The Human Body and Sexuality in the Teaching of Pope John Paul II
It is well known that at times some Christian thinkers have adopted implicitly a very dualistic view of the human person - dualistic in the sense of viewing the self as something which has or inhabits a body, rather than being a living, bodily entity. For example, some have thought of heaven, or the completed kingdom of God, as something purely spiritual, with no thought given to the role of the body. On that view, bodily goods, including biological life, turn out to be nothing but mere means, or perhaps temporary vessels, for what alone is intrinsically valuable (Gaudium et Spes, no. 34). Recently some Christian thinkers have adopted a basically Kantian view of human action, downgrading conscious choices bearing on limited goods??“categorial choices”??as quite secondary or peripheral to a mysterious, subconscious “transcendental,” fundamental option toward or away from the Absolute, God (Rahner, 1986, pp. 24-44, 90-106). On that view, once again, bodily goods, being the objects of mere “categorial choices,” are demoted to the level of mere external signs of what is truly important, and purely spiritual. Such views lend credence to the widely held secular view of Christianity that it has a dim view of the human body and matter.
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