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Posted: 11/12/2007 7:40:26 PM EDT
So my wife and I are beginning a multi-year course in the Theology of the Body as articulated by Pope John Paul II from 1979 to 1984 in 129 Wednesday audiences he held in the Vatican.

It's some of the deepest philosophical and theological meditations and reflections I've ever read (and I have a post-grad degree in classical philosophy). Just deep, deep stuff. Not at all light reading.

So it occured to me that this is pretty much one of the best kept secrets of Catholicism - not because anyone is trying to keep it secret as much as it's hard to put on a bumper sticker but it is a full bore explanation of Christian sexual ethics and a re-framing of the very intellectual foundations of "The West".

Anyone read any of this stuff?
Link Posted: 11/12/2007 8:37:26 PM EDT
never even heard of it hehe

is it available online?

Link Posted: 11/13/2007 9:56:02 AM EDT
I have not.
Link Posted: 11/14/2007 4:27:59 AM EDT
You can google some quick overviews by punching in "Theology of the Body, John Paul II".

Here's one site's overview: http://www.catholiceducation.org/articles/sexuality/se0055.html

The Pope's body language

The Pope's thesis, if we let it sink in, is sure to revolutionize our understanding of the human body, sexuality and, in turn, marriage and family life. "The body, and it alone," John Paul says, "is capable of making visible what is invisible, the spiritual and divine. It was created to transfer into the visible reality of the world, the invisible mystery hidden in God from time immemorial, and thus to be a sign of it" (February 20, 1980).

A mouthful of scholarly verbiage, I know. What does it mean? As physical, bodily creatures we cannot see God. He's pure Spirit. But God wanted to make His mystery visible to us, so He stamped it into our bodies by creating us as male and female in His own image (cf. Gen. 1:27).

The function of this image is to reflect the Trinity, "an inscrutable divine communion of [three] Persons" (November 14, 1979). John Paul thus concludes that "man became the 'image and likeness' of God not only through his own humanity, but also through the communion of persons which man and woman form right from the beginning." And, the Pope adds, "on all of this, right from 'the beginning,' there descended the blessing of fertility linked with human procreation" (ibid.).

The body has a "nuptial meaning" because it reveals man and woman's call to become a gift for one another, a gift fully realized in their "one flesh" union. The body also has a "generative meaning," which (God willing) brings a "third" into the world through the couple's communion. In this way, marriage constitutes a "primordial sacrament" understood as a sign that truly communicates the mystery of God's Trinitarian life and love to husband and wife, and through them to their children, and through the family to the whole world.

This is what marital spirituality is all about: participating in God's life and love and sharing it with the world. While this is certainly a sublime calling, it's not ethereal. It's tangible. God's love is meant to be lived and felt in daily life as a married couple and as a family. How? By living according to the full truth of the body.

"In fact, how indispensable," our Holy Father insists, "is thorough knowledge of the meaning of the body, in its masculinity and femininity, along the way of this vocation! How necessary is a precise awareness of the nuptial meaning of the body, of its generative meaning — since all that which forms the content of the life of married couples must constantly find its full and personal dimension in life together, in behavior, in feelings!" (April 2, 1980). "

To get the source documents, EWTN has a great listing of all 129 talks by themes.


There are even university level courses available http://www.johnpaulii.edu/cour637.html

I hope to share some of our readings with all y'all in the future. (little No.VA lingo there)

Link Posted: 11/14/2007 10:21:13 PM EDT
I've got it, but I've only waded ankle deep into it.
Link Posted: 12/2/2007 8:26:34 PM EDT
One of the best things to ever be printed!!!!!!!!!!
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