John Paul II on the Vulnerable

John Paul II on the Vulnerable

Jeffrey Tranzillo
Copyright Date: 2013
Pages: 354
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  • Book Info
    John Paul II on the Vulnerable
    Book Description:

    In John Paul II on the Vulnerable, Jeffrey Tranzillo provides a lucid introduction to John Paul II's philosophical and theological understanding of the human person.

    eISBN: 978-0-8132-2012-3
    Subjects: Religion

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vii)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. viii-x)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xi-xii)
  4. Abbreviations of Frequently Cited Works by Karol Wojtyła/John Paul II
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
  5. Introduction: The Origin, Purpose, and Outline of This Study
    (pp. xv-xxii)

    This book grew out of a series of discussions that I had several years ago with Peter Casarella, who is both a professor of Catholic studies at DePaul University in Chicago and the director of DePaul’s Center for World Catholicism and Intercultural Theology. Grieved by the brutal sin of abortion, I wanted to address in some way the unfounded denial, by some, of the unborn child’s personhood. That denial has long been and continues to be used to promote and justify abortion’s legalization, as well as the act itself. As I discussed the matter with Peter, however, we soon agreed...

  6. 1. In the Service of the Human Person: The Life, Thought, and Work of Karol Wojtyła/Pope John Paul II
    (pp. 1-62)

    While twelve-year-old Karol Wojtyła was serving Mass one day, Jerzy Kluger, one of his Jewish friends, entered the church to wait for him, eager to tell his classmate that they had both been promoted to high school. A Catholic woman saw him and asked, “Aren’t you Dr. Kluger’s son? What are you doing in the church?” But Jerzy gave no answer. When young Karol heard of this, he got annoyed and said, “What nonsense! We are all children of the same God!”¹ Even at that early age, Karol Wojtyła was already exhibiting the personal qualities that would distinguish him throughout...

  7. 2. Person and Act
    (pp. 63-102)

    Having selectively reviewed the life, thought, and work of Pope John Paul II, we can appreciate more fully why the human person, and the true good of the person, was always the center of his concern. And because he dedicated his life to defending and fostering the personal dignity and rights of vulnerable human beings, we can expect that his person-centered writings will somehow embrace the theme of human vulnerability, even when that is not mainly or explicitly his focus. His philosophical anthropology is most fully expressed in his 1969 work Osoba i czyn, or Person and Act. The English...

  8. 3. The Person Acting in Community
    (pp. 103-129)

    In this chapter, we will consider Cardinal Wojtyła’s treatment of persons as agents both of and within their interpersonal and social relations with others. We will be examining not only the ideal structure of the communities or societies formed of those relations but also some of the defects that can undermine them. We will see that any such defects can always be traced back to defective relationships among persons. Mindful of what we learned in chapter 2, we will then reflect on how psychosomatically developing, psycho-rationally disintegrated, and somatically disintegrated persons can exercise their agency in the communal or larger...

  9. 4. The Theology of the Body
    (pp. 130-180)

    In this chapter, we will focus on Pope John Paul II’s “theology of the body,” which he laid out systematically as a series of discourses during his Wednesday general audiences over the five-year period extending from September 1979 to November 1984. Centering on the language—on the personal expressivity—of the human body, John Paul’s reflections complement, enrich, and develop the philosophical project that he had undertaken over ten years earlier as cardinal of Kraków.¹ We can therefore expect that they will likewise complement, enrich, and develop our understanding of vulnerable human beings and their agency.

    John Paul II’s theological...

  10. 5. The Vulnerable and the Mystery of Jesus Christ
    (pp. 181-220)

    In the last chapter, we sampled something of the richness of Pope John Paul II’s theology of the body and considered some of its implications relative to vulnerable human beings and their agency. However, John Paul’s theology of the body does not elaborate every theological basis for his anthropological convictions. It would therefore be worthwhile for us to examine selected Christological texts from a few of his other important writings and to highlight their theological and anthropological import. As an interesting, though somewhat parenthetical, result of that effort, we will see more directly how the tri-personal understanding of God underlying...

  11. 6. The Vulnerable as Actors in the Social Encyclicals of Pope John Paul II
    (pp. 221-262)

    In the last chapter, we focused our discussion on four different categories of vulnerable human beings and their personal agency in the light of our key anthropological, theological, and Christological reflections to that point. In the present chapter, together with the next, we will have occasion to revisit each of those categories, as well as the one we have termed “moral vulnerability.” We will proceed even more concretely than before, drawing from the four encyclicals in which John Paul II addresses specifically the most urgent contemporary threats against the vulnerable and their agency. Those encyclicals—namely, John Paul’s three commemorative...

  12. 7. The Vulnerable as Persons and Actors in Evangelium Vitae
    (pp. 263-308)

    In this chapter, we will focus on Pope John Paul II’s historic 1995 encyclical, Evangelium Vitae. In it, John Paul reiterates the main lines of his anthropological enterprise. But he does so with the explicit intention of providing a framework in which to develop the essential features of an “anthropology of the vulnerable”—an anthropology that resoundingly affirms the personhood and genuinely human agency of both psychosomatically developing human beings and those undergoing disintegration of any kind. The encyclical’s thoroughly biblical character will help us clarify the grounds on which John Paul seems, long before its promulgation, to have modified...

  13. 8. Developing the Philosophical Foundation of Pope John Paul II’s Anthropology of the Vulnerable
    (pp. 309-358)

    Though we have given examples in previous chapters of Cardinal Wojtyła/Pope John Paul II’s unequivocal and striking affirmations that vulnerable human beings—like the newly conceived child and the sufferer at the point of death—exercise a truly human and personal agency, we have also had to concede that he does not ever really explain fully the anthropological basis of those affirmations. However, this is not to say that his insights are invalid or that he ends up blurring the distinction between human actions performed deliberately and those performed by persons whose capacity for deliberate activity cannot fully be actualized...

  14. Bibliography
    (pp. 359-366)
  15. Index
    (pp. 367-374)
  16. Back Matter
    (pp. 375-376)