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Card. Karol Wojtyla Defends Nudism

Some commentators consider that the book Love and Responsibility by Cardinal Karol Wojtyla provides the key to understand the Theology of the Body of Pope John Paul II.

The text presented below seems to be a good example of the new morality he espoused.

Pope John Paul II is quite clear in his arguments, and the following conclusion can be drawn quite naturally: his point of view blatantly clashes with Catholic Morals.

Top right is a facsimile of the book cover; at right, a photocopy of the Spanish text. Below, we present our own translation.
"There is nothing impure in clothing except that which, .... while covering the essential values of the person [the sexual organs], provokes an inevitable reaction toward the person as a possible sexual object of pleasure ....

"The concrete application of this simple and evident principle relies on the individuals, means, and society. Dressing is always a social problem and, therefore, depends on the customs (good or bad). ....

"But this by no means signifies that impurity of body is identified simply with partial or total nudity. There are circumstances in which nudity is not impure. If someone uses it to treat the person as an object of pleasure - even if it is by bad thoughts - he alone is the one who commits an impure act. Impurity of body only occurs when nuditity plays a negative role with respect to the value of the person. One can say that what happens then is a de-personalization ....

"Even knowing that nudity is not identical to impurity of the body, a real interior effort must be made to avoid assuming an impure attitude before a nude body. We should also add that impurity of action is not identical to the spontaneous reaction of sensuality that considers the body and sex as possible objects of joy. The human body per se is not impure, nor is the reaction of sensuality, nor sensuality itself. Impurity begins when the will appropriates the reaction of sensuality and reduces the other person - because of his or her body and sex - to an object of pleasure.

"Since we are speaking of dress in relation to purity and impurity, it is worthwhile to consider the functional role of the dress .... To qualify a way of dressing from the moral point of view, one must take into consideration the function of the determined clothing. We should not qualify partial nudity of the body as impure if there is an objective reason for its use"

(Amor y Responsabilidad, Madrid: Editorial Razon y Fe, 1978, pp. 211-213).
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Posted on June 9, 2005

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