What is the theology of the body?

Marriage at Cana by Frans II Francken, 1630s

Marriage at Cana by Frans II Francken, 1630s

Theology of the Body is the popular name given to a series of talks delivered by the late Pope John Paul II between 1979 and 1984. These talks delved deeply into age-old questions of what it means to be human and how we are to live our lives according to God’s design.

Basing his reflections on Matthew 19, John Paul goes with Jesus back to the beginning, the creation stories of Genesis 1 and 2. Arguing that we were originally created to live in accord with the divine life of the Trinity, the Pope also maintained that Jesus Christ actively redeems sexual desire and can restore in increasing measure that which we were made for in the beginning.

Ultimately our sexuality and the intimacy of the marital embrace is not meant to complete us, but to point us to our destination: a life of perfect love with our Creator God in heaven.

Theology of the Body is one of the most complete and compelling Christian teachings about what it means to be human. Although it came out of the Roman Catholic tradition, the teaching is accessible to all Christians and has the capacity to bridge many denominational divisions and to be a powerful tool for evangelizing a sexually destructive culture.

For a longer introduction, see Fr. Roger Landry’s exploration of the main themes of Theology of the Body in outline form.

Or, visit our resources section to find books that will take you deeper into this compelling vision.

Copyright © 2013, Daniel Weiss. All rights reserved. Used with permission.