What is the Theology of the Body?
At Our Lady of Victory, we teach the Theology of the Body curriculum in our school and PSR programs. The Theology of the Body presents the Catholic Church’s understanding of the meaning of human existence, the purpose of human life, as well as the nature of relationships and the purpose of human sexuality and identity. The Church’s teaching helps us understand the purpose of human life and identity especially through our relationship with God and with others. This teaching is Biblical and has been formed over many centuries of prayer, reflection, and teaching. We are fortunate that the articulation we use in our program flows from the teaching of Pope St. John Paul II who took the time to present the Church’s teaching on human meaning in a series of audiences which became known as “Theology of the Body.” Our curriculum is based on the Pope’s reflections and is presented, age-sensitive to the different grades in our education programs.
The information below and the links may help explain the core of the program.
Christopher West describes Theology of the Body in this way:
The “Theology of the Body” is St. John Paul II's integrated vision of the human person. The human body has a specific meaning, making visible an invisible reality, and is capable of revealing answers regarding fundamental questions about us and our lives:
· Is there a real purpose to life and if so, what is it?
· What does it mean that we were created in the image of God?
· Why were we created male and female? Does it really matter if we are one sex or another?
· What does the marital union of a man and woman say to us about God and his plan for our lives?
· What is the purpose of the married and celibate vocations?
· What exactly is "Love"?
· Is it truly possible to be pure of heart?
All of these questions, and many more, are answered in the 129 Wednesday audiences popularly known as the “Theology of the Body,” delivered by St. John Paul II between 1979 and 1984.
The Pope’s reflections are based on Scripture and contain a vision of the human person truly worthy of man. Emphasizing the theme of love as self-gift, they counteract societal trends which view the body as an object of pleasure or as a machine for manipulation. Instead, the body shows us the call and gives us the means to love in the image of God.
John Paul II encourages a true reverence for the gift of our sexuality and challenges us to live it in a way worthy of our great dignity as human persons. His theology is not only for young adults or married couples but for all ages and vocations since it sums up the true meaning of being a person.
Links for more information