Karol Wojtyla (Saint Pope John Paul II) has created a very powerful and resourceful defence of Catholic tradition in the spheres of family life and sexual morality, drawing on his own pastoral experience as a priest and bishop before becoming Pope John Paul II. He writes with the idea that science—biology, psychology, and sociology—can give useful knowledge on some elements of sex interactions, but that a complete understanding can only be achieved by studying the human person as a whole.
The difference between personalistic and utilitarian perspectives of marriage and sexual interactions is central to his thesis. The former regards marriage as an interpersonal connection in which each partner's well-being and self-realization are of paramount significance to the other. Only within this framework can the full potential of marriage be fulfilled. The opposing, utilitarian viewpoint, which argues that a sexual partner is only an item to be used, denies the possibility of satisfaction and happiness.Wojtyla argues that divorce, artificial methods of birth control, adultery (pre-marital sex), and sexual perversions are all in various ways incompatible with the personalistic view of the sexual self-realization of the human person.
Perhaps the most remarkable aspect of the book is Wojtyla's rational appeal to common, human experience throughout. He bases his opinions on the correct fulfilment of sexual desires, birth control, and other issues on the findings of physiologists and psychologists. His conclusions are consistent with the Church's historic doctrines, which rely on scriptural authority. His method ensures that non-Christians may evaluate his arguments on their own merits.
"A courageous apologetic. In no other book does the Pope emerge more clearly as an independent thinker. This book is a high-minded rejoinder to the sexual revolution."
-- Kenneth Briggs, New York Times Book Review