On July 8-10, Franciscan University of Steubenville partnered with the Veritas Amoris Project for its second “Truth of Love” conference, discussing the virtues of fatherhood and motherhood and the meaning of sexual difference. 

Stephen Hildebrand, professor of theology and dean of the school of theology and philosophy at Franciscan, and Stephan Kampowski, professor of philosophical anthropology at the Pontifical John Paul II Theological Institute for Marriage and Family Sciences in Rome, were in charge of the conference. 

“We have a lot of personal and professional ties with Veritas Amoris,” Hildebrand said. “When the project got started, Franciscan was very happy and delighted to collaborate with a team of such wonderful scholars with such a noble mission and vision.”

In his theology of the body catechesis, St. John Paul II places great emphasis on the “spousal” meaning of the body: “The body, which expresses femininity ‘for’ masculinity, and, vice versa, masculinity ‘for’ femininity, manifests the reciprocity and the communion of persons.” 

Namely, sexual difference reveals the call to a reciprocal gift, according to Hildebrand and Kampowski. Following these insights, the conference approached the topic of sexual difference by examining the virtues of fatherhood and motherhood.

“We wanted to take a particular approach to sexual difference because sexual difference seems to be a very crucial issue today,” Kampowski said. “Many are wondering, what does it mean to be a man? What does it mean to be a woman? Is there anything in between? Can a man become a woman? Can a woman become a man?”

“We didn’t name the conference, ‘The difference between man and woman,’ although that’s obviously part of it. We chose fatherhood and motherhood precisely because fatherhood and motherhood are the fulfillment of sexual difference,” Hildebrand said. 

Even though there are many men and women who will never become fathers or mothers in the flesh, those men and women are called to spiritual fatherhood and motherhood, and in that, they can also find masculine and feminine fulfillment, Kampowski said.

Full story at NC Register.