of the institute. Faced with a secularized mentality that attacks the Church as backward and puritanical, the institute answers with praise for the "marvel of sexuality."
The Italian newspaper "Avvenire" interviewed Polish Father Stanislaw Grygiel, Vice-President of the Institute, asking him about the week of study.
The professors meeting in Rome denounced the attempt of society to reduce the family to an agreement over private living conditions, ignoring differences between the sexes. Grygiel noted that "More and more we are losing the experience of our own bodies and, therefore, of sexual differences. A man doesn't see himself in the light of the body of a woman, nor does a woman see herself in the light of the body of a man, because the body, despite appearances, is not at the center of human interests."
Responding to the objection that the media today is focused almost exclusively on the body, in T.V., movies, commercials, etc., the professor stated, "This is a degraded attention to pleasure, which does not imply an understanding of the truth about the body, because pleasure made an absolute separates us from this truth. In a dialogue with the body, pleasure helps us value it, but if it is absolutized, pleasure can destroy the body. Euthanasia, the ultimate pleasure, is the end of a monologue of pleasure that has degraded the human person."
This distortion of the truth of the body, according to Grygiel, should provoke an authentic social repression. "Our society is constantly, and in more sophisticated ways, making itself look more and more like a concentration camp, where the only difference between people is their I.D. number. Yet, work that does not love, love that does not work, provokes the degeneration of society into a mass of individuals. All [totalitarian] regimes suppress social differences and manifestations of this beauty with its liberating force, because they only care about numbers," continued Grygiel.
According to the professor, the cause of this imprisonment of the human spirit is more profound than the globalized economy. The cause is "everything that is done with only technical criteria. The economy and politics are reduced to a simple technical fact. Today, the only organization that defends the body is the Church, and by defending the body, it defends the human person. The antidote we need is the work of philosophical reflection on the human being and on the family."
The Pope had the same intuition in his days at the University of Krakow. Professor Grygiel commented that "The Pope has a vision of the human person that matured in Poland where he taught young people to grow in love. This experience was complimented by the study of philosophy and mysticism. Plato, in 'The Symposium,' when he tells how man is freed from opinions, says that everything begins with the encounter with the beauty of the body, and afterwards, one can proceed until he reaches God. This primordial experience of the body is the basis of European culture. It begins in Ancient Greece until reaching the mystery of the Incarnation: there the body was exalted. The history of love and the great work of God take place in the body. The first manifestation of the love of God is found here: ethical and moral questions are no longer a consequence coming out of this anthropological vision."
Given that the sexual revolution has failed in many respects, the professor proposes that the Church lead a new revolution. "Society has repressed our sexuality, and it has been precisely the Church that, by telling the truth about the human body, has defended sexuality and its beauty," concluded Grygiel.
"Sexual differences create a space for total trust between one person and another. Those who are afraid to give themselves totally to others fear sexuality, and thus abuse it, deforming it to themselves. The objective of the John Paul II Institute is precisely to study the miracle of sexual difference. This is the beginning of a path in which we discover the ultimate and fundamental difference for human beings: the difference between God and creatures. If we don't live the sexual differences correctly that distinguish man and woman and call them to unite, we will not be capable of understanding the difference that distinguishes man and God, and constitutes a primordial call to union. Thus, we may fall into the despair of a life separated from others and from the Other, that is, God." ZE99083101
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