Volume 9, Issue 2, Spring 2019
Fr. Michael Darcy
Personalism as Interpersonalism
John Paul II and René Girard
This essay will examine an illuminating convergence in the thoughts of Pope John Paul II and the cultural anthropologist René Girard. It will be seen that this convergence is a consequence of the shared concern of both to understand the human person in terms of its relation to other persons. So while not a personalist philosopher in the strict sense, René Girard’s concern for the interpersonal brings him close to the personalism of John Paul II, who likewise understands human subjectivity in terms of the relations by which it is constituted. Both practice what might be called an “interpersonalist” personalism, which this essay will argue ought to characterize the practice of personalism in a Christian context. The essay will make this observation the basis for further reflections on the nature of personalism and its relation to the Christian intellectual tradition.