Before becoming pope, Father Karol Wojtyla published Love and Responsibility in 1960. The 319 page book covers subjects such as our sexual urge, chastity, love, ethics, and justice. In 2007, Piotr Kuhiwcazk described Love and Responsibility as “a defense of the traditional Catholic teachings on marriage from a new philosophical standpoint.
Where did inspiration for such a work come from? What inspired this celibate man to write such a book on love and sexuality?
While he taught at the Catholic University of Lublin, Father Wojtyla gathered together a group on young people. They called themselves Rodznika – “little family”. They regularly met to pray together, have deep philosophical discussions, and invest in their community through acts of service.
The little group blossomed under the direction of Father Wojtyla and quickly grew to include more than 200 young adults. Every year, they took skiing and kayaking trips together. It was on these annual adventures that Father Wojtyla discussed the complexities of human sexuality with the young adults. Their meetings and discussions led to the development of the beauty found in Love and Responsibility.
Read more: 35 Quotes from St. John Paul II for Singles
Before you discern a romantic relationship, it is well worth your time to read one of Pope John Paul II’s earliest works. Here are 19 quotes on love, sexuality, and chastity to get you started:
1. “A person’s rightful due is to be treated as an object of love, not as an object for use.”
2. “Love between man and woman cannot be built without sacrifices and self-denial.”
3. “Love consists of a commitment which limits one’s freedom – it is a giving of the self, and to give oneself means just that: to limit one’s freedom on behalf of another.”
4. “Treating a person as a means to an end, and an end moreover which in this case is pleasure, the maximization of pleasure, will always stand in the way of love.”
5. “A person is an entity of a sort to which the only proper and adequate way to relate is love.”
6. “Love is never something ready made, something merely ‘given’ to man and woman, it is always at the same time a ‘task’ which they are set. Love should be seen as something which in a sense never ‘is’ but is always only ‘becoming’, and what it becomes depends up on the contribution of both persons and the depth of their commitment.”
7. “Love in human relationships is not something ready-made. It begins as a principle or idea which people must somehow live up to in their behavior, which they must desire if they want – as they should – to free themselves from the utilitarian, the ‘consumer’ attitude towards other persons.”
8. “It is easy to go on from the experience of pleasure not merely to the quest for pleasure, but to the quest of pleasure for its own sake, to accepting it as a superlative value and the proper basis for a norm of behavior. This is the very essence of the distortions which occur in the love between woman and man.”
9. “Love is always a mutual relationship between two persons.”
10. “Love is the fullest realization of the possibilities inherent in man. The potential inherent in the person is most fully actualized through love.”
11. “The love of person for person must be benevolent, or it will not be genuine. Indeed, it will not be love at all, but only egoism.”
12. “Virtue can only come from spiritual strength.”
13. “The value of a person must be not merely understood by the cold light of reason, but felt. An abstract understanding of the person does not necessarily beget a feeling of value of the person.”
14. “Man – the human person – is aware also of the objective order of existence, and at the same time discovers the part which the sexual urge plays in that order. He is even capable of understanding his role in relation to the Creator, as a form of participation in the work of creation.”
15. “Love between man and woman would be evil, or at least incomplete, if it went no farther than love as desire. For love as desire is not the whole essence of love between persons. It is not enough to long for a person as a good for oneself, one must also, and above all, long for that person’s good.”
16, “Freedom exists for the sake of love.”
17. “The virtue of chastity and love of the person are each conditional upon each other.”
18. “Moderation is not mediocrity but the ability to maintain one’s equilibrium amid the stirrings of concupiscence.”
19. “Only true knowledge of a person makes it possible to commit one’s freedom to him or her. Love consists of a commitment which limits one’s freed om – it is a giving of oneself, and to give oneself means just that: to limits one’s freedom on behalf of the other.”