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WASHINGTON, D.C.
LOVE AND RESPONSIBILITY
DISCUSSION GROUP

Our problem is not that we desire too much, but that we desire too little.... Sex—and by this I mean every aspect of our sexuality, our masculinity and femininity—is far grander than our seemingly sex-obsessed society could begin to conceive.

—Dave Sloan

Below: more about the group, and the schedule of meetings.

You Can Join the Adventure

All are welcome to join us on this important quest for truth and authentic happiness.

TIME & PLACE:
Catholic Information Center (CIC) at 1501 K St., NW in downtown DC
(directions | Yahoo!Map | Mapblast | MapQuest),
6:15-7:45pm.

We meet every 1st and 3rd Wednesday to discuss Love and Responsibility. During months with a 5th Wednesday, we will plan discussions of related topics on hte 5th Wednesday.
(See schedule below for actual dates.)

We welcome newcomers. To participate fully in the discussion, you may want to look at this Brief but Helpful Summary of the book (PDF) and the cumulative outline from our last pass over the book [MSWord]. If you do not already have a copy of the book, they are on sale at the CIC before it closes at 6. (If you arrive late, knock loudly as the doorbell is broken.)

Even if you have not prepared by reading, you are welcome to come and listen.

Please contact the CIC (202-783-2062) or point-person Michael Patrick for more details: michael_patrick {at} gensler {dot} com.

E-mail List

Join our Yahoo-group mailing list to receive reminders and last minute updates, as well as to find out about "extracurricular" events. (You can leave whenever you want.) Details here: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/dclr/.


Photos


More photos here...


Meeting Schedule

No.DateSectionsPagesDocuments
September 20 Love and Responsibility
Introductory Discussion
---none--
I. October 4 The Person as the Subject and Object of Action
The First Meaning of the Verb 'to Use'
21-28 Draft outline [MSWord]
Also consult errata
II. October 18 'Love' as the Opposite of 'Using'
The Second Meaning of the Verb 'to Use'
28-34 Draft outline [MSWord]
Rowe notes [MSWord]
III. November 1 Critique of Utilitarianism
The Commandment to Love, and the Personalistic Norm
34-45 Discussion outline [MSWord]
Draft outline [MSWord]
Rowe notes [MSWord]
IV. November 15 Instinct or Urge?
The Sexual Urge as an Attribute of the Individual
45-51 Draft outline [MSWord]
V. December 6 The Sexual Urge and Existence
The Religious Interpretation
51-57 Draft outline [MSWord]
Rowe notes [MSWord]
VI. December 20 The Rigorist Interpretation
The 'Libidinistic' Interpretation
57-66 Draft outline [MSWord]
VII. January 7 Final Observations
The Word 'Love'
66-74 Draft outline [MSWord]
Rowe Notes [MSWord]
Discussion Notes [MSWord]
VIII. January 17 Love as Attraction
Love as Desire
74-82 Draft outline [MSWord]
IX. February 7 Love as Goodwill
The Problem of Reciprocity
82-88 Draft outline [MSWord]
Rowe Notes [MSWord]
X. February 21 From Sympathy to Friendship
Betrothed Love
88-101 Draft outline [MSWord]
Rowe Notes [MSWord]
XI. March 7 Sense Impression and Emotion
Analysis of Sensuality
101-109 Rowe Notes [MSWord]
XII. March 21 Sentiment and Love
The Problem of Integrating Love
109-119 Rowe Notes [MSWord]
XIII. April 4 Experience and Virtue
Affirmation of the Value of the Person
119-125 Rowe Notes [MSWord]
XIV. April 18 Membership of One Another
Choice and Responsibility
125-135 Rowe Notes [MSWord]
XV. May 2 The Commitment of Freedom
The Education of Love
135-140 Rowe Notes [MSWord]
XVI. May 16 Chastity and Resentment
Carnal Concupiscence
143-153 Rowe Notes [MSWord]
XVII. June 6 Subjectivism and Egoism
The Structure of Sin
153-166
XVIII. June 20 The True Meaning of Charity
The Phenomenon of Sexual Shame and its Interpretation
166-181
XIX. July 4 Law of the Absorption of Shame by Love
The Problem of Shamelessness
181-193
XX. July 18 Self Control and Objectivization
Tenderness and Sensuality
194-208
XXI. August 1 Monagamy and the Indissolubility of Marriage
The Value of the Institution
211-224
XXII. August 15 Procreation and Parenthood
Periodic Continence: Method and Interpretation
224-244
XXIII. September 5 The Concept of Justice Toward the Creator
Mystical and Physical Virginity
245-255
XXIV. September 19 The Problem of Vocation
Paternity and Maternity
255-261
XXV. October 3 Introductory Remarks
The Sexual Urge
265-270
XXVI. October 17 Marriage and Marital Intercourse
The Problem of Birth Control
270-285

What We Do

We meet twice a month for a reflective discussion of a wonderful and thought-provoking book Love and Responsibility by Karol Wojtyla, about what is arguably the most beautiful teaching on the gift of human sexuality. The book encourages a true reverence for this tremendous gift and challenges us to live our sexuality in a way worthy of our great dignity as persons. The book's life-transforming message of hope is a powerful antidote to our culture's dominant view that reduces the body to an object for pleasure or a machine for manipulation.

Wojtyla presents an integrated vision of the human person—body, soul, and spirit. The book probes fundamental questions about the meaning and fulfillment of human lives:

Participants are encouraged—but not obliged—to contribute to the conversation. Familiarity with the reading selection certainly helps in following the discussion, but the repetition of the dominant themes throughout the book makes it possible to derive benefit by listening intelligently and asking questions over the course of several meetings.

Discussions are typically illuminating and attended by a lively group, about evenly divided between men and women. Since we've re-begun the book, attendance hovers just over twenty. Each discussion covers two sections of the book (about ten pages) and lasts an hour and a half. Afterward, most of us go together to dinner at a nearby restaurant.

Purity Prayer

Michael Patrick has started a brief purity prayer before the LR meetings. This optional meeting begins at 6:00 in the CIC chapel on days when it takes place--an announcement will be attached to the regular meeting reminder.

The prayer for purity is an opportunity for us to pray together as a Christian family, for purity of heart, mind, soul and body. We meditate privately and together on excerpts from Pope John Paul II's Theology of the Body, on what it means to be made male and female in the image of God, and how we can live that in our daily lives.

Why We Do What We Do

Following Wojtyla's own thought, the philosophy of the group is Personalism: recognition of the person as a being of supreme value, essentially an acknowledgement of Realism—not of abstract "universal essences"—but rather, of concrete beings in communion. Since human subjectivity is relational, freedom is necessarily toward the other, and that which is really true, good and beautiful is that which is realized only in their unity, that is, in Love. For that reason, the Ultimate Reality is Love Itself.

The very process of reading the text in common, that is, in communion with others, constitutes a means of forming the participants according to the group's ideals. This is implicit most especially in the group's preferred teaching and learning style of shared leadership—for teaching itself is a form of learning. The actual leadership of each meeting rotates among the participants, who volunteer to direct the biweekly discussions. The leader's role is not to dominate, but rather to liberate the discussion (participants expound on the principles contained in the text, and apply them to hypothetical or real situations in human life), opening all to the process of learning, of moral and spiritual formation. In a sense, one might say that the text is the teacher, and the leader is merely a (temporary) tutor.

Dinner after the meeting helps to build the communion of persons that is an integral part of Personalism.

The Book

Drawing from his pastoral experience counseling married couples, Wojtyla wrote Love and Responsibility long before he became Pope John Paul II. Central to his argument is the contrast between the personalistic and the utilitarian views of marriage and sexual relations. The former views marriage as an interpersonal relationship in which the well-being and self-realization of the each partner are of overriding importance to the other. The alternative, utilitarian view, according to which a sexual partner is an object for use, holds no possibility of fulfillment and happiness. The author argues that divorce, artificial methods of birth control, and extra-marital sexual relations are the sad results of the utilitarian abandonment of the personalistic view. The author's conclusions coincide with the traditional teachings of the Church, but non-Christians can also consider his arguments on their own merits.

Admittedly this book is not a light read. Aside from the topic being involved at times, the translation is a bit awkward in a few places (not to mention actual errata). Happily, study groups like ours meet in cities around the U.S. and the world. These groups provide a great opportunity not only to share the effort of understanding the text, but also practical experience in living in a communion of persons.

Ignatius Press is the publisher. Buy the book here.


Links

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