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Discussion related to living as a Catholic in the single state of life. As long as a topic is being discussed from the perspective of a single Catholic then it will be on-topic.

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Just today I happened upon an article on the late Blessed Pope John Paul II's book, Love and Responsibility. It really was amazing. I admit that I've not yet read the book, but I am looking forward to reading it now. I saw excerpts, and while it looks a bit wordy, I think it is worth picking up. This article is absolutely fabulous as to how it describes the popular heresy of Utilitarianism in relationships. Normally I only hear this word being used in philosophies that support Marxism and the like (i.e., Hegel, materialism, etc.) This, however, among other points, clearly explains how this error exists rampant in society and in the individuals that see people as objects.

Even if you take your spirituality seriously enough to not be sinning against the 6th and 9th Commandments whether mortally or fully deliberately, this issue of utilitarianism can apply even out of the realm of sexual relations. The philosophy is so rampant, that it shows itself in different levels, in different ways, and sometimes just at different situations.

Here is the article: www.catholic.org

And here is a Catholic definition of the word:

(Quote) util·i·tar·i·an·ism noun \-ē-ə-ˌni-zəm\
(Quote) util·i·tar·i·an·ism noun \-ē-ə-ˌni-zəm\ Definition of UTILITARIANISM 1 : a doctrine that the useful is the good and that the determining consideration of right conduct should be the usefulness of its consequences; specifically : a theory that the aim of action should be the largest possible balance of pleasure over pain or the greatest happiness of the greatest number 2 : utilitarian character, spirit, or quality See utilitarianism defined for English-language learners » First Known Use of UTILITARIANISM 1827 Other Philosophy Terms dialectic, dualism, epistemology, existentialism, metaphysics,ontology, sequitur, solipsism, transcendentalism utilitarianism noun (Concise Encyclopedia)

Ethical principle according to which an action is right if it tends to maximize happiness, not only that of the agent but also of everyone affected. Thus, utilitarians focus on the consequences of an act rather than on its intrinsic nature or the motives of the agent (see consequentialism). Classical utilitarianism is hedonist, but values other than, or in addition to, pleasure (ideal utilitarianism) can be employed, or—more neutrally, and in a version popular in economics—anything can be regarded as valuable that appears as an object of rational or informed desire (preference utilitarianism). The test of utility maximization can also be applied directly to single acts (act utilitarianism), or to acts only indirectly through some other suitable object of moral assessment, such as rules of conduct (rule utilitarianism). Jeremy Bentham'sIntroduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation (1789) and John Stuart Mill's Utilitarianism (1863) are major statements of utilitarianism.

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OK, so someone who is an Utilitarianist may not be breaking the 6th and 9th Commandments, but he uses women, one after the other usually, to feed his ego. He refuses to take any responsibility if his selfish, ego driven motives (often well concealed) are hurting the other person, because his motive is to derive pleasure, and not to have a true relationship, which precludes reciprocity, mutual respect, etc. Has anyone heard about this before or have read the book, Love and Responsibility?

Apr 1st 2013 new

Lynea,

I believe that the Love and Responsibility book is distilled from Pope JPII's writings (as a priest) and then later from his weekly general audiences (over his years as pope) on the general topic of "Theology of the Body". Just Google "Theology of the Body" and you will find all sorts of interesting things from JPII.


Here is a link (to EWTN) which will provide a wealth of reading (from JPII) concerning the "Theology of the Body" for which he is so well-known.

www.ewtn.com

This contains the text of his weekly general audiences on the general topic of "Theology of the Body" and more specific topics under that umbrella.

I believe that in the coming decades all of these writings will become known as perhaps one of JPII's greatest contributions to the Catholic faith and to the world. People (even scholars) have only just begun to unpack everything within his writings on this subject.

Ed

Apr 1st 2013 new

I am familiar with Theology of the Body. It wasn't actually anything new. The Church taught these things before, as did Doctor of the Church, St. Thomas Aquinas. What I like about this article on "Love and Responsibility" was specifically the analysis of the Utilitarianist.

Apr 1st 2013 new
It all falls under modernism. No new heresy, just a rehashing of old ones.
Apr 1st 2013 new

(Quote) Tim-734178 said: It all falls under modernism. No new heresy, just a rehashing of old ones.
(Quote) Tim-734178 said: It all falls under modernism. No new heresy, just a rehashing of old ones.
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I often hear that, but Utilitarianism specifically isn't normally discussed.

Apr 1st 2013 new

(Quote) Lynea-297530 said: Just today I happened upon an article on the late Blessed Pope John Paul II's book,
(Quote) Lynea-297530 said:

Just today I happened upon an article on the late Blessed Pope John Paul II's book, Love and Responsibility. It really was amazing. I admit that I've not yet read the book, but I am looking forward to reading it now. I saw excerpts, and while it looks a bit wordy, I think it is worth picking up. This article is absolutely fabulous as to how it describes the popular heresy of Utilitarianism in relationships. Normally I only hear this word being used in philosophies that support Marxism and the like (i.e., Hegel, materialism, etc.) This, however, among other points, clearly explains how this error exists rampant in society and in the individuals that see people as objects.

Even if you take your spirituality seriously enough to not be sinning against the 6th and 9th Commandments whether mortally or fully deliberately, this issue of utilitarianism can apply even out of the realm of sexual relations. The philosophy is so rampant, that it shows itself in different levels, in different ways, and sometimes just at different situations.

Here is the article: www.catholic.org

And here is a Catholic definition of the word:




OK, so someone who is an Utilitarianist may not be breaking the 6th and 9th Commandments, but he uses women, one after the other usually, to feed his ego. He refuses to take any responsibility if his selfish, ego driven motives (often well concealed) are hurting the other person, because his motive is to derive pleasure, and not to have a true relationship, which precludes reciprocity, mutual respect, etc. Has anyone heard about this before or have read the book, Love and Responsibility?

--hide--



I have the book and I must be honest, I haven't read the whole book, but used it during a class on morality I took back in college. The theme of utilitarianism is very common in the parts we had to read from what I recall. I think it can be best summed up by saying we have to show true love to all people in our life if we are to not be utilitarian.

Apr 2nd 2013 new
A perfect example is the concept that people's worth is based on what it can do for society.
Apr 5th 2013 new

(Quote) Tim-734178 said: A perfect example is the concept that people's worth is based on what it can do for society.
(Quote) Tim-734178 said: A perfect example is the concept that people's worth is based on what it can do for society.
--hide--

Yes, this is what I was thinking, too, that it is the same premise (or one of them) that leads to socialism and communism and all other types of totalitarianistic regimes. The whole concept that it is ok for a business to exist when it cannot afford it's lowest paid worker enough for a living wage (enough to support themselves and a family) is immoral.

Also, even in the social sense, the Utilitarianistic thought is applicable even to relationships that are not sexually-oriented, or active or whatever. My intent to post this was the actual premise of Utilitarianism in the social model, and not just specific to sexually oriented things. I mean, two people can be in an entirely chaste relationship (or at least, one of the people can have entirely chaste lifestyle, thoughts, intentions, etc.) and one of the two can operate within the relationship as a utilitarianist. A good example of this is a man looking for a woman to fit a role, as if filling a job position for his wife, and a woman could look at marriage in sort of the same way. I am pretty sure this wasn't what God intended.

Apr 6th 2013 new

The person is the kind of good which does not admit of use and cannot be treated as an object of use and as such the means to an end (Love and Responsibility, pg. 41).

"Love and Responsibility" is my favorite book. No joke. I, pardon the pun, love the thing.

I initially read through "Love and Responsibility" in my early 20s, and it was the single text that intellectually solidified my approach to human interaction and (especially) relationships. It made me fall in love with the Catholic Church's intellectual foundation/validity and positions on key issues.

I see this book as being more a work of pure philosophy than the more common theological approach to issues of faith and love. Maybe it's just me, but the philosophical approach resonates more than theological interpretation of scripture (not to say that doesn't have its value) -- it just feels more logically coherent and tangible. Then again, I'm obviously a pretty analytical person (and a professional Software Engineer). Can you tell? ;)

This book is a dense read, but JPII creates a foundation for his argument early (with Chapter 1, Section 1 literally being called "Analysis of the verb 'to use'), and he doesn't hesitate to repeat certain key definitions later on so that you can stay with him in the moment. He builds on that foundation one step at a time (going into other popular philosophies enacted in our society today, such as utilitarianism) until he concludes in a way that seems immutable. He's also not afraid to pull in scientific research, which is actually quite in sync with what he details as the "personalistic norm." I was incredibly impressed when I had finished the book.

To me it seems like intellectual secularism is being pushed on our youth by the public education system (of which I saw first hand) and those that built that system, which then spread into society as a whole. It's easy to shoot down the Catholic position on important topics when all we're saying is "because the Bible said so." To win the hearts and minds of the youth, we have to not only present an intellectually consistent position, but also make it marketable and alluring. I believe the key to doing just that lies in this book.

"Love and Responsibility" is an intellectual rock that is built on logical reasoning, which means its lessons can be more easily applied to a secular society. It's just a matter of recognizing its importance and distilling the meaning into a format that can be easily absorbed by the average person.

I admit that it's not a read most people will stick with (too complex, too dense, and a huge barrier of entry -- particularly for non-Catholics), but I passionately believe some real value can be pulled from its pages. I think it's unfortunate that when I was growing up I never heard it mentioned, even in the Church. I had to find out about it entirely on my own journey of faith and philosophy. I love my parents dearly, but they were not well equipped for a son so inquisitive. My mom -- a pretty hardcore Catholic -- didn't even know the book existed until I introduced it to her! :O

Sometimes when no one else is doing something, you've got to do it yourself. Once I get the chance to parse through the text a little more thoroughly, I might try to create a local discussion group aimed at young adults that explores and applies its lessons. I just feel there is so much to learn from it. It should be taught in universities right alongside Kant, Jung, Nietzsche, and the like. It's not a text that is bound to scripture -- it's an intellectually coherent piece of philosophy that can stand on its own.

Thanks for the thread, Lynea! It gave me an excuse to go off about how under-appreciated and unknown this book still is.

Epic first post, huh? :D

Apr 6th 2013 new

(Quote) Mikelangelo-954162 said: The person is the kind of good which does not admit of use and cannot be treated as...
(Quote) Mikelangelo-954162 said:

The person is the kind of good which does not admit of use and cannot be treated as an object of use and as such the means to an end (Love and Responsibility, pg. 41).

"Love and Responsibility" is my favorite book. No joke. I, pardon the pun, love the thing.

I initially read through "Love and Responsibility" in my early 20s, and it was the single text that intellectually solidified my approach to human interaction and (especially) relationships. It made me fall in love with the Catholic Church's intellectual foundation/validity and positions on key issues.

I see this book as being more a work of pure philosophy than the more common theological approach to issues of faith and love. Maybe it's just me, but the philosophical approach resonates more than theological interpretation of scripture (not to say that doesn't have its value) -- it just feels more logically coherent and tangible. Then again, I'm obviously a pretty analytical person (and a professional Software Engineer). Can you tell? ;)

This book is a dense read, but JPII creates a foundation for his argument early (with Chapter 1, Section 1 literally being called "Analysis of the verb 'to use'), and he doesn't hesitate to repeat certain key definitions later on so that you can stay with him in the moment. He builds on that foundation one step at a time (going into other popular philosophies enacted in our society today, such as utilitarianism) until he concludes in a way that seems immutable. He's also not afraid to pull in scientific research, which is actually quite in sync with what he details as the "personalistic norm." I was incredibly impressed when I had finished the book.

To me it seems like intellectual secularism is being pushed on our youth by the public education system (of which I saw first hand) and those that built that system, which then spread into society as a whole. It's easy to shoot down the Catholic position on important topics when all we're saying is "because the Bible said so." To win the hearts and minds of the youth, we have to not only present an intellectually consistent position, but also make it marketable and alluring. I believe the key to doing just that lies in this book.

"Love and Responsibility" is an intellectual rock that is built on logical reasoning, which means its lessons can be more easily applied to a secular society. It's just a matter of recognizing its importance and distilling the meaning into a format that can be easily absorbed by the average person.

I admit that it's not a read most people will stick with (too complex, too dense, and a huge barrier of entry -- particularly for non-Catholics), but I passionately believe some real value can be pulled from its pages. I think it's unfortunate that when I was growing up I never heard it mentioned, even in the Church. I had to find out about it entirely on my own journey of faith and philosophy. I love my parents dearly, but they were not well equipped for a son so inquisitive. My mom -- a pretty hardcore Catholic -- didn't even know the book existed until I introduced it to her! :O

Sometimes when no one else is doing something, you've got to do it yourself. Once I get the chance to parse through the text a little more thoroughly, I might try to create a local discussion group aimed at young adults that explores and applies its lessons. I just feel there is so much to learn from it. It should be taught in universities right alongside Kant, Jung, Nietzsche, and the like. It's not a text that is bound to scripture -- it's an intellectually coherent piece of philosophy that can stand on its own.

Thanks for the thread, Lynea! It gave me an excuse to go off about how under-appreciated and unknown this book still is.

Epic first post, huh? :D

--hide--


Hello, Mikelangelo.

As the late, Venerable Fulton Sheen would say, "Philosophy is the handle on which to grasp theology." Philosophy helps us to understand the theology. However, it takes more than just philosophy by itself to understand and appreciate orthodox, objectively true, theology. But I digress, as that is another whole conversation.

Things such as the concept of "Utilitarianism" can be seen as a philosophy, but also, it is a type of heresy, because it has an incorrect understanding of the roles of God and of Man, and of God's creatures, especially of other human beings, by man. I think the late Blessed John Paul II would be pleased to learn he has such an "inquisitive" fan, but he would be even more pleased if you took also an interest in theology, perhaps. Have you seen the book, "Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma" by Dr. Ludwig Ott? It's not the same kind of cover-to-cover read, but rather, it is more of a resource book for Catholics. What it does is break down the dogmas and cites the councils that brought them forth, as well as the philosophies even and theologies, and their respective philsophers and theologians, that 'produced' them. (I am careful about using that word, 'produce' in this context because no one ever produces theology, if it is true, but God. We have our dogmas by Christ handed down by the Apsotles through that tradition, so nothing ever substantially changes, whether it be the dogmatic doctrine or Holy Mother Church's understanding. It may be refined in order to be established as "dogmatic" or developed in the sense of refining the definition, but never does it alter to the point where it has a different meaning it its substance from before.

I just went on a tangent there.


Anyway, I degree, the late Blessed John Paul II doesn't go much into natural law or divine law in this book, which I think is disappointing to me, however, the way the book was developed was actually by someone having collected a bunch of his (largely) philosophy lectures during a specific 3 or 4 years time period, if memory serves me on that.

The highest good isn't even the good we can potentially do for one another but God Himself, so in a sense, theology is a more perfect science, in that it reveals higher truths, but philosophy is necessary to get there as far as our human understanding permits. Theological truths exist whether or not we hold those truths, and philosophy is something we all carry with us, whether it is good or bad philosophy.

I think it would be an interesting discussion to tie in the philosophies described in "Love and Responsiblity" to natural and divine laws. Take courtship --- and then look at how our culture recommends it and how the Church has traditionally recommended it. There is a vast difference there. Then again, you need also the philosophical understanding to appreciate deeply and to be able to apply the natural and divine laws, and understand and appreciate the Church's traditional recommendations for courtship. I think a lot of people who THINK that they have a traditional understanding and appreciation for courtship in fact, do not, exactly because they miss the fuller understanding that comes with starting with the correct philosophies.

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