In Love and Responsibility , John Paul II pointed to the impossible possibility of betrothed love. On the one hand, “no person can be transferred or ceded to another. In the natural order, it is oriented towards self-perfection, towards the attainment of an ever greater fullness of existence - which is, of course, always the existence of some concrete ‘I.’”

On the other hand, love is inherently self-gift, and thus it involves “making one’s inalienable and non-transferable ‘I’ someone else’s property.”

The “double paradox” of betrothed love is first that “it is possible to step outside one’s own ‘I’ in this way” and, more profoundly, that “the ‘I’ far from being destroyed or impaired as a result is enlarged and enriched.”

The “world of persons” has its own laws.

More on: Philosophy, Theology

Articles by Peter J. Leithart

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