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Document Details :
Title: Thomas Aquinas on Intimacy and Emotional Integrity
Author(s): FRITZ CATES, Diane
Journal: Studies in Spirituality
Volume: 16 Date: 2006
Pope Benedict XVI’s first encyclical invites renewed reflection on the nature of Christian love. It emphasizes the importance of integrating the dimensions of eros andagape. Thomas Aquinas’s reflections on virtue and emotion encourage us to include philiaas a dimension of Christian love. By turning attention toward character-friendship, in particular, one can uncover the remarkable power of mutual affection or intimacy. The intimacy that is experienced in the best of friendships is an opening to something that all humans hold in common, and in experiencing this opening one can believe that goodness is a possibilty for every human being, even for the one who appears completely cruel or callous. Turning attention toward character-friendship also makes it possible to conceive our closest relationships as resources for the cultivation of emotional integrity. The good habits of emotion that we are encouraged to cultivate in friendship improve the moral character that we bring to our encounters with every other human being, even the one who might appear as stranger or enemy.