Theological anthropology and gender since Vatican II: A critical appraisal of recent trends in Catholic theology

John Stanley Grabowski, Marquette University


This dissertation surveys recent Catholic theological reflection on the relation of sexuality to the human person. It begins in its first chapter with a consideration of feminist theology and the anthropological models identified by feminist scholars--viz., single nature, transformative, and dual nature anthropologies. The second chapter considers the views of representative theologians who advocate single nature or transformative models of theological anthropology. The third chapter examines the views of a variety of other theologians who in some ways approximate a dual nature model. Ultimately all of these models are found to be deficient in certain respects: the single nature and transformative views because of their tendency to identify equality with sameness; the dual nature model because of the insoluble theological problems raised by attempting to locate sexual differences on the order of nature. This study argues that the attempt to express the insight into the dignity of all human beings in a way which is faithful to Christian revelation is served neither by an unnecessary polarization of the sexes into metaphysically distinct "natures" nor by an outright denial of sexual differences in the name of an abstract conception of "justice." The thesis of this work, developed in its fourth and fifth chapters, is that sexual differences are accidental when considered from the perspective of nature, but essential on the level of human personhood. That is, there is a single human nature which is always embodied in two irreducible modes in existing human persons--either male or female. This model preserves the valid insights found in the others by affirming that genuine equality can coexist with utterly unique personal differentiation. The ultimate analogy and exemplar for this conception of equality in difference is found in the relationship of the Trinitarian Persons, each of whom possesses the fullness of the one divine nature in a way that is totally unique and Personal.

Recommended Citation

Grabowski, John Stanley, "Theological anthropology and gender since Vatican II: A critical appraisal of recent trends in Catholic theology" (1991). Dissertations (1962 - 2010) Access via Proquest Digital Dissertations. AAI9226218.