Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Beginnings of a Course in Bio-Ethics


20 classes

Trumbull Manor

January 22 – February 13/2011

I suggest that the title of the course be "Bio-Theology" [perhaps in the same genre as the "Theology of the Body"] because "It is the Church's conviction that what is human is not only received and respected by faith, but is also purified, elevated, and perfected [by faith]. God, after having created man in his image and likeness (cf. Gen. 1, 26), described his creature as 'very good' (Gen. 1, 31), so as to be assumed later in the Son (cf. Jn 1, 14). In the mystery of the Incarnation, the Son of God confirmed the dignity of the body and soul which constitute the human being. Christ did not disdain human bodiliness, but instead fully disclosed its meaning and value: 'In reality, it is only in the mystery of the incarnate Word that the mystery of man truly becomes clear.'
"By becoming one of us, the Son makes it possible for us to become 'sons of God' (Jn. 1, 12), 'sharers in the divine nature' (2 Pet 1, 4). This new dimension does not conflict with the dignity of the creature which everyone can recognize by the use of reason, but elevates it into a wider horizon of life which is proper to God, giving us the ability to reflect more profoundly on human life and on the acts of by which it is brought into existence.
"The respect for the individual human being, which reason requires, is further enhanced and strengthened in the light of these truths of faith: thus, we see that there is no contradiction between the affirmation of the dignity and the affirmation of the sacredness of human life. 'The different ways in which god, acting in history, cares for the world and for mankind are not mutually exclusive; on the contrary, they support each other and intersect. They have their origin and goal in the eternal, wise, and loving counsel whereby God predestines men and women "to be conformed to the image of his Son" (Rom. 8, 29).
"By taking the interrelationship of these two dimensions, the human and the divine, as the starting point, one understands better why it is that man has unassailable value: he possesses an eternal vocation and is called to share in the trinitarian love of the living God.
"This value belongs to all without distinction. By virtue of the simple fact of existing, every human being must be fully respected.... In short, human life is always a good, for it 'is a manifestation of Godin the world, a sign of his presence, a trace of his glory' (Evangeliuim Vitae, 34).
"These two dimensions of lilfe, the natural and the supernatural, allow us to understand better the sense in which the acts that permit a new human being to come into existnece, in which a man and a woman give themselves to each other are a reflection of trinitarian love.' 'God, who is love and life, has inscribed in man and woman the vocation to share in a special way in his mystery of personal communion and in his work as Creator and Father.'
"Christian marriage is rooted 'in the natural complementarity that exists beween man and soman, and is nurtured through the personal willingness of the spousess to share their entire life-project, what they have and what they are: for this reason such communion is the fruit and the sign of a profoundly human need....
"The intervention of the Magisterium falls within its mission of contributing to the formation of conscience, by authentically teaching the truth which is Christ [Who as Person is Revelation] and at the same time by declaring and confirming authoritatively the principles of the moral order which spring from human nature itself. [cf. the "maieutic function" of the Magisterium vis a vis "conscience:" the anamnesis or memory of "the ontological tendency" of the person, made in the image of the divine Persons as constitutive relations, toward the divine. As a consciousness of the experience of the divine within the self, conscience is the sense of: "That's it;" "That's what I've been looking for"], From CDF "Part One," 7-10 of "Dignitatis Personae" September 8, 2008
The Magisterium is "maieutic" in that it speaks to that ontological tendency and consciousness and reveals to it the object of its search.
As Ratzinger describes it, conscience is not an act of judgment that comes as the final deduction of the so-called practical intellect, but an anamnesis or remembered awareness of what the ontological self experiences of itself as the act of imaging God. If the person acts with generosity of giving self in conformity with the ontological tendency of who he is as image, then he experiences himself as good. If not, then, bad.
To comply with this theonomous morality, I have tried to present both dimensions: The theology of Christian imaging as relational, and the Greek Stoic ethic as deployed by the Fathers of the Church. I offer parts of Fr. Larry's presentation of bio-ethics as an example of the Stoic use of reason without benefit of the Christian relationality, and the Christian relational understanding of the person, matrimony, the conjugal act, right of the child to engendered by reciprocal spousal love, etc.
Present Day State of Affairs:

Benedict XVI to the Curia Romana - December 22, 2010

“But neither can we remain silent regarding the context of these times in which these events have come to light. There is a market in child pornography that seems in some way to be considered more and more normal by society. The psychological destruction of children, in which human persons are reduced to articles of merchandise, is a terrifying sign of the times. From Bishops of developing countries I hear again and again how sexual tourism threatens an entire generation and damages its freedom and its human dignity.

"The Book of Revelation includes among the great sins of Babylon - the symbol of the world's great irreligious cities - the fact that it trades with bodies and souls and treats them as commodities (cf. Rev 18:13). In this context, the problem of drugs also rears its head, and with increasing force extends its octopus tentacles around the entire world - an eloquent expression of the tyranny of mammon which perverts mankind. No pleasure is ever enough, and the excess of deceiving intoxication becomes a violence that tears whole regions apart - and all this in the name of a fatal misunderstanding of freedom which actually undermines man's freedom and ultimately destroys it.

"In order to resist these forces, we must turn our attention to their ideological foundations. In the 1970s, pedophilia was theorized as something fully in conformity with man and even with children. This, however, was part of a fundamental perversion of the concept of ethos. It was maintained - even within the realm of Catholic theology - that there is no such thing as evil in itself or good in itself. There is only a "better than" and a "worse than". Nothing is good or bad in itself. Everything depends on the circumstances and on the end in view. Anything can be good or also bad, depending upon purposes and circumstances. Morality is replaced by a calculus of consequences, and in the process it ceases to exist. The effects of such theories are evident today.

"Against them, Pope John Paul II, in his 1993 Encyclical Letter Veritatis Splendor, indicated with prophetic force in the great rational tradition of Christian ethos the essential and permanent foundations of moral action. Today, attention must be focused anew on this text[1] as a path in the formation of conscience. It is our responsibility to make these criteria audible and intelligible once more for people today as paths of true humanity, in the context of our paramount concern for mankind....”

An adequate presentation of a brief course in Bio-ethics must show the moral criterion from which conscience must be formed and then how each one of the existential areas must be evaluated in the light of that criterion. And so the course should play out as criterion and judgment of the existential case in the light of that criterion

The first question that must be asked is: What is the ultimate criterion for any ethical judgment? This question asks for the meaning of “good” and “evil,” and therefore the source and meaning of reality. It is ultimately the question of God, which Benedict XVI raises as the key question of “The New Evangelization.”[2] It is the question raised in the preface of the new dialogue “Light of the World:” “There is no way we can possibly continue as before, he exclaims. Mankind stands at a crossroads. It is time for reflection. Time for change. Time for conversion. And unwaveringly he maintains: ‘There are so many problems that all have to be solved but that will not all be solved unless God stands in the center and becomes visible again in the world.’

“The answer given to this question, ‘whether God exists – the God of Jesus Christ – and is acknowledged, or whether he disappears,’ is deciding today,’ in this dramatic situation, the fate of the world.”[3]

Neither the Enlightenment nor Neo-scholasticism has given satisfactory answers to the question of the good as absolute yet real value. It has been deemed contradictory to say that any empirical ontological reality can be the source of the absolute value of good. Benedict XVI announced on the day of his election that we are in the grip of the dictatorship of relativism. John Paul II has given the key to unraveling this philosophically. In chapter I of “Veritatis Splendor,” he offers Christ’s response to the query “Teacher what good must I do to have eternal life?” (Mt. 19, 16). The response of the Lord is “There is only one who is good” (Mt. 19, 17). Since man has been made in the image and likeness of God who alone is good, the true experience of man is to discover the good in himself as image of God in the historical act of obedience in the work of each day. We will see below how we discover God and the absolute value of good in the anthropological act of self-determination of ourselves. John Paul II wrote: “The concept of self-determination involves more than just the concept of efficacy: I am not only the efficient cause of my acts, but through them I am also in some sense the ‘creator of myself.’ Action accompanies becoming, moreover, action is organically linked to becoming. Self-determination, therefore, and not just the efficacy of the personal self, explains the reality of moral values: it explains the reality that by my actions I become ‘good’ or ‘bad,’ and that then I am also ‘good’ or ‘bad’[4] as a human being.”[5]

From Fr. Larry Kutz:

I. God, the Creator and End of man and of everything, is the absolute foundation of all true ethical thinking, and therefore of all true bioethical thinking.

1) God as Creator is the source and teacher of all ethical normativity and its obligation.

i) “A word remains to be said about the control and the sanctions of the medical conscience. The final and highest control is the Creator Himself, God. We would not do justice to the fundamental principles of your program and to the consequences derived therefrom were We to describe them merely as requirements of mankind, as humanitarian ends and aims. They are also, but they are essentially more. The ultimate source whence they derive force and dignity is the Creator of human nature. If it were simply a matter of principles elaborated by the will of men only, then their obligation would have no more binding force than men have; they could be applicable today and be passed over tomorrow; one country could accept them and another refuse them. The case is just the opposite if the authority of the Creator intervenes. Now the basic principles of Medical Ethics are part of the Divine Law. This, then, is the motive which authorizes the doctor to place unconditional confidence in these basic principles of Medical Ethics.” (Pius XII, Address to Military Surgeons, October 19, 1953)

ii) “He [God] cannot therefore allow man now to arrange his life and the functions
of his organs according to his own taste, In a manner contrary to the intrinsic and immanent functions assigned to them. Man, in truth, is not the owner of his body nor its absolute lord, but only its user. A whole series of principles and norms derives from this fact, governing the use of the body with its members and organs, and the right to dispose of them: principles and norms to which are equally subject the individual concerned and the doctor called in for consultation” (Pius XII, Address to the Italian Medical-biological Union of St. Luke, Nov. 12, 1944)

iii) Reference is made to “the order the Creator lays down to be followed and the laws that rule this order. … This order, founded by a supreme intellect, is directed to the end designed by the Creator. It embraces not only the external acts of man, but also the internal consent of his will – it covers acts as well as omissions when duty so demands.” (Pius XII, Address to Midwives, October 29, 1951).

what is the moral criterion in bio-ethics (as well as in all of ethics)? And how has it come to be understood historically. In the Church, what has been the criterion of moral judgment? And has it changed or developed in and since the Second Vatican Council?

Given that we are now in a global secularized ethos where intelligence has been dumbed down to a materialist positivism and moral evaluation has been reduced to a calculus of consequences and a proportionalism of ends and means, it is most important to understand the criterion of moral judgment and how to dialogue with a world already hard of hearing and firmly set in its ideology.

Vatican II: An Epistemological Paradigm Shift: From Nature to Person

The Greek Stoic Anthropology Used by the Church Until Vatican II When Integrated With Christian Relationality

“II. The human person, a spiritual-bodily unity, has an inviolable dignity based on his spiritual life-principle or soul. The spiritual reality of man is the most fundamental factor in his integral life. The essential unity and direction of man’s life is given by his spiritual soul. Man’s body is inviolable with the inviolability of the soul. All morality must take full account of the bodily dimension and unity of body and soul.

1) The inviolability of man is due ontologically to his spiritual soul.

i) “In Sacred Scripture the term ‘soul’ often refers to human life or the entire human person. But ‘soul’ also refers to the innermost aspect of man, that which is of the greatest value in him, that by which he is most especially in God’s image: ‘soul’ signifies the spiritual principle in man.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church [CCC], 363) ii) First of all, the spiritual nature of man’s life principle or soul and its distinctness from the life-principle of animals is a clear point of normal observation. Although we may talk about animals “learning,” “knowing,” “deciding,” etc., we realize that these concepts are applicable properly and fully only to human persons, only in part to animals. The much greater part not applicable to animals has to do with our knowing conceptually and therefore having the possibility of reaching knowledge of the essences of things; our reasoning logically from one concept to another and judging the correspondence of new concepts to reality; our discovering and articulating purpose, and our deciding freely rather than merely instinctually, all functions that are essentially spiritual (meaning immaterial activities going beyond the possibilities of matter; matter is limited to mere mechanically, chemically, biologically determined behavior). This spiritual reality of man leads us to see our fellow men and ourselves as ends and thus as inviolable while we see animal and plant life as means to be consumed and to be used reasonably for the sustenance and service of ourselves and others.

iii) “What constitutes man is principally the soul, the substantial form of his nature. From it, ultimately flows all the life activity of man; in it are rooted all the psychic forces, with their own proper structure and their organic law; it is the soul which nature charges with the governance of all man’s energies insofar as these have not yet acquired their final destination. … To deprive the soul of its central place would be to deny an ontological and psychic reality. … [For some] the autonomy of free will is replaced by the heteronomy of the force of instinct. That is not the way in which God fashioned man. Original sin did not take away from man the possibility, or the obligation, of directing his own actions himself through his soul. … The moral struggle to remain on the right path does not prove that it is impossible to follow that path, nor does it authorize any drawing back.” (Pius XII, Address to the Congress of Psychotherapy and Clinical Psychology, April 15, 1953)

iv) “We define personality as ‘the psychosomatic unity of the man as determined
and governed by the soul’.” Pope Pius XII then proceeds to explain the definition. The first point is “unity,” by which is meant that the distinct elements of man – psychic faculties and functions – must be seen as parts of an organic whole. By “psychosomatic” is meant that man must be seen as a union of body and soul, with each of them influencing the other in specific ways. By “determined and governed by the soul” is meant that “the individual, as a unity and indivisible totality, constitutes a unique and universal center of being and action, an “I” which possesses and disposes of itself. This “I” is the same for all psychic functions and remains the same throughout time.” The soul makes reference above all to freedom. “In technical terms, man is said to be rationalis naturae individua substantia (“an individual substance of a rational nature”). In this sense, he says, man is always a person, an “individual” distinct from the rest, an “I” from the first instant of his life, including when he does not have consciousness. (cf. Pius XII, Address to Participants of the XIIIth International Congress of Applied Psychology, April 10, 1958).

Divinized flesh, not immaterial act (ousia), is the criterion of Christian bio-ethics: enfleshed relation (Gaudium et spes #24) rather than immateriality is the sign of the divine.

Position Before Vatican II: Fr. Larry: “2) The body of the human person forms with the soul a single nature; the body shares the dignity of the spiritual soul, and the body in its objective functioning with the objective purposes of each of its organs and members is a necessary reference for the determination of morality, and provides clear moral norms which are absolutes: e.g. the use of the sexual faculty is legitimate only in marriage as an act that naturally unfolds as intercourse with its intrinsic God-given purposes prohibiting interference by the spouses or by anyone.

i) “The unity of soul and body is so profound that one has to consider the soul to be the ‘form’ of the body (Cf. Council of Vienne (1312):DS 902): I.e., it is because of its spiritual soul that the body made of matter becomes a living, human body; spirit and matter, in man, are not two natures united, but rather their union forms a single nature.” {CCC, 365)
ii) “’The human body shares in the dignity of the : it is a human body precisely because it is animated by a spiritual soul … ‘(CCC, 364). The body cannot be treated as a belonging. It cannot be dealt with as a thing or an object of which one is the owner and arbiter. … “ (Charter … [CHCW], 42).
iii) “One cannot prescind from the body and make the psyche the criterion and source of morality: subjective feelings and desires cannot replace or ignore objective corporal conditions. The tendency to give the former [i.e., subjective feelings and desires] pride of place over the latter [i.e., objective corporal conditions] is the basis for contemporary pyschologization of ethics and law, which makes individual wishes (and technical possibilities) the arbiter of the lawfulness of behavior and of interventions on life. … (CHCW, 41).
iv) “… the human corpse deserves to be regarded entirely differently [from an animal or thing]. The body was the abode of a spiritual and immortal soul, an essential constituent of a human person whose dignity it shared. Something of this dignity remains in the corpse. … Finally, the dead body is destined for resurrection and eternal life. This is not true of an animal … “ (Pius XII, Address to a Group of Eye Specialists, May 14, 1956).


The Church fathers had taken Greek Stoic philosophy as an instrument in service to explain the received revelation which is Jesus Christ Himself. Hence, the Council of Nicea used the notion of ousia to explain how the Christ as Son was equal to the Father [“I and the Father are one” Jn. 10, 30] in being (homoousios: one in Being) although eternally engendered by Him [“The Father is greater than I” John 14, 28]. The notion of ousia was taken from Aristotle’s “Parts of Animals” whereby he explained the reality of an organism as not reducible to the material parts of same. There had to be an intelligent organizing principle that was not one of the material parts but was immaterial and taking the place of an ordering intelligence. The perceptible evidence was that the whole was greater as a unity (organism) than the sum of its parts. Ousia was the meaning of Being in Aristotle as immaterial act. Its supreme case was the prote (first) ousia which was an intelligence thinking itself and attracting the motion of the spheres that imitated its immanent action of thought by circular transitive local motion around it.

The Beginning of Christian Anthropology: Jesus Christ is the meaning of man (see below to Gaudium et spes #22):

"In Aristotelian and Stoic philosophy, ousia as immaterial spiritual act was what came to be understood as “nature.” In Nicea, Christ was understood to be a divine “nature” with the Father. By 431 (Ephesus) and 451 (Chalcedon), “nature” was distinguished from “person” and Christ was declared to be one Person with two natures and the Virgin was declared Mother not only of the human nature of Christ, but Mother of the Person of Christ Who is God: Theotokos.

There is a development of rational understanding that the uncreated God has actually taken created flesh and that a created woman is the mother (cause) of the uncaused God. Christianity was taking rational stock of this. The flesh of the God-man had to be different than what was taken to be flesh as perceived by the external senses, and accounted for simply by unifying action of ousia. In this regard, consider the remarks of Benedict XVI on the Theotokos:

“In reality, Theotókos is a courageous title. A woman is the Mother of God. One could say: how is this possible? God is eternal, he is the Creator. We are creatures, we are in time: how could a human being be the Mother of God, of the Eternal One, since we are all in time, we are all creatures? Therefore one can understand that there was some strong opposition, in part, to this term. The Nestorians used to say: one can speak about Christotókos, yes, but Theotókos no: Theós, God, is beyond, above the events of history. But the Council decided this, and thus enlightened the adventure of God, the greatness of what he has done for us. God did not remain in Himself: he came out of himself, He united himself so closely, so radically to this man, Jesus, that this man Jesus is God, and if we speak about Him, we can also speak always about God. Not only was a man born who had something to do with God, but in Him was born God on earth. God came from himself. But we could also say the opposite: God drew us to Himself, so that we are no longer outside of God, but we are within the intimate, the intimacy of God Himself.

“Aristotelian philosophy, as we well know, tells us that between God and man there is only a non-reciprocal relationship. Man refers to God, but God, the Eternal, is in Himself, He does not change: He cannot have this relationship today and another relationship tomorrow. He is within Himself, He does not have ad extra relations. It is a very logical term, but it is also a word that makes us despair: so God himself has no relationship with me. With the Incarnation, with the event of the Theotókos, this radically changed, because God drew us into Himself and God in Himself is the relationship and allows us to participate in His interior relationship. Thus we are in His being Father, Son and Holy Spirit, we are within His being in relationship, we are in relationship with Him and He truly created a relationship with us. At that moment, God wished to be born from woman and to remain Himself always: this is the great event. And thus we can understand the depth of the act of Pope John, who entrusted the Council, the Synodal Assembly to the central mystery, to the Mother of God who is drawn by the Lord into Himself, and thus all of us with Her.

“The Council began with the icon of the Theotókos. Upon its closure, Pope Paul VI recognized Our Lady with the title of Mater Ecclesiae. And these two icons, which begin and end the Council, are intrinsically linked, and are, in the end, a single icon because Christ was not born like any other individual. He was born to create a body for Himself: He was born as John says in Chapter 12 of his Gospel to attract all to Him and in Him. He was born as it says in the Letters to the Colossians and to the Ephesians to deliver the whole world. He was born as the firstborn of many brothers. He was born to unite the cosmos in Him, so that He is the Head of a great Body. Where Christ is born, the movement of recapitulation begins, the moment of the calling begins, of construction of his Body, of the Holy Church. The Mother of Theós, the Mother of God, is the Mother of the Church, because she is the Mother of the One who came to unite all in His resurrected Body.”[6]

Born From Mary, Not Just In Mary:

In the office of readings for January 1 from St. Athanasius’ letter to Epictetum (5-9), Athanasius quotes St. Paul” “The Word took to himself the sons of Abraham, and so had to be like his brothers in all things. He had then to take a body like ours. This explains the fact of Mary’s presence: she is to provide him with a body of his own, to be offered for our sake. Scripture records her giving birth, and says: She wrapped him in swaddling clothes. Her breasts, which fed him, were called blessed. Sacrifice was offered because the child was her firstborn. Gabriel used careful and prudent language when he announced his birth. He did not speak of ‘what well be born in you to avoid the impression that a body would be introduced into her womb from outside; he spoke of ‘what will be born from you,’ so that we might know by faith that her child originated within her and from her.

“By taking our nature and offering it in sacrifice, the Word was to destroy it completely and then invest it with his own nature, and so prompt the Apostle to say: This corruptible body must put on incorruption; this mortal body must put on immortality.

“This was not done in outward show only, as some have imagined. This is not so. Our Savior truly became man, and from this has followed the salvation of man as a whole. Our salvation is in no way fictitious, nor does it apply only to the body. The salvation of the whole man, that is, of soul and body, has really been achieved in the Word himself.

“What was born of Mary was therefore human by nature, in accordance with the inspired Scriptures, and the body of the Lord was a true body: It was a true body because it was the same as ours. Mary, you see, is our sister, for we are all born from Adam…

“[As a result], man’s body has acquired something great through its communion and union with the Word. From being mortal it has been made immortal; though it was a living body it has become a spiritual [i.e. relational] one; though it was made from the earth it has passed through the gates of heaven.

“Even when the Word takes a body from Mary, the Trinity remains a Trinity, with neither increase nor decrease. It is for ever perfect. In the Trinity we acknowledge one Godhead, and thus one God, the Father of the Word, is proclaimed in the Church.”[7]

Vatican II: Epistemological Watershed.

From Joseph Ratzinger's "Theological Highlights of Vatican II" (Paulist Press [1962] 236-239)

“The history of the text begins in late fall, 1962. In a way typical of classical Roman scholasticism, the preparatory commissions had suggested a kind of codification of all present theological thinking on the issue. They wanted clear and cautious formulations. But caught in the web of system, ideas lost in force and vitality as they gained inner perfection and clarity. The prepared text did definitely broach topical contemporary questions…. But their solutions were too pat to be convincing. They were marked by an assurance which had no basis in revelation, and by an authoritarian decisiveness which is simply no longer suited to the complexity of reality. They were put in categories that came more from classical antiquity than from Christianity. Marriage was discussed in terms of the basic category of ‘end;’ its morality was deduced abstractly from the concept of nature. Here social utility was viewed as overriding the reality of the human person. The whole emphasis was on asserting and reiterating the rights of the Chruch. The Church’s ministerial function was virtually forgotten….

“Its chief architect was the German moral theologian, the Redemptorist Bernhard Haring. A draft mainly written by him was submitted for Council discussion in the fall of 1964. The draft’s basic idea was a result of the events which had shaped it. It said that authoritarian fiat had to be replaced by dialogue, insistence on rights by an awareness of the Church’s duty to serve. Instead of social utility, personal values needed emphasis; instead of the familiar theological notion of abstract nature, there had to be a revaluation of the concrete realities of man and his history. From these leading ideas, three chapters on general Christian anthropology were worked out, as well as a fourth chapter which dealt with concrete problems – marriage and family, war and peace, social questions, the relations of the Christian to culture and modern technological civilization.”

3. The Final Text of Gaudium et Spes:

“To understand the type of moral theology that has been dominant in Catholic teaching hitherto, we must consider the circumstances from which it developed. The New Testament does not contain a fully elaborated moral teaching, but only a number of concrete imperatives plus an overall reorientation showing the antithesis between law and grace. As far as specific moral statements are concerned, the New Testament remains sketchy. Moreover, the law-grace dichotomy, far from providing a point of departure or an elaborate ethical system, really shows the limitations of any moral theology. This is probably the reason why early Christianity, in working out its concrete moral norms, largely resorted to contemporary models of ethical though for guidance. It leaned chiefly on the Stoic ethic. The recourse to classical antiquity, and especially to Stoic philosophy, resulted in the emergence of two chief principles in Christian teaching on marriage.

1) There developed a view of marriage which was essentially ‘generative’ in outlook – generative in the double sense that marriage was entirely subordinated to the genus humanum, the human race as such, and was thus subordinated to human procreation in the social sense. From this viewpoint, procreation pertains to man as a being of his particular kind, and as such has nothing to do with any individual or personal consideration. T his generative approach largely relegates marriage to the biological level, seeing it chiefly as a means to the end of procreation. Thus the concept of the end supplies the basic norm for judging marital ethics. Thus a terminology which sees procreation of offspring as the primary end of marriage has until now characterized the classical positions of Catholic immoral theology and cannon law.

2) The basic approach of Stoic ethics, despite all its sublimity, can be termed naturalistic because the Stoics saw in nature the directive activity of the Logos; the natural order revealed an all-pervasive divine meaning. Accordingly, the Stoics considered the overriding moral norm to be nature; a thing was right if it was ‘according to nature (kata physin).

The moral teaching of the Church largely follows Stoicism in this, so that we may say that both the procreative function of marriage and the habit of judging ‘in accordance with nature’ constituted the dual dowry bestowed by the world of antiquity on Christian marital morality. Up to the present these principles have determined the categories of Catholic moral theology.

With this as a background, we can begin to see the great significance of the fact that the Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World eliminated both these categories. Neither the concept of the ‘prime end of procreation’ nor the concept of marital behavior ‘according to nature’ has any place in the Constitution. This elimination of ancient categories was the result of struggle and effort and clearly marked a radical turn toward new modes of moral teaching, and a turning away from forms that have up to now characterized moral theological tradition. The procreative view is here supplanted by a personalistic view, which of course must not overlook the essentially social meaning of marriage if it is not be become one-sided in the other direction. Even more import ant is the fact that moral teaching whose norms came ‘from below’ (from a concept of nature that was not all that unequivocal) was now supplanted by a teaching whose norms came ‘from above,’ from a spiritual view of marriage and family. And so, the text points to conscience, to the Word of God, to the Church interpret ing the Word of God, as proper guides for morality in marriage.

We may, of course, ask whether the change was not more than a verbal change. Would the recourse to the Church’s authority not have the practical effect of leaving everything as it was, despite all the new verbiage? Though this objection is not entirely unjustified since it points t the text’s avoidance of the concrete problem of birth control, yet it does not do justice to the text as a whole There is a decided difference between a total moral statement based on the concept of the race and the propagation of the race and on the concept of ‘accordance with nature,’ and a view which focuses on individual conscience, on the Word of God and on responsibility toward children, toward the husband or wife and toward the community of mankind. The context within which conscience operates, the entire atmosphere in which al decision and moral commitment is made, differs radically in these two cases. It is simply not the same, whether a person asks himself if his actions are ‘in accord with nature’ or whether he must ask whether his actions are responsible actions in view of other persons with whom he is related in the marriage community, and whether his actions are responsible in view of the Word of the personal God who has indicated the fundamental pattern of conjugal love by comparing it with love for the Church as exemplified in Christ. (Eph. 5, 25-33).”

Marriage and Human Sexuality:

Text on Marriage from Gaudium et Spes #51 (see 49-52): “The sexual characteristics of man and the human faculty of reproduction wonderfully exceed the dispositions of lower forms of life. Hence the acts themselves which are proper to conjugal love and which are exercised in accord with genuine human dignity must be honored with great reverence. Hence when there is question of harmonizing conjugal love with the responsible transmission of life, the moral aspects of any procedure does not depend solely on sincere intentions or on an evaluation of motives, but must be determined by objective standards. These, based on the nature of the human person and his acts, preserve the full sense of mutual self-giving and human procreation in the context of true love. Such a goal cannot be achieved unless the virtue of conjugal chastity is sincerely practiced. Relying on these principles, sons of the Church may not undertake methods of birth control which are found blameworthy by the teaching authority of the Church in its unfolding of the divine law.(14)

"All should be persuaded that human life and the task of transmitting it are not realities bound up with this world alone. Hence they cannot be measured or perceived only in terms of it, but always have a bearing on the eternal destiny of men.”

Msgr. Cormac Burke (of the Roman Rota): The bonum Coniugum (good of the spouses): mutual self-gift and openness to procreation. That is to say, the consent made in matrimony is not to the hierarchy of ends (procreation as primary and mutual love as secondary) as if matrimony were reducible to a "nature" objective state

Canon 1055 of the Code of 1983 reads: “The marriage covenant, by which a man and a woman establish between themselves a partnership of their whole life, and which of its own very nature is ordered to the bonum coniugum atque ad prolis generationem et educationem, has, between the baptized, been raised by Christ the Lord to the divinity of a sacrament.”

Bonum Coniugum: The object of Matrimonial consent: the self-gift (finis operantis) of the Subjects of Matrimony (persons).

Msgr. Cormac Burke: “Until the preparatory work for the post-Vatican II Code began, the expression ‘bonum coniugum’ is seldom to be found in canonical writing or in magisterial documents. IN 19077 it was accepted by the Pontifical Commission for the new Code into the draft of what was to become can 1055. The Consultors of the Commission, however, gave no indication of its exact meaning, beyond the fact that it was regarded as expressing the ‘personal end’ of marriage (cf. Communicationes, 1977, p. 123), to be taken (as was later clarified) in the objective sense of a ‘finis operis,’ and not in a subjective sense of a simply ‘finis operantis’ (ib. 1983, 221). Its legal standing was in any case confirmed by its incorporation into the description of matrimony given by can. 1055. The term nevertheless is mentioned rather rarely in rotal jurisprudence of the following years…

“It is important to establish how this term fits into the traditional scheme that distinguishes between essence, properties and ends of marriage.”

Burke then shows how “bonum coniugum” “does not express a value or property or attribute of marriage, in any sense parallel to that of the Augustinian ‘goods.’ The ‘bonum’ of this new term is referred not to marriage (as if it were a value that makes marriage good), but to the spouses (as involving something that is god for them); it denotes not a property of marriage (a ‘bonum matrimonii’), but something – the ‘good’ or welfare of the spouses which marriage should cause or lead to… but of finality. Matrimony, which is an institution characterized by exclusivity, permanence and procreativity, tends to the good of the spouses just as it tends to the actual procreation of offspring. It is striking in fact that doubt should arise about this, since it is quite clearly expressed by canon 1055: ‘the matrimonial covenant… is by its nature ordered toward the good of the spouses and toward the procreation and education of offspring.’”[10]

When all is said and done, the meaning of “good” is the act of self gift of each of the spouses. Each spouse becomes “good” (“No one is good but only God” Mk. 10, 18) only by achieving the relationality of self-gift in the marital covenant, and matrimony as an institution is directed to achievement of this goodness (sanctity).

In another place, Burke writes: “Vatican II sought to offer a renewed vision of marriage, of marital love and commitment. How is it that this renewed vision seems so infrequently to have been translated into practice? A main reason, I feel, is that much post-conciliar reflection on marriage has not always grasped the Christian anthropology [I – Gift] which is a key to conciliar thinking about human realities, especially as applied to the marital covenant. The result is that the under standing and presentation of marriage has been largely, though no doubt unconsciously, colored by the secular anthropology dominant in today’s world, with its individualistic view of the human person, seeing the key to fulfillment in self: self-identification, self-assertion, self-concern.”

“The current crisis about indissolubility – the tendency to look on it as an ‘anti-value’ – finds much of its explanation in this individualism, which is present outside and inside the Church. Individualism fosters a fundamentally self-centered approach to marriage, seeking to get from it rather than being prepared to give in it: will this – this union, this liaison, this arrangement – make me happy? Then marriage becomes a at best a tentative agreement between two individuals, each inspired by self-interest rather than a shared endeavor of a couple who together want to build a home for themselves and for their children. With that approach no marriage is likely to last.

“Contrasted with this individualistic view, we have the distinctive anthropology of Vatican II which includes the Christian personalism… Developed in great power by Pope John Paul II, it is fundamental to a deeper human understanding of Christian life and of marriage in particular.

“The essence of true personalism is expressed in Gaudium et Spes (24): ‘Man can fully discover his true self only in a sincere giving of himself.’ We can only realize or fulfill our self, by giving our self. Here is a Gospel program of life in direct contrast with the prescription for living so commonly offered by contemporary psychology: seek self, find self, identify self, care for self, hold on to yourself, don’t let go of yourself….”[11]

Canon 1057[12] does “seek to find a valid juridic way of expressing this Christian personalism as it applies to marriage. The canon describes matrimonial consent as the act by which the spouses ‘mutually give and accept each other in order to establish a marriage. The very object of conjugal consent is thus presented in terms of mutual self-donation – in most striking contrast with the ius in corpus phrase with which the 1917 Code expressed the same object. The man gives self as man and husband, the woman as woman and wife; and each receives the other as spouse…. As Paul VI puts it in one of the less-remembered passages of Humanae Vitae (9): ‘Whoever really loves his marriage partner loves not only for what he receives, but for the partner’s self, rejoicing that he can enrich his partner with the gift of himself.’"[13]

Metaphysical Anthropology: Christological (Constitutively Relational[14])

The Theology of the Divine Persons: “The First Person does not beget the Son in the sense of the act of begetting coming on top of the finished Person; it is the act of begetting, of giving oneself, of streaming forth. It is identical with the act of giving. Only as this act is it person, and therefore it is not the giver but the act of giving, ‘wave’ not ‘corpuscle’… In this idea of relativity in word and love, independent of the concept of substance and not to be classified among the ‘accidents,’ Christian thought discovered the kernel of the concept of person which describes something other and infinitely more than the mere idea of the ‘individual.’ Let us listen once again to St. Augustine: ‘In God there are no accidents, only substance and relation.’ Therein lies concealed a revolution in man’s view of the world: the undivided sway of thinking in terms of substance is ended; relation is discovered as an equally valid primordial mode of reality. It becomes possible to surmount what we call today ‘objectifying thought;’ a new plane of being comes into view. It is probably true to say that the task imposed on philosophy as a result of these facts is far from being completed – so much does modern thought depend on the possibilities thus disclosed, but for which it would be inconceivable.”[15]

This call for an epistemological paradigm shift has carried through to the present day in Benedict XVI. It is the leitmotif of all of his thought. Consider his remarks at Regensburg, two addresses to University professors of Europe, Address to La Sapienza, and in his encyclicals: “Deus Caritas Est,” “Spe Salvi” and more recently in “Caritas in Veritate” where he calls for “a new trajectory of thinking” involving a “deeper critical evaluation of the category of relation.”[16] The radical meaning of person as relation seeks a metaphysical account whereby the meaning of reality is the Word of God as Person,[17] and ultimate, to be = to be in relation.

Gaudium et spes #22: Jesus Christ is not the exception[18] for man, but the prototype: “In reality it is only in the mystery of the Word made flesh that the mystery of man truly becomes clear. For Adam, the first man, was a type of him who was to come, Christ the Lord, Christ the new Adam, in the very revelation of the mystery of the Father and of his love, fully reveals man to himself and brings to light his most high calling…
“He who is the ‘image of the invisible God’ (Col. 1, 15), is himself the perfect man who has restored in the children of Adam that likeness to God which had been disfigured ever since the first sin. Human nature, by the very fact that it was assumed, not absorbed, in im, has been raised in us also to a dignity beyond compare. For, by his incarnation, he, the son of God, has in a certain way united himself with each man. He worked with human hands, he thought with a human mind, He acted with a human will, and with a human heart he loved. Born of the Virgin Mary, he has truly been made one of us, like to us in all things except sin.”

Ratzinger Comment: “(S)ince it is made clear that man’s being is not that of a pure essence, and that he only attains his reality by his activity, it is at once evident that we cannot rest content with a purely essentialist outlook [i.e. man as hylomorphic substance]. Man’s being must therefore be examined precisely in its activities. If this is done, the concept of the ‘novus homo’ takes concrete shape in that of the ‘agnus innocens.’ It then becomes apparent that Jesus’ concrete reality is ‘pro me’ (and ‘pro nobis’) and for this very reason is a self-sacrificing existence in the mystery of the cross. This alone shows the wholly personal relationship to Christ, of Christ is not a great super –ego into which the I-monads are organized, but a most individual human being who looks at me personally. His relation to me is not that of a great corporate personality. He enters into a personal conversation of love; he has something to say to me alone, which no one else knows (cf. Rev. 2, 17). Pascal’s intense piety which made him place in the Lord’s mouth the words: ‘In my agony I thought of you; I shed these drops of blood for you,’ is biblically entirely justified in view of the Pauline ‘pro me.’ Thus Christ no longer appears as a merely general form to which human existence are conformed. His exemplarity means the concrete summons to follow him, and this gives meaning to man’s cross; it calls him to share in the ‘pro me’ of Jesus Christ in a Christian ‘pro invicem’ based on the ‘cum Christo.’ To endure in the cross, as the expression of abiding in the ‘pro me’ of Jesus Christ, is thus a concrete result of the way human nature is ontologically affect ed by the incarnation.”[19]

Statement of Christian Anthropology:

Gaudium et Spes #24: “The Lord Jesus, when praying to the Father ‘that they may all be one… even as we are one’ [Jn. 17, 21-22], has opened up new horizons closed to human reason by implying that there is a certain parallel between the union existing among the divine persons and the union of the sons of God in truth and love. It follows, then, that if man is the only creature on earth that God has wanted for its own sake, man can fully discover his true self only in a sincere giving of himself.”[20]

Reference Development: “Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church:” Chapter Three, The Human Person and Human Rights, 1. Social Doctrine and the Personalist Principle #105-151, pp. 61-84.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Two Bisecting Anthropologies: a) The Greek (Stoic) immaterial spirit; and b) the Christian personalism: enfleshed relationality.

A) In order to give a rational account of a living organism, one must posit that there is an immaterial principle that is the cause of the organism as organism, i.e. as one. The order, or oneness, of the body that is made up of heterogeneous parts can only be explained by something that is not one of the parts and which carries the organizing power (intelligence) within itself. Etienne Gilson writes: “the orientation of all growth toward its end is the highest property of what he [Aristotle] calls ‘form’ of the living being. This celebrated ‘substantial form,’ the nonexistence of which Descartes took upon himself to announce to the world, justifies itself in Aristotle’s eyes by the sole fact that unless on e assigns it as a cause the growth of living beings becomes inexplicable from the point of view of being oriented to a limit [the organism as organism].”[21]

The dignity and inviolability of the human soul (form), according to St. Thomas is its subsistence after death because of the capacity of intelligence - that resides in the person through the soul – to operate immaterially without the body. That is, if the person is capable of operations that start in matter but do not require matter for its very operation (knowing), then since being and doing are coterminous, if a being is capable of operations independent of matter, then its being must be capable of being independent of matter. Hence, the great dignity of the soul in its survival of the soul after death (although always maintaining its relation to the body for its individuality).

The genius of this position which was formulated by St. Thomas consisted in resolving the differences between Plato and Aristotle. On the one hand, the soul, as seen above, must be given as the form of the matter that makes it into a body (Aristotle) thus explaining its unity as an organism. Yet, the soul as form must be able to be the principle of survival after death (Plato) if there is to be survival of the person.

Ratzinger comments: “If the soul is form, then it belongs to the world of bodies, marked by coming to be and passing away again. And this in turn means that the spirit, which does not belong to the world, cannot be individual or persona. Indeed, only as being neither is it immortal. Thomas’ twofold affirmation that the spirit is at once something personal and also the ‘form’ of matter would simply have been unthinkable for Aristotle. Anton Pegis, whose researches contributed greatly to a correct understanding of the relation between Thomas and Aristotle, has this to say on just this topic:

“From this point of view, the Thomistic doctrine of an intellectual substance as the substantial form of matter must be seen as a moment in history when an Aristotelian formula was deliberately used to express in philosophical terms a view of man that the world and tradition of Aristotelianism considered a metaphysical impossibility.”[22]

“And so we come at last to a really tremendous idea: the human spirit is so utterly one with the body that the term ‘form’ can be used of the body and retain its proper meaning. Conversely, the form of the body is spirit, and this is what makes the human being a person.

“The soul is not two things: substance, and the form of the body. Rather, is it substance as the form of the body, just as it is the form of the body as substance…. The separation of the soul from its body goes against its nature and diminishes its likeness to God, its Creator. Being in the body is not an activity, but the self-realization of the soul. The body is the visibility of the soul, because the soul is the actuality of the body.[23]

“What seemed philosophically impossible has thus been achieved. The apparently contradictory demands of the doctrine of creation and the Christologically transformed belief in Sheol have been met. The soul belongs to the body as ‘form,’ but that which is the form of the body is still spirit. It makes man a person and opens him to immortality. Compared with all the conceptions of the soul available in antiquity, this notion of the soul is quite novel. It is a product of Christian faith, and of the exigencies of faith for human thought. Only the downright ignorance of history could find this contestable. Since this point is so central, permit me to make it again in a different way. The idea of the soul as found in Catholic liturgy and theology up to the Second Vatican Council has as little to do with antiquity as has the idea of the resurrection. It is a strictly Christian idea, and could only formulated on the basis of Christian faith whose vision of God, the world and human nature it expresses in the realm of anthropology. For this reason the Council of Vienne in its third session (May 6, 1312) was right to defend this definition of the soul as appropriate to the faith.”[24]

The Meaning of “Soul” as Relationality[25]

Man is not “person” because he has a rational soul. He is “person” in that he images the divine Persons as relation or self-gift.[26] According to Benedict XVI, within Christian revelation, “the concrete meaning” of soul is “being willed, known and loved by God in a special way; it means being a creature called by God to an eternal dialogue and therefore capable for its own part of knowing God and of replying to him. What we call in substantialist language ‘having a soul’ will be described in a more historical, actual language as ‘being God’s partner in a dialogue.’ This does not mean that talk of the soul is false (as is sometimes asserted today by a one-sided and uncritical biblical approach); in one respect it is indeed even necessary in order to describe the whole of that is involved here. But on the other hand it also needs to be complemented if we are not to fall back into a dualistic conception which cannot justice to the dialogic and personalist view of the Bible.”[27]

Catechism of the Catholic Church #363:

“In Sacred Scripture the term ‘soul’ often refers to human life or the entire human person. But ‘soul’ also refers to the innermost aspect of man, that which is of the greatest value in him, that by which he is most especially in God’s image: ‘soul’ signifies the spiritual principle in man.” But soul is the spiritual principle whereby the entire person becomes relational and therefore imaging God even in the body.

The Supreme Criterion of Morality in Bio-ethics: The Dignity of the Human Person:

Above, we saw that Ratzinger explained that “early Christianity, in working out its concrete moral norms, largely resorted to contemporary models of ethical thought for guidance. It leaned chiefly on the Stoic ethic. The recourse to classical antiquity, and especially to Stoic philosophy, resulted in the emergence of two chief principles in Christian teaching on marriage.”[28] These were 1) procreation for the purpose of the human race which “as such has nothing to do with any individual or personal consideration;”[29] 2) moral goodness or evil depends on behavior “according to nature.”[30]

The above Greek epistemology is “objective” insofar as the reality we are talking about is the object of an abstraction that is a concept of the mind. That is to say, marriage is a natural institution that has an end that is the procreation of children for fostering the race. Stoicism is objectivism, as is all Greek philosophy.

We also saw above the subjective (but no less real – in fact more so) “ontological tendency” of the human person as a subjective (but real) “I” imaging the divine Persons accompanied by a sense or consciousness “that this is good,” or “that is bad.”

John Paul II explained that this is precisely what characterized Vatican II as a so called “pastoral council.” He wrote: “If we study the Conciliar magisterium as a whole, we find that the Pastors of the Church were not so much concerned to answer questions like ‘What should men believe?’ ‘What is the real meaning of this or that truth of faith?’ and so on, but rather to answer the more complex question: ‘What does it mean to be a believer, a Catholic and a member of the Church?’”[31] “Truth” in this context is the object of a concept. “Believer” is the subject receiving Revelation that is the Person of Christ. The difference is immense and characterizes the relation between Vatican II and all the previous councils of the Church. So much is this so that John Paul II wrote: “on the one hand we can rediscover and, as it were, re-read the magisterium of the last council in the whole previous magisterium of the Church, while on the other we can rediscover and re-read the whole preceding magisterium in that of the Last Council.”[32]

The Emergence of the Mechanism of Christian Anthropology: Scriptural Exegesis

The key to discovering the moral criterion in bio-ethics that is the human person as both empirical organism (and therefore an intelligent soul informing matter into a human body) and constitutively relational as imaging the Trinitarian Persons is to consider the first man in his first act of becoming person in act.

I refer to John Paul II’s presentation[33] of Adam, being commanded by God to subdue the earth and name the animals. Having done so, he suddenly falls into what John Paul II called “the original solitude.” He explained that man, being taken from the slime of the earth himself, he to subdue himself before he could subdue the earth or the animals by naming them. In the act of subduing (or better “mastering”) himself, he activated himself as a subject by a first act of freedom. John Paul II explains that we are looking here into the pre-lapsarian anthropology of the first experience of himself that issues into a first consciousness (pre-conceptual) of being alone. He is alone because he has entered into a consciousness of himself as a subject and everything around him of the visible world is “object.” There is no other enfleshed “subject” (the animals are objects) in the whole of visible creation except himself. And being made in the image of the Three, God says: “It is not good for man to be alone” (Gen 2, 18). “Man is alone because he is ‘different’ from the visible world, from the world of living beings.”[34]

This act of subduing self (self-mastery) is the exact account of human freedom. Mastering self in order to get possession of self, in order to able to make the gift of self is the freedom of autonomy (theonomy: since one must be loved to be able to master self in the first place) that is the freedom won for us by Christ.[35]

Once the “original solitude” is explained as the passage from a possible state of being person to being person in act – and it not being good that man be alone being made in the image of the Three - the metaphysics of relation begins to emerge whereby one finds self only by the gift of self. In effect, we find immediately after this in TOB that man images God not by ontological endowment of intellect and will, but by the act of being in relation as self-gift. John Paul II writes: “We can then deduce that man became the ‘image and likeness’ of God not only through his own humanity, but also through the communion of persons which man and woman form right from the beginning. The function of the image is to reflect the one who is the model, to reproduce its own prototype. Man becomes the image of God not so much in the moment of solitude as in the moment of communion. Right ‘from the beginning,’ he is not only an image in which the solitude of a person who rules the world is reflected, but also, and essentially, an image of an inscrutable divine communion of persons.”[36]

The “Inviolability” of the Human Person as Self-Determining Freedom[37]

Freedom of Autonomy: “Man, the only earthly being God has willed for itself, finds self by the sincere gift of self” (GS #24)

Meaning of Self-Determination (Phenomenological Description): “When I say that the will is the power of self-determination, I do not have in mind the will all alone, in some sort of methodical isolation intended to disclose the will’s own dynamism. Rather, I necessarily have in mind here the whole person. Self-determination takes place through acts of will, through this central power of the human soul. And yet self-determination is not identical with these acts in any of their forms, since it is a property of the person as such…[38] . Self-determination – or, in other words, freedom – is not limited to the accidental dimension, but belongs to the substantial dimension of the person: it is the person’s freedom, and not just the will’s freedom, although it is undeniably the person’s freedom through the will.”[39]

Importantly, Wojtyla explains the mechanics of this anthropology that is the key to the sanctification of the self in the act of work, the priestly soul as priest of one’s own existence, and they key to becoming “another Christ.” He writes: “Self-determination reveals that what takes place in an act of will is not just an active directing of the subject toward a value. Something more takes place as well: when I am directed by an act of will toward a particular value, I myself not only determine this directing, but through it I simultaneously determine myself as well. The concept of self-determination involves more than just the concept of efficacy: I am not only the efficient cause of my acts, but through them I am also in some sense the ‘creator of myself.’ Action accompanies becoming, moreover, action is organically linked to becoming. Self-determination, therefore, and not just the efficacy of the personal self, explains the reality of moral values: it explains the reality that by my actions I become ‘good’ or ‘bad,’ and that then I am also ‘good’ or ‘bad’ as a human being[40]… Self-determination in some sense points to self-possession and self-governance as the structure proper to a person. If I determine myself, I must possess myself and govern myself. These realities mutually explain one another because they also mutually imply one another. Each of them reveals the unique composition that is proper to a human being as a person. (The Thomistic adage also emphasizes that we are dealing here with a person: persona est sui iuris et alteri incommunicabilis.) This is not a metaphysical composition of body and soul (the composition of prime matter and substantial form) proper to the human being as a being, but a more ‘phenomenological’ composition. In phenomenological experience, I appear as someone who possesses myself and who is simultaneously possessed by myself. I also appear as someone who governs myself and who is simultaneously governed by myself. Both the one and the other are revealed by self-determination; they are implied by self-determination and also enrich its content. Through self-possession and self-governance, the personal structure of self-determination comes to light in its whole proper fullness.

“In determining myself – and this takes place thorough an act of will – I become aware and also testify to others that I possess myself and govern myself. In this way, my acts give me a unique insight into myself as a person. By virtue of self-determination, I experience in the relatively most immediate way that I am a person. Of course, the path from this experience to an understanding that would qualify as a complete theory of the person must lead through metaphysical analysis. Still, experience is the indispensable beginning of this path and the lived experience of self-determination seems to be the nucleus of this beginning.”[41]

This notion of self-determination gives an account of the sacrosanct identity of the human person, because it is only by self-determination that there can be self-gift. And self-gift is the only reasonable account of Person in the Trinity, the whole of Christology,[42] the anthropology articulated in Gaudium et Spes #24 and its consequences for the universal call to sanctity through ordinary work, human sexuality, the social doctrine of the Church as “finding self” (principle of subsidiarity) “by gift of self” (principle of solidarity). Self-determination/self-gift is the anthropological explanation of Christian faith[43] and the conjugal act in view of the relation between Christ and the Church (Eph. 5, 25)

Christian Anthropology: Moral Criterion in Bio-ethics

Integration of the Two Anthropologies

Integration of these two anthropologies, Greek hylomorphism (reason) and Christian relationality (faith), gives us a subject, an “I,” that is hylomorphic (organizing immaterial act that is “form” of matter rendering it “body”) and that is a resonating relationality as self-gift. That is, the self becomes itself (“finds itself”[44]) by subduing itself, gaining possession of self and therefore able to make the sincere gift of self. One can only give what one possesses. It cannot be pure stable relation because it a creature and sinful, and only God can be Three pure Relations. Consequently, one becomes gift by repeated conversions of self-mastery to begin again and again in giftedness, and therefore in imaging, and hence in sanctity.

This hylomorphic “I” is an “unum” of spirit and matter that has been created in the image and likeness of constitutively relational Persons. Such a notion of pure relationality crosses the threshold of our ability to conceptualize in an objective way of knowing. We cannot grasp it in a single concept. But this is not strange since we cannot conceptualize particle physics except as an indeterminacy of particle and wave. So much is this so that the only conceptual formulation that we can use to express the meaning of man is the (for us) paradox of “finding self” (i.e. becoming who one really is) “by the sincere gift of self.”

Consider again Benedict’s conceptual formulation of the meaning of Father and Son: The Father is the act of engendering the Son. He is not the Father, and then engenders the Son. That is, He is not a “Substance” or “Being” as we understand being through the senses and abstraction like “tree,” “neon sign” or “7 Up.” The Father as “person” is not a substantial being “there” that relates to another, but He is nothing but relation as the act of engendering the Son.

We can take this as long as it is “distant” enough to be the case for God. But when it is necessarily the meaning of the Person of Christ also, and He has assimilated our human nature from the Virgin and lives an ordinary life before our very eyes, not as a Being-in-itself (as is the Aristotelian “Substance”), but as a pure Relation to the Father. Notice that “father” and “son” are not terms that refer to themselves but are relational terms with relational meanings.

Worse still is the fact that “the Creator withdraws as it were into himself, in order to seek the pattern and inspiration in the mystery of his Being, which is already here disclosed as the divine ‘We.’ From this mystery the human being comes forth by an act of creation: ‘God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them’ (Gen 1, 27)”[45] This bursts open the Stoic’s clear intellectual tidiness of objectification of reality by concepts. Now, the reality is that one cannot be who one

Immediate Application of Constitutive Relationality to in vitro fertilization and contraception. In the case of in vitro fertilization “the child has the right to be conceived, carried in the womb, brought into the world and brought up within marriage: it is through the secure and recognized relationship to his own parents that the child can discover his own identity and achieve his own proper human development: the human person can only be engendered by the “self-giving of the spouses, of their love and of their fidelity.

“The parents find in their child a confirmation and completion of their reciprocal self-giving: the child is the living image of their love, the permanent sign of their conjugal union, the living and indissoluble concrete expression of their paternity and maternity” [46](underline mine). Notice that the right to be engendered by the reciprocal self-gift of the spouses derives from the ontological necessity of the person to be in relation. In in vitro fertilization there is no constitutive personal engendering

Donum Vitae: Given the reality of a rational soul as form of the human body that is constitutively relational in order to self-gift, “the human body cannot be considered as a mere complex of tissues, organs and function, nor can it be evaluated in the same way as the body of animals; rather it is a constitutive part of the person who manifests and expresses himself through it.”

“A first consequence can be deduced from these principles: an intervention on the human body affects not only the tissues, the organs and their functions but also involves the person himself on different levels…. Pope John Paul II forcefully reaffirmed this to the World Medical Association when he said: "Each human person, in his absolutely unique singularity, is constituted not only by his spirit, but by his body as well. Thus, in the body and through the body, one touches the person himself in his concrete reality. To respect the dignity of man consequently amounts to safeguarding this identity of the man 'corpore et anima unus', as the Second Vatican Council says (Gaudium et Spes, 14, par.1). It is on the basis of this anthropological vision that one is to find the fundamental criteria for decision-making in the case of procedures which are not strictly therapeutic, as, for example, those aimed at the improvement of the human biological condition…"(11)

“No biologist or doctor can reasonably claim, by virtue of his scientific competence, to be able to decide on people's origin and destiny. This norm must be applied in a particular way in the field of sexuality and procreation, in which man and woman actualize the fundamental values of love and life. God, who is love and life, has inscribed in man and woman the vocation to share in a special way in his mystery of personal communion and in his work as Creator and Father.(12) For this reason marriage possesses specific goods and values in its union and in procreation which cannot be likened to those existing in lower forms of life. Such values and meanings are of the personal order and determine from the moral point of view the meaning and limits of artificial interventions on procreation and on the origin of human life. These interventions are not to be rejected on the grounds that they are artificial. As such, they bear witness to the possibilities of the art of medicine. But they must be given a moral evaluation in reference to the dignity of the human person, who is called to realize his vocation from God to the gift of love and the gift of life.”[47]

[1] “ ‘Marvel and rejoice: we have become Christ!’” Veritatis Splendor #21, St. Augustine, In Iohannis Evangelium Tractatus, 21, 8.
[2] “The true problem of our times is the ‘Crisis of God,’ the absence of God, disguised by an empty religiosity. Theology must go back to being truly theo-logy, speaking about and with God. Metz is right: the ‘unum necessarium’ to man is God. Everything changes, whether God exists or not. Unfortunately – we Christians also often live as if God did not exist (‘si Deus non daretur’). We live according to the slogan: God does not exist, and if he exists, he does not belong. Therefore, evangelization must, first of all, speak about God, proclaim the only true God: the Creator – Sanctifier – the Judge. Here too we must keep the practical aspect in mind. God cannot be made known with words alone. One does not really know a person if one knows about this person secondhandedly. To proclaim God is to introduce to the relation with God: to teach how to pray. Prayer is faith in action. And only by experiencing life with God does the evidence of his existence appear;” “The New Evangelization,” A Conference Given to Catechists in the Year 2,000.
[3] Benedict XVI “Light of the World – A Conversation with Peter Seewald,” Ignatius (2010) xix.
[4] By the way, this is extraordinary. The Enlightenment as well Neoscholasticism never developed the epistemology of experience of self as ontological reality and consciousness of the good concomitant to it. This is the answer to the Enlightenment conundrum: how can “ought” be derived from “is?” It is done by the experience of the self as gift with the peace and joy that accrues to it.
[5] Ibid. 192-193.
[6] Special Assembly for the Middle East of the Synod of Bishops: Address of Benedict XVI October 11, 2010.

[7] Office or Readings for January 1, Second Reading “From a letter by Saint Athanasius, bishop” (484-485).
[8] Joseph Ratzinger “Theological Highlights of Vatican II,” Paulist Press (1966)213, 215.
[9] Joseph Ratzinger, “Theological Highlights of Vatican II, Paulist Press (1966) 236-239.
[10] C. Burke, “The Object of Matrimonial Consent – A Personalist” Forum 1998.
[11] Cormac Burke, “Marriage, Annulment, and the Quest for Lasting Commitment” The Catholic World Report January 1996 58.
[12] C. 1057 1: “A marriage is brought into being by the lawfully manifested consent of person who are legally capable. This consent cannot be supplied by any human power;
2) Matrimonial consent is an act of will by which a man and a woman by an irrevocable covenant mutually give and accept one another for the purpose of establishing a marriage.”
[13] Cormac Burke, “Marriage, Annulment, and the Quest for Lasting Commitment,” The Catholic World Report January 1996, 58.
[14] “One is reminded of a fundamental theological axiom that is applicable here in a peculiar manner, namely Christ’s saying, ‘Only the one who loses himself can find himself’ (cf. Mt. 10, 36). This fundamental law of human existence, which Mt. 10, 36 understands in the context of salvation, objectively characterizes the nature of the spirit which comes to itself and actualizes its own fullness only by going away from itself, by going to what is other than itself” (infra. 451).
[15] J. Ratzinger, “Introduction to Christianity,” Ignatius (1990) 131-13 2.
[16] Benedict XVI “Caritas in Veritate,” #53.
[17] Consider his keynote address on the Word of God to the Synod of Bishops on October 6, 2008.
[18] J. Ratzinger, “Concerning the Notion of Person in Theology,” Communio 17 (Fall, 1990) 449: “The second great misunderstanding is to see Christ as the simply unique ontological exception which must be treated as such. This exception is an object of highly interesting ontological speculation, but it must remain separate in its box as an exception to the rule and must not be permitted to mix with the rest of human thought….”
[19] H. Vorgrimler, Commentary on the Documents of Vatican II Vol V: “The Church and Man’s Calling.” Introductory Article and Chapter 1: “The Dignity of the Human Person” Joseph Ratzinger, Herder and Herder (1969) 159-161.
[20] “These words of the Pastoral Constitution of the Council can be said to sum up the whole of Christian anthropology…” John Paul II, Dominum et Vivificantem, # 59 [DSP 119].
[21] E. Gilson, “From Aristotle to Darwin and Back Again,” UNDP (1984) 15.
[22] A. Pegis, ‘Some Reflections on Summa contra Gentiles II. 56,’ in An Etienne Gilson Tribute (Milwaukee 1959), p. 177.
[23] T. Schneider, Dei Einheit des Menschen…. Ftn. 96 on 281 in Ratzinger’s “Eschatology.”
[24] J. Ratzinger, “Eschatology,” CUA (1988) 148-150.
[25] Benedict comments that philosophic notion of substance is of little or no value in giving a rational account of Trinity, Christology or anthropology: “I believe that if one follows this struggle in which human reality had to be brought in, as it were, and affirmed for Jesus, one sees what tremendous effort and intellectual transformation lay behind the working out of this concept of person, which was quite foreign in its inner disposition to the Greek and the Latin mind. It is not conceived in substantialist, but… in existential terms… Remaining on the level of the Greek mind, Boethius defined ‘person’ as naturae rationalis individual substantia, as the individual substance of a rational nature. One sees that the concept of person stands entirely on the level of substance. This cannot clarify anything about the Trinity or about Christology; it is an affirmation that remains on the level of the Greek mind which thinks in substantialist terms.”[25](J. Ratzinger, “Concerning the Notion of Person in Theology,” Communio 17 [Fall, 1990] 448).

[26] “(T)he biblical message… promises immortality not to a separated soul but to the whole man. Such feelings have in this century [20th] made evangelical theology in particular turn emphatically against the Greek doctrine of the immortality of t he soul, which is wrongly regarded asa Christian idea too. In reality, so it is said, this idea expresses a thoroughly un-Christina dualism; the Christian faith knows only the waking of the dead by God’s power…. The Greek conception is based on the idea that man is composed of two intrinsically alien substances, one of which (the body) perishes, while the other (the soul) is in itself imperishable and therefore goes on existing in its own right independent of any other beings. Indeed, it was only in the separation from its essentially alien body, so it was thought, that the soul came fully into its own. The biblical train of thought, on the other hand presupposes the undivided unity of man; for example, Scripture contains no word denoting only the body (separated and distinguished from the soul), while conversely n the vast majority of cases the word soul too means the whole corporeally existing man… The awakening of the dead (not of bodies!) of which Scripture speaks is thus concerned with the salvation of the one, undivided man, not just with the fate of one (so far as possible secondary) half of man. It now also becomes clear that the real heart of the faith in resurrection does not consist at all in the idea of t he restoration of the body, to which we have reduced it in our thinking; such is the case even though this is the pictorial image used throughout the Bible. What, then, is the real content of the hope symbolically proclaimed in the Bible in the shape of the resurrection of the dead?
1. The idea of immortality denoted in the Bible by the word ‘resurrection’ is an immortality of the ‘person,’ of the one creation ‘man.’ In Greek thought the typical man is a perishable creature which as such does not live on but goes two different ways in accordance with its heterogeneous formation out of body and soul; but according to the biblical belief it is precisely this being, man, that as such goes on existing, even if transformed.
2. It is a question of a ‘dialogic’ immortality (=awakening!); that is, immortality results not simply from the self-evident inability-to-die of the indivisible but from the saving deed of the lover who has the necessary power; man can no longer totally perish because he is known and loved by God. All love wants eternity, and God’s love not only wants it but effects it and is it. … Immortality as conceived by the Bible proceeds not from the personal force of what is in itself indestructible but from being drawn into the dialogue with the Creator; that is why it must be called awakening” J. Ratzinger, “Introduction to Christianity” Ignatius (1990) 269-271.
[27] J. Ratzinger, “Introduction to Christianity,” Ignatius (1990) 275.
[28] J. Ratzinger “Theological Highlights of Vatican II” op. cit 236-237.
[29]Ibid. 236-237.
[30] Ibid. 237.
[31] K. Wojtyla, “Sources of Renewal,” Harper and Row (1979) 17.
[32] Ibid 40.
[33] John Paul II, “The Theology of the Body (TOB),” DSP (1997) 35 – 48.
[34] John Paul II, “The Theology of the Body” DSP (1997) 37.
[35] John Paul II Veritatis Splendor #85: “The Crucified Christ reveals the authentic meaning of freedom; he lives it fully in the total gift of himself and calls his disciples to share in his freedom.”
[36] John Paul II, TOB op. cit 46.
[37] Veritatis Splendor #38: “‘God left man in the power of his own counsel’” (Sir. 15, 14)….’God willed to leave man in the power of his own counsel, so that he would seek his Creator of his own accord and would freely arrive at full and blessed perfection by cleaving to God’ [Gaudium et spes #17]. These words indicate the wonderful depth of the sharing in God’s dominion to which man has been called: they indicate that man’s dominion extends in a certain sense over man himself. This has been a constantly recurring theme in theological reflection on human freedom, which is described as a form of kingship” (underline mine).
[38] He explains that St. Thomas cannot have this discussion since he is working with another objectified anthropology of substance. It was not a lack in Thomas. It simply was not the historical moment for the entry into the experience and consciousness of subjectivity as ontological reality. However, that moment is fully upon us, and it is just now that is being understood metaphysically as real ontological self. See Benedict XVI’s Address on the ultimate realism of the Word of God as the “I” of Christ: October 6, 2008.
[39] Karol Wojtyla, “The Personal Structure of Self-Determination,” Person and Community Lang (1993) 190-191.
[40] By the way, this is extraordinary. The Enlightenment as well Neoscholasticism never developed the epistemology of experience of self as ontological reality and consciousness of the good concomitant to it. This is the answer to the Enlightenment conundrum: how can “ought” be derived from “is?” It is done by the experience of the self as gift with the peace and joy that accrues to it.
[41] Ibid. 192-193.
[42] See Benedict’s development of Christology in “Introduction to Christianity” op. cit 141-251.
[43] Christian faith in the conciliar decree “Dei Verbum” clarifies the Person of Christ to be Revelation and faith to be the transformation of self into Christ and Christ into self as with the Virgin. If the believer does not become “another Christ,” there is no Revelation: “Where there is no one to perceive ‘revelation ,’ no re-vel-ation has occurred, because no veil has been removed. By definition, revelation requires a someone who apprehends it;” J. Ratzinger “Milestones….” Ignatius (1997) 108.
[44] Gaudium et spes #24.
[45] John Paul II, “Letter to Families,” #6.
[46] Donum Vitae II, A, 1. CDF (Ratzinger, Bovone) February 22, 1987, DSP 40.
[47] CDF “Donum Vitae” #3 February 22, 1987.