Mere Marriage: Sexual Difference and Christian Doctrine
Pope Saint John Paul took the advice of his friend Henri Cardinal de Lubac, S. J.: "When something so fundamental is called into question you have to get down to its roots...the whole matter has to be studied from a new viewpoint. Fundamentally, what you feel is a need to see straight."
Mere Marriage explains how John Paul's seized the high ground in opposing attacks on marriage and human dignity. His Theology of the Body catechesis develops a theological anthropology or Christian doctrine of sexual difference that illuminates human dignity, all Christian mysteries, sacraments and grace.
Author: Andrew D. Cannon, Ph.D.
In his seventies, Cannon pursued a doctorate in theology to validate his conviction that Pope Saint John Paul II's Theology of the Body is a game changer.
Testimonials and Expert Reviews
From the foreword by Professor Rocco Buttiglione, Friend and Biographer of John Paul II
“Mere Marriage is a well developed and exceedingly relevant study. I know of no other work that has delved so deeply into correspondences between the Greek Fathers and Wojtyla’s Theology of the Body.”
Dennis J. Billy, CSsR, Robert F. Leavitt Distinguished Chair in Theology, St. Mary’s Seminary and University, Baltimore
“Mere Marriage makes an important contribution to moral theology by demonstrating that John Paul II’s understanding of the conjugal act is a development of the Church’s teaching in Humanae vitae. Using Newman’s seven key indicators of a development of doctrine and insights from Michael Buckley, S.J., it compares Paul VI’s Humanae vitae with John Paul II’s Theology of the Body to show that the anagogic inferences in the latter lie soundly in the area of theological argument and constitute an authentic development of Church teaching. This book is a welcome contribution to the study of Marriage and Family and would be an excellent resource for courses in Catholic moral theology on the topic.”
Fr. Peter Stravinskas, President Catholic Education Foundation
"Every confessor and seminarian, anyone involved in marriage preparation, and any moral theology professor, ought to ensure that Mere Marriage finds a place of honor in one's theological library."
Christopher West, ThD, President, Theology of the Body Institute
“Dedicated, faithful scholars like Andrew Cannon work diligently behind the scenes to provide solid ground for evangelists. I am very grateful to Dr. Cannon for his important book, Mere Marriage, which demonstrates that Saint John Paul II’s Theology of the Body combines theological rigor and continuity with sacred tradition to propose an understanding of conjugal love, grace, sacraments, and Christian Mysteries, commensurate with the needs of the new evangelization.”
Daniel Avila, J.D., M.A.
I learned so much from your exhaustive yet understandable treatment of the subject. I am grateful that you decided to pursued the doctoral studies required for you to substantiate your intuitive conviction that as the book cover puts it, JPII's reflections were a "game changer."
Mary Ellen Bork
“Mere Marriage will speak to many who have been inadequately taught for the last fifty years about what makes marriage sacred. Chronicling the wisdom of Popes Paul VI, John Paul II, and John Henry Newman is providential, as all three are newly canonized saints.”
James Thunder | September 28th 2021
JPII’s ‘Game Changer'
New Oxford Review
Cannon’s thesis is that Pope Saint John Paul II’s understanding of the marital act “develops the [moral] doctrine of Humanae Vitae and opens a new horizon for theological anthropology,” the Christian view of man. This affects our understanding of all the Christian mysteries. The saint-pope “brought a vision of the Christian mysteries of Creation, Redemption and Sanctification, vocations, grace and sacraments into view all unified in a sacramental presentation of Christian Marriage.” Additional mysteries impacted by this vision are the Trinity, the Hypostatic Union (one person; two natures), the Paschal Mystery, and the Eucharist.
The Theology of the Body develops the moral doctrine of Humane Vitae by identifying the conjugal act…as a mystical image of the Blessed Trinity, in addition to being the mysterium magnum [great mystery] of the relationship between Christ and the Church of Eph. 5:32, and the “mystery hidden from eternity in God” of Eph. 3:9. This…imaging of the Blessed Trinity,,,goes beyond the boundaries of analogy. …Instead, as used theologically, the image belongs to a mystical category which includes image, icon, sign and sacrament…
By transcending the constraints of analogy,…this scripturally grounded mystical symbolism unfolds the anagogic dimensions of the conjugal act — its ultimate mystical and spiritual meaning…