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Love and Responsibility


Love and Responsibility

Love & Responsibility
Cover to the English first edition
Author Karol Wojtyła
Original title Miłość i Odpowiedzialność
Translator H. T. Willetts
Cover artist Roxanne Mei Lum
Country Poland
Language Polish
Subject Love and Human Sexuality
Publisher William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd., London and Farrar, Straus and Giroux, Inc., New York
Publication date
Published in English
Media type Print (Hardback & Paperback) & Audio book
Pages 319
241/.66 20
LC Class BT708 .J6313 1993

Love and Responsibility is a book written by Karol Wojtyła before he became Pope John Paul II and was originally published in Polish in 1960 and in English in 1981.[1][2][3] A new, completely updated and original translation was published in 2013.[4]

The work consists of five chapters; One: The Person and the Sexual Urge; Two: The Person and Love; Three: The Person and Chastity; Four: Justice to the Creator; and Five: Sexology and Ethics.[3] It is described as 'a defence of the traditional Church teachings on marriage from a new philosophical standpoint'.[5] In his introduction to the first edition, Fr. Wojtyla describes his reasons for writing the book as being 'born principally of the need to put the norms of Catholic sexual morality on a firm basis, a basis as definitive as possible, relying on the most elementary and incontrovertible moral truths and the most fundamental values or goods.'[6] Fr. Wojtyła was originally inspired to write the book while being a professor at the Catholic University of Lublin,[7] through the experiences he had in teaching young Catholics.

While at the university, Fr. Wojtyła gathered a group of about 20 young people, who began to call themselves ‘Rodzinka’, the "little family". They met for prayers, philosophical discussions, and helping the blind and sick. The group eventually grew to approximately 200 participants, and their activities expanded to include annual skiing and kayaking trips.[8] The insight he gained from these meetings and discussions helped him develop the raw material for the text.

Fr. Wojtyła writes that marital sexual intercourse is the best image of God who is love, for he sees the human body as the only one capable of making the invisible — the spiritual and the divine — visible.[1][9][10] He says that human beings were created by God for a purpose: to be persons who freely choose to love, to give themselves as persons who express their self-giving through their bodies. Thus, sexual intercourse between husband and wife is a symbol of their total mutual self-donation, and further fosters, strengthens and enriches it not just for the present but also for the future.[1][10] For Fr. Wojtyła, "The body, and it alone, is capable of making visible what is invisible: the spiritual and divine."[1][11][12][13]


  1. ^ a b c d Love and ResponsibilityWojtyła, Karol. : 1981
  2. ^ "How not to be used: Love and Responsibility - Catholic Online". Retrieved 2009-10-11. 
  3. ^ a b "A Summary of Karol Wojtyła's Love and Responsibility by William E. May". Retrieved 2009-10-14. 
  4. ^ Translated by Grzegorz Ignatik, published by Pauline Books & Media, Boston, MA.
  5. ^ Kuhiwczak, Piotr (Dr.) (1 January 2007). "A literary Pope". Polish Radio. 2007,2009 Nowe Media, Polskie Radio S.A. Archived from the original on February 8, 2008. Retrieved 2009-01-01. 
  6. ^ Wojtyla, Karol (1981). Love and Responsibility. San Francisco: Ignatius Press. p. 16.  
  7. ^ Weigel, George (2001). Witness of Hope - The Biography of Pope John Paul II. HarperCollins. 
  8. ^ "Pope John Paul II: A Light for the World". United States Council of Catholic Bishops. 2003. Retrieved 2011-10-23. 
  9. ^ Karol Woytyla, Love and Responsibility, San Francisco, Ignatius Press 1993
  10. ^ a b "Holy Spirit Interactive: Edward P. Sri - Love and Responsibility: The Battle for Purity". Retrieved 2009-10-15. 
  11. ^ Theology of Marriage and Celibacy, Boston, St. Paul Books and Media 1986
  12. ^ Christopher West. "What is the Theology of the Body & Why is it Changing so Many Lives?". Catholic Education Resource Centre. Retrieved 2009-09-29. 
  13. ^ "Love and Responsibility: The Person and Love". Retrieved 2009-10-15. 
  14. ^ "Pope John Paul II Quotes"BrainyQuote: .  


  • Wojtyła, Karol. Love and Responsibility.  
  • Wojtyła, Karol. Love and Responsibility on Google Books. Retrieved 15 October 2009.
  • Wojtyła, Karol. Miłość i odpowiedzialność Love and Responsibility e-book in Polish. Retrieved 15 October 2009.
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