Pope Benedict alludes to Karol Wojtyla's (John Paul II) early days as a priest and bishop and the idea to "teach to love" which guided him through the difficult times after the publication of Paul VI's encyclical Humanae vitae, which, not coincidentally, Pope Benedict calls "prophetic and always timely (profetica e sempre attuale)."
This idea to "teach to love" undergirded John Paul II's "Catechisis on Human Love," found in the Wednesday audiences that spaned several years. Found in these catecheses are two fundamental elements (one of which I will discuss) to which, Pope Benedict notes, the John Paul II institute has reflected and developed over the past twenty-five years:
The first element is that marriage and the family are rooted in the innermost core of the truth about man and his destiny. Sacred Scripture reveals that the vocation to love is part of that authentic image of God that the Creator willed to imprint in his creature, calling man to become similar to him precisely in the measure in which man is open to love. The sexual difference entailed in the body of man and woman is not, therefore, a simple biological fact, but bears a much more profound meaning: It expresses that way of love with which man and woman become only one flesh; they can realize an authentic communion of persons open to the transmission of life and cooperate in this way with God in the procreation of new human beings.One could spend a lifetime writing and developing those ideas contained in the first two sentences of that paragraph. Pope Benedict first calls attention to marriage and family being founded upon the truth about the human person and his calling towards God. The Church's teaching on marriage and family are not founded upon a false notion of patriarchy or out-dated idea concerning how to live but rather about the very nature and truth concerning who we are and how best to find happiness in this life and the next. Pope Benedict indictates the core of this understanding is from Sacred Scripture in light of man's call to love as being an "authentic image of God." And through love, we can become more and more closely united to God himself. Secondly and seemingly almost out of place, Pope Benedict refers to the sexual difference of man and woman not as simply biological but as expressive of the way of love between man and woman as "one flesh." The allusion to sexual difference is important because one of the insights drawn from the Theology of the Body is the complementarity that exists between man and woman because they are meant for each other. Contained in this "one flesh" of man and woman is the sacred reflection of Christ's relationship to his Church. This sacred reflection of Christ and the Church should help us gain insights into the importance of the total giving of self needed within the "one flesh" unity of man and woman in marriage. Because in this total giving of self in the conjugal act, man and woman are an "authentic communion of persons" which is open to new life and to the cooperation of God in procreation.
More could be said about this one paragraph but I will end my reflections for now. I may return again to this speech because it contains many such gems.