Theology of the Body seg 1 of 8



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John Paul II’s Theology of the Body

my name is father Roger Landry I'm a priest of the Diocese of Fall River Massachusetts of the donut Vitae Center for Bioethics over the course of eight talks we're going to be plumbing the depths together of Pope John Paul the second theology of the body this term refers to a hundred and twenty-nine catechetical addresses that the Holy Father did early in a specific 't between September of 1979 and November of 1984 pope john paul ii used this term the theology of the body to describe two aspects of the human body and the human person expressed in the body the first aspect theology means logos feo the Word of God the logic of God the revelation of God and so the first thing is that the Pope looks into is what God has said about the human person body and soul together the second aspect of it is what we can see in the human body about the human person created in such a way by God those two things together allow us to come to a much deeper appreciation of who the human person is male or female and who the human person is called to be in God's divine plan what I'd like to do in this first of the eight times we come together is give you a background of the theology of the body and then an overview of what pope john paul ii says more or less a bird's-eye view so that we can get the full perspective of what he is doing and then in the subsequent seven sections each one of which will be dedicated to one of the seven sections of the theology the body will do a worm's-eye view where we see from the ground up so to speak all the details that we won't be able to see in the parent panoramic view this first time through so the theology the body itself is the result of a long prehistory in the mind of Pope John Paul the second he told the world in an interview called crossing the threshold of Hope uh blessed in the early 90s that as a young priest he fell in love with human love and his entire hood later he is still plumbing the depths of what human love is meant to reveal to us about what God how God loves us and how we're called to love him and what divine love can teach us about how human beings are supposed to love each other that great bilateral reciprocity between human love and divine love is what his entire priestly project has been he was a young priest at the chaplaincy for the Technical University in Cracow associated with a church called st. Florian's and while he was there he prepared thousands of couples from marriage he helped young married couples who were struggling in their own commitments that they've made to each other into God and as a confessor he saw from within far greater than any layperson would ever really be able to do the types of struggles that men and women have and living out their sexuality according to God's plan all of that together became a tremendous recipe for what he fleshed out in lectures as a young professor at the Catholic University of Lublin where his teach in philosophical ethics what he wanted to talk about then is who the human person is and how that human person is supposed to flourish in human love at the time when he was a young priest in the late 1950s teaching there at Lublin he recognized that a lot of the young people who were students had been at least attempted guinea pigs of the communist ideology who were trying to give a completely different understanding of the human person the human person's relationship with each other the human person's relationship with God and so we thought perhaps the best way to help them to see what God calls them to in human love is to do it in a philosophical way not on the base of theology because the Communists were atheist but in the base of human philosophy he said he wanted to do two things the first is to confront human experience with doctrine with the church's teaching and see if there are any tensions there or what each were reflects to the other and the second thing that he wanted to do which was really the only explicitly theological part of his initial work was to introduce Christ type of love into the human experience of love by this comparing human experience to what God teaches and he did that in a philosophical way in a series of lectures that were eventually published as his first book which he called love and responsibility which you see here published by Ignatius press which I would recommend to everybody there were four essential sections in this love and responsibility the four sections that he essentially took in to a theological understanding of the same issues in his theology the body the first was a discussion of the sexual urge a lot of the times when Catholics look at man and woman afflicted they think by the sexual urge they see the sexual urges something completely negative Pope John Paul the second said God made the human person with the sexual urge so that he would realize that in and of himself he was unfulfilled that he had this dependence he had this need for another person that the sexual urge calls him out of himself to give him himself to another that leads to real love it's the possible starting ground for real love but then something can can invade it he said that real love is this gift of oneself to another person there's making of the other person an end with his or her own goal rather than as a means to the achievement of our own goals as a subject rather than as an object to be used for our own self gratification and he said that the different that the opposite of love is not aiding somebody but using someone using someone for wrong at one's own ends that led to the third aspect which in order to be able to love somebody else you had to have control of yourself you needed to be responsible for the gift of your own love the gift of your sexual urge and responsible for the gift to the other person who might be in love with you and in order to have that you needed to be master yourself you know dad you had to have self mastery or self-control chastity or continence all of these things refer to different aspects of the same reality that for men and one to be able truly to love each other they needed to own themselves and control their desires rather than let their desires control them that led to the fourth and final aspect of the four legs of the cheer that pope john paul ii was doing in love and responsibilities which he called justice toward the creator in marriage and family that when man and woman looked at each other they were meant to see by their experience something of the others masculanity and feminity somebody of the paternal meaning of the masculinity and something of the maternal meaning of the femininity and real justice to the creator and justice toward each other would be embracing the fullness of the gift of who the other person is entirely as God made that person when he applied that entire understanding to the controversial subject between artificial contraception and periodic continence what we would call in the United States natural family planning he said that there were completely divergent views that first view of artificial contraception was one in which couples could be brought to use each other in sexuality whereas periodic continents which features this chastity is one in which there would be preserved and responsible to be able to give themselves wholly entirely to each other and accept the other person fully as God made them and form an visa via woman that would include accepting woman with her cycles throughout the month and including the periodic infertility that she experiences accepting the full gift of herself is consistent with using those rhythms if there were a certain reason for doing it certain serious reason to delay the conception of another child we see Pope John Paul the second take all of this teaching into his theology of the body over the course of his episcopate he started to recognize that number one his ministry as Archbishop of Krakow was pretty effective and he was starting to take people over to a much greater understanding of how God's revelation should be affecting their daily lives against what the Communists were trying to brainwash them to believe but he also recognized that as a bishop of the Universal church there were also huge problems in other countries because people had assimilated the Church's teachings on sexuality especially what Pope Paul the sixth at Tonya mana Vijay has just a series of rules that they had to follow they didn't see how those rules flowed directly from who God made the human person to be what Christ revealed the human person's personality to be in all its fullness and so he wanted to give a much deeper anthropology a much greater understanding of the human person based on the Bible so that Catholics throughout the world would be able to see that the conclusions of oh man I've ETA that Pope Paul the sixth wrote about why artificial contraception between married couples is wrong and harmful to their love why that is fully in accord with everything that Christ Himself reveal

5 thoughts on “Theology of the Body seg 1 of 8

  1. to finish my previous statement….this lack of understanding of the beauty of God's creation of our sexuality is marred by evolutionary thinking, again Genesis 2, literally true, it is not good for man to be alone… God makes woman….God told us to be fruitful and multiply, but He wants it to happen through the unitive dimension….why do you think people have called sex "lovemaking"….we need to get back to the truth of Genesis, it is historical and theological truth to set us free!!!

  2. to tackle the other comment!…Genesis 2 says that it is not good for man to be alone….the unitive dimension is essential to understanding God's love….husband and wives do express their love for one another in the sex act….I believe one of the reasons that the theology of the body is obscurred in Catholic circles, and even the problem of the abuse scandals, is connected to a lack of understanding of the goodness of God's original creation, and the wound of original sin (1 morepostcoming)

  3. yes I would like to comment on both these below comments…the first comment says that natural family planning is a heresy, yet God allows it to happen for most days of the month, and the only way to even try to acheive pregnancy each time of intercourse would be to practice it in its accuracy….Clement of Alexandria's statement should not be interpreted in a way that neglecs the unitive dimension, case in point the Church rejects in vitro fertilization as morally reprehensible!

  4. Clement of Alexandria, The Instructor of Children, 2:10:95:3: ―To have coitus other than to procreate children is to do injury to nature.‖ "

    God Family Planning is the teaching of the Church. Natural Family Planning is a long condemned heresy.

  5. This has some interesting points ….but how come the Church made such a poor response to Sex abuse scandals? Sexual urges are probably best understood through experience. The body is used for all sorts of things …eating , making money , fighting wars, worship, building houses writing music, hearing the word, preaching …there is much more to the body besides sex!

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