Volume 14, Issue 1, Spring 2009
Rafał Kazimierz Wilk
Personalistic and Utilitarian View of Marriage according to Early Wojtyła
The main goal of this paper is to present the philosophical (i.e. attained by the light of natural reason) explanation of the marital relationship according to the Polish philosopher Karol Wojtyła. In our research, our attention was focused mainly on his book Love and Responsibility; the early philosophical work of a young, 37 year old Professor of Philosophy at the Catholic University in Lublin, Poland. In his writings, Karol Wojtyła – the future Pope John Paul II – presents marriage as a monogamous, indissoluble relationship between a man and a woman, which grows out of mutual love for the purpose of procreation. Such a relationship is ruled by the „personalistic norm” which says that a person can never, under any circumstances, be a mere object of enjoyment for another person, but can only be the object (co-object) of love. Love is a self-giving for the good of one’s counterpart, so Marriage as a personalistic unity persists as long as these persons are alive. Because love is fecund from its very essence, so it is fruitful from its nature. Thus, procreation belongs to the principle ends of marriage. Such an attitude – as K. Wojtyła proves – is opposed to the utilitarian point of view of man and Marriage. According to the utilitarian conception, a person can be used as a means for achieving the highest good, i.e., pleasure.