New Book Probes Pope's Ethical and Political Philosophy

With a Prologue by Mikhail Gorbachev

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MADRID, Spain, FEB. 12, 2003 ( Mikhail Gorbachev, in a prologue to a book written by a scholar in political science, praises John Paul II for his attention to the relation between morality and politics.

The book, «John Paul II’s Ethical and Political Thought,» by José Ramón Garitagoitia Eguía, presents the Pope’s ethical view on important social issues. The work is published by the Center of Political and Constitutional Studies of Spain.

The author discusses the ethical implications of the economic, social and political thought of the Holy Father through his speeches and writings.

In the prologue, former Soviet President Gorbachev confesses his «great respect and admiration for the Pope, who compared to other political and religious personalities, gives continuous and profound attention to the question of the relation between morality and politics.»

Garitagoitia Eguía told ZENIT that he received another letter from Gorbachev in which the Russian affirms that «Pope John Paul II is one of the most distinguished representatives of the intellectual and political elite of contemporary society.»

According to the book, «in everything that Karol Wojtyla has said and written we find sufficient data to affirm that there are two questions clearly present in his thought, and both are linked to the great contributions of the Second Vatican Council. One of these questions is his continual concern for man. The other great question is that of the unity that must be achieved between faith and daily experience.»

The author underlines that «John Paul II’s magisterium takes a clear position in favor of man, understood not generically, in terms of human nature, but concretely. The Pope pronounces himself in favor of every man, who must be respected, protected from himself and from the environment that surrounds him, and confronted with his true image.»

In regards to culture, Garitagoitia Eguía says that, according to the Pope, «every man has, in fact, his own subjectivity and dignity; he lives in a concrete culture, he has his experiences and aspirations, tensions and sufferings, as well as his legitimate hopes. It is in this relation where all political activity finds its raison d’être, which — in the last instance — proceeds from man, is exercised by man, and is for man.»

In regards to politics, the author points out that the Pope is very clear in stating that «if political activity is separated from this fundamental relation and end, it becomes, in a certain sense, an end in itself, and loses a great part of its raison d’être. What is more, it can even be the origin of a specific alienation; it can become foreign to man, fall into contradiction with humanity itself.»

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