By Hans Kung, Leonard Swidler
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Wojtyla’s is a hierarchic or stratified conception of the human person. With his Stoic and neo-scholastic forebears, he speaks of “lower” and “higher” spheres as he situates the psychic or emotional sphere midway between the physical and spiritual. Authentic spiritual power consists in the intellect and will subordinating the physical and emotive sphere, if need be in an “absolute” manner (p. 315, n. 72). Such selfcontrol, he writes, is “probably the most fundamental manifestation of the worth of the person” (p.
Is it a paradox or a contradiction that someone who argues philosophically like a modern phenomenologist or personalist comes up with conclusions as ancient as any Stoic’s? Karol Wojtyla is not inconsistent. The theology he propounds today as bishop of Rome he propounded as bishop of Krakow and earlier still as a priest. ’ Clearly he does not believe that God called him to the papacy to change his mind. Many if not all of the apparent contradictions in the pope’s pronouncements can be found in and explained by his early writings.
His close scrutiny of the appointment of bishops has assured him of a loyal cadre of faithful supporters who will implement his views and carry out his policies on the local level. Assuming responsibility for the final statement of all bishops’ synods enables him to make sure that there will be no discrepancy at the official level between his views and those of his brother bishops. His innovative resolution for the crisis in the Dutch church served notice that he is capable of handling opposition even at the regional level of the church.
Church in Anguish: Has the Vatican Betrayed the Council? by Hans Kung, Leonard Swidler