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Love and Responsibility

4.45 of 5 stars 4.45  ·  rating details  ·  1,094 ratings  ·  50 reviews
Drawing from his own pastoral experience as a priest and bishop before he became Pope John Paul II, Karol Wojtyla has produced a remarkably eloquent and resourceful defense of Catholic tradition in the sphere of family life and sexual morality. He writes in the conviction that science--biology, psychology, sociology--can provide valuable information on particular aspects o ...more
Paperback, 319 pages
Published April 1st 1993 by Ignatius Press (first published 1960)
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This lays the all important groundwork for the Pope's later masterwork: the Theology of the Body. This is a challenging read. The language is dense and overflowing with ideas. Normally when an author introduces a complex idea, he follows it up with an "in other words.." followed by some real life examples to help ground the idea in the reader's mind. The Pope skips those things in this book, so you just get the pure complex ideas. The book is broken up in 5-8 page chapters, which took me about 1 ...more
Kevin Hughes
Dec 10, 2014 Kevin Hughes rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: one and all
In college I struggled with John Paul II's work The Theology of the Body and eventually gave up on it. It was too dense, too seemingly aimless, too full of tangents whose significance to wasn't clear enough, at least to me.

I was very pleasantly surprised when I began Love and Responsibility. It was far more accesible and straighforward, at least compared to the Wednesday audiences that make up The Theology of the Body. For me, this text is the best way to approach the Pope's theology of human se
Wojtyla writes beautifully philosophic prose on the topic of love, particularly as it is expressed in marriage. While the material is dense, the core ideas of love as commitment to the other person as a person, love as avoiding the mistaken notion that love involves using another person as an object, and marriage as the loving union of two persons designed to produce children has profound implications for how we think about marriage today.

As a Protestant, much in the book flows quite nicely with
Before Karol Wojtyla was elected to pope and became John Paul II, he had already written what was arguably his greatest work. Let that sink in for a moment. The great saint who gave us fourteen encyclicals such as Ecclesia De Eucharistia, Fides et Ratio, and Evangelium Vitae had already written a work greater than perhaps all of his encyclicals put together. This book was entitled Love and Responsibility, and if you love reading (soon-to-be) Saint John Paul II's writings then you'll definitely w ...more
Really great book - especially for a new Catholic. It is nice to see that his views are similar to what I thought before: how love involves the whole person, including all of the possibilities that the person holds (including parenthood) . . . and, thus not limit a marriage to a physical or utilitarian plane. Now I get the Catholic teachings against artificial birth control.

Also interesting to note that he quotes Gandhi's autobiography. (p. 232)

After I began reading this book, I realized that a
Edward C.
One of the three most important books I have read. Within, Karol Cardinal Wojtyla (Bl. John Paul II) plays the philosopher, expertly employing phenomenology girded by Thomism to discuss sexuality, relationships, and the meaning of human love. Although often mentioned as a precursor to Man and Woman He Created Them: A Theology of the Body, Love and Responsibility stands well enough on its own.
If I had any smidge of pro-choice thinking in my mind that was unresolved by my Catholic catechism up to the time I read this book, this book completely changed my mind and helped me become pro-life. In this book, Pope John Paul recommends the beauty of life and the family to Catholics. He also condemns the ways in which society promotes a lack of regard for life and for the respect of women (the physical bearers of life). It is not right that unmarried men lead single women on and use them for ...more
Fr. Ryan Humphries
Jun 21, 2012 Fr. Ryan Humphries rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Philosophical and Theological Professionals and Seminarians.
Recommended to Fr. Ryan by: Fr. William Maestry
This is a philosophical master work in Christian Phenomenology. Beware, though. This is not a spiritual book or a papal encyclical. It's a complex work of philosophy which requires foreknowledge of phenomenology and metaphysics. John Paul is in his most intellectual and, therefore, least accessible in this work.
Meg Jenista
Think that the Roman Catholic prohibition of birth control is about being a spoil-sport and killjoy? Think again. Here is the moral theology upon which the Roman Catholic stance is based. It may actually be a beautiful thing.
Ruth Pekar
Jan 08, 2014 Ruth Pekar rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone age 15 and up, especially college students or anyone about to be married
Recommended to Ruth by: reputation of the author, Karol Wojtyla
A classic!
Pope John Paul II gives the reasoning and foundation for the how men and women should see relate with each other, especially in marriage. Basically, we should never see each other as an object of use or enjoyment, because with true love, we focus on what is best for the other person. He breaks down the kinds of love ! It's more than I would have expected from the most holy of priests, and he is as always a very compassionate and loving father in his explanations. Edward Sri also has a short book ...more
Nov 30, 2007 Maria rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anyone looking to deepen their understanding of real Love between a man and woman
This book is a bit dense, but it captures amazingly well what Love (as a virtue) between a man and a woman is and what it isn't. When I first started this book, I thought I would gain an idealized understanding of Love. However, reading through it, what I am gaining is not an idealized understanding of Love, but rather a realistic understanding of Love.

Help yourself and read this book. It'll revolutionize, purify, and complete your beliefs and ideas on Love. I like this book so much, I have to
Fernando de Uña
Un libro imprescindible para profundizar en la concepción del amor y del matrimonio desde un punto de vista católico, que hunde sus raíces en una ética personalista y que pretende distanciarse de los ultilitarismos hedonista y puritano. Tiene una estructura progresiva que va desde un plano general de análisis del objeto y sujeto del amor, de lo que significa "gozar de" y "gozar con", hasta problemas concretos en las relaciones sexuales entre los cónyuges. Para leer y releer continuamente.
Want to return to this; setting it aside with the greatest reluctance and only because I have started too many books at the same time. (sigh)

Have read and reread Intro and first chapter three times. Dense text or I've got from summer sludge on the brain--probably both. However, it really seems to be one of those books which if I force myself to keep working on it will yield hundred or sixty or thirty fold.
If I were, say, the dictator of my own country, I would make this astounding book a required read for all people between the ages of 16 and 19. Then, for their 20th birthday, as a tradition, I would have the parents buy them another copy to read again. This book presents a necessary and vital understanding of love.
Kevin Swick
This book is the best book I have ever read. This is a must read for all Catholics especially young people. I highly recommend this book. It has changed the way I view relationships and has helped me to grow in my relationship.
Tim Pham
This book can save any marriage in trouble or strengthen the spousal relationship. Incredible concept about utility and about charity. Must read for any one who cares about love
Life altering. Incredibly dense. Read it with several really smart people and you might get a hint at the amazing things JP2 was suggesting.
John Paul II did it again. He philosophically got me thinking and questioning. Great for studying.
Feb 15, 2010 Chet added it
Wanna know what real love is?
Joseph Serwach
July 3, 2012
Nearly 20 years before he became Pope John Paul II, Karol Wojtyla wrote a compelling explanation of what destroys relationships and how to make them living, growing meaningful experiences that makes us better people.
In short, when we treat another person as "an object,'' focusing on what they can give us (sex, money, etc.), we are starting a utilitarian relationship that is incredibly limited. When we make our partner's self-realization and well-being our overriding goal, then any
Daniela Castañeda
Man in his various activities makes use of the whole created universe, takes advantage of all its resources for ends which he sets himself, for he alone understands them. Such an attitude on the part of man towards inanimate nature whose riches are so important to economic life, or towards living nature, whose energies and riches man appropriates, does not in principle arouse any doubts. Intelligent human beings are only required not to destroy or squander these natural resources, but to use the ...more
Grace Krilanovich
A philosophy of the interrelatedness of love and responsibility -- however loaded both terms soon become -- here laid out in a surprisingly conversational, commonsense, even intuitive way. The dictates could be applied to any number of worldviews, but Love and Responsibility is, of course, a book about Catholic sexual morality.

It seems pretty obvious that it was written by dictation, which is okay per se, but here each sentence stretches on and on in complex threads of small words. Unnecessarily
Melissa Henderson
Pretty heavy stuff and kind of steamy in some places... I agree with and love the theology but am still having a very hard time with some of the material, just as most modern couples do. I love how JPII differentiates between animals (driven by instinct) and humans (free will) and why it's important to practice the virtues of love and temperance together. Also the in depth philosophy on fully mature, integrated love is what they should really emphasize in pre-cana. This is a deep, beautiful, phi ...more
One of the reviewers on Amazon noted that he wished St. John Paul's picture had been kept off the cover of this, as the presence of a Pope on the cover might dissuade people who would otherwise read this book from doing so. Having finished it, I tend to agree. One need not be Catholic (or particularly religious) to enjoy this book. In a better world, it would loom much larger as an antidote to the callousness and inhumanity which characterizes sexuality in our time.

It's hard to believe that mos
Tainara Campanini
That is certainly incredible to see how Pope John Paul II is a wise man even he was still a young Bishop. He covers every single problem in the field of love along with the commandments of Jesus Christ. This book should certainly be in everyone's shelf as it is full of understandings about what is one of the biggest problems of the society's behaviors in terms of love and responsibility.
Carol Wojtyla at his best. The foundational work that he would later expand into a Theology of The Body. Taking a phenomenological approach, he develops the topic of how marriage fulfills human love in giving people their entire dignity. A very romantic and frank book, written by a man whose specialty was marriage counseling he speaks frankly of the need for generosity in the sexual union.....
A challenging book, but well worth it. So many quotes full of wisdom. The challenge is that much of the book is spent defining and parsing terms (which is necessary) that unless you've read the book, the quotes won't be as meaningful.

Very helpful in learning about the personalistic norm and about the foundation for the Theology of the Body.

Highly recommended!
Aug 03, 2013 Kristy added it
I honestly don't remember much from this book. I had to read it for a class I took in college.
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Saint Pope John Paul II (Latin: Ioannes Paulus II), born Karol Józef Wojtyła.

The Cardinals elected him Pope at the Conclave of 16 October 1978, and he took the name of John Paul II. On 22 October, the Lord's Day, he solemnly inaugurated his Petrine ministry as the 263rd successor to the Apostle. His pontificate, one of the longest in the history of the Church, lasted nearly 27 years.
Driven by his
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“A person's rightful due is to be treated as an object of love, not as an object for use.” 97 likes
“Love between man and woman cannot be built without sacrifices and self-denial.” 50 likes
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