Karol Wojtyla's Philosophical Works, in 1,600 Pages

Volume Presented at Vatican

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VATICAN CITY, OCT. 13, 2003 (Zenit.org).- Karol Wojtyla’s philosophical work, presented in one large volume, places the person at the center.

«It is probably the first time we present the writings of Karol Wojtyla in the Vatican, and not those of John Paul II,» Vatican spokesman Joaquín Navarro-Valls said when opening a press conference to present the book «Metafisica della Persona» (Metaphysics of the Person), published in Italian by Bompiani.

In the 1,600-page volume, all of Wojtyla’s philosophical essays, written between 1948, when he obtained his licentiate in theology, and 1978, the year of his election as Pope, have been collected for the first time.

The most important writings were published during the years in which he taught at the Catholic University of Lublin, in Poland: «The Doctrine of the Faith in St. John of the Cross» (1948); «Evaluations on the Possibility of Building Up the Christ Ethic on the Foundations of the System of Max Scheler (1954); «Love and Responsibility» (1960); «Person and Act» (1969); and «Man and Responsibility» (1978). Ten essays from 1974 to 1978 are also included.

The work was edited by one of Italy’s most prestigious contemporary philosophers, Giovanni Reale, and by Tadeusz Styczen, Karol Wojtyla’s successor in the chair of ethics at Lublin.

Italian philosopher Rocco Buttiglione said during the presentation that «Karol Wojtyla’s thought cannot be understood without the shadow of Vatican Council II.» Buttiglione, who is Italian Minister of European Affairs, added: «It is necessary to understand his philosophy as a way of reconciling the Church with modernity.»

Buttiglione was the first author of a book in Italian on the thought of Karol Wojtyla. He recalled that for philosopher Wojtyla «the person is being, and the being is person,» and he stressed the novelty implied in speaking of the «metaphysics of the person,» as modernity contrasts these concepts, whereas Wojtyla stresses their unity.

According to co-editor Giovanni Reale, the nucleus of Wojtyla’s philosophy is the human person. «Basing himself on the Christian message, man has discovered that he has an absolute value as person,» Reale said.

Reale emphasized that «Wojtyla’s books come across as the emblematic expression of the metaphysics of the person» and stressed that «rarely have works been written with such a strong and convincing defense of man.»

Polish professor Tadeusz Styczen, one of those most familiar with Wojtyla’s thought, noted that «John Paul II is aware that he is sustained by the One who chose him to lead and take him to others.»

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