“Theology of the Body”

During the recent Diocesan Assembly with the priests, deacons and the deaconate candi-dates , Bishop Paul focused part of his long term pastoral strategy on “Theology of the Body”. Theology of the Body is the title given to a series of 129 lectures given by St. John Paul II during his pontificate. These lectures have been compiled and expanded up, ulti-mately becoming what we know it as today. Theology of the Body stresses that humankind was created as man and women, two separate and distinct creations. Rather than viewing the body (and sexuality) as a mechanical entity (as the sexual revolution attempted to re-duce sexuality to), St. John Paul II focuses instead of the body and our sexuality as it pertains to our relationship with God.

While many of us may not immediately recognize the title, we will identify with many of the topics which St. John Paul II covers. One of the great gifts of Theology of the Body is that it wraps up many Church teachings and orders and communicates them in a way that it is very easy to understand. St. John Paul II starts at the very beginning, discussing man and women within the context of creation. He draws upon sacred scripture to celebrate the complementarity of the sexes, God’s initial plan, and the results of the Fall. St. John Paul II discusses celibacy, chastity, and marriage.

What is most powerful about Theology of the Body is that St. John Paul II takes the teachings from Humanae Vitaie, Gaudium et spes, and various other documents and seamlessly ties them together in a way that is easy to understand. Many times we know church teachings simply by their practical impact on our lives. We are all aware that the Church does not sup-port artificial contraception. Most of us have heard about Natural Family Planning. However, many of us fall short if we ask ourselves “Why does the church teach these things?” With the transgendered debate surrounding our schools, why does our Bishop disagree that self-identification is the sole measure of one’s gender? Why does the Church state that equality does not mean that men and women are the same, that we can celebrate the equality of man and women before the eyes of God and yet still celebrate the differences He created.

All of these questions are answered within the context of Theology of the Body.

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