Theology of the Body

One approach to Catholic moral teaching is called Theology of the Body. It is based on St. John Paul II’s series of audiences over 129 Wednesday catecheses between the years 1979 and 1984.

St. John Paul II’s teachings on the Theology of the Body  See also a more consistent and accessible translation Man and Woman He Created Them: A Theology of the Body (2006, Michael Waldstein, translator)

Our Sunday Visitor Resources: A guide to theology of the body resources Resources for parishes and individuals to tap into the knowledge that lets us better understand the human person.

Theology of the Body Basics (sidebar)

John Paul II’s theology of the body…

… was given during the course of 133 Wednesday audiences, delivered from 1979 to 1984.
… is an anthropology of what it means to be a human person, a union of body and spirit.
… teaches that the body expresses the person and reveals how men and women are made in the image and likeness of God.
… reveals that the one flesh union of husband and wife points to the life-giving communion within the Trinity.
… shows how using another person for our own pleasure violates the dignity of the human person.
… illustrates how the celibate life is a sign of the total self-gift we are all called to make of ourselves to God.
… calls all human beings to make a gift of themselves to one another in love.

Canadian Bishops Pastoral Message on the Occasion of the 40th Anniversary of Humanae Vitae

[St. John Paul II’s] “theology of the body” is a pedagogy that helps us understand the true sense of our bodies. It offers theological and pastoral insights of astonishing depth and inestimable richness that integrate and clarify those already present in Humanae Vitae. It suggests a broader view of the very meaning of human existence, a meaning that constitutes the response to every human being’s quest for happiness: learning to love as God loves, learning to give oneself. We believe that the time has come to consider some key elements of this “theology of the body” so as to gain a greater understanding of the divine plan and to adhere to it with an informed conscience.

United States Conference of Catholic Bishops Theology of the Body Resources

Related sections of the : Secondary Religious Education Curriculum Policy Document 2016

Grade 9

FL3. Created Sexual: Demonstrate an understanding of the Church’s Teaching regarding chastity and sexuality, and identity are rooted in the dignity and worth of each person and respect for the human body, in light of the sacredness of human life created by God. [CCC nos. 1832; 2258-2261; 2273; 2297]

Grade 10

FL3 .Created Sexual: Explain the place of sexuality in God’s plan for humanity and the various ways its role or expression may be distorted. [CCC nos. 355; 369; 589; 1427-1428; 2331-2356; 2514-2526]

Grade 11 Open

FL3. Created Sexual: Discuss social norms and religious mores around sexuality and gender roles. [CCC nos. 378; 1605; 1614; 1616; 2333; 2357-2359]

Grade 12 Open

FL3. Created Sexual: Explain the kinds of love that people experience, with an emphasis on preparation for the sacrament of marriage and family life – the foundation of society. [CCC nos. 2360-2379]

FL3. Created Sexual: Show understanding of how development happens in the lives of individuals and families, and what role the Church has in supporting that growth, in the context of modern culture (e.g., promoting fidelity, chastity, and the practice of reliable methods of natural family planning that are aligned with God’s will). [CCC nos. 2360-2379]

FL3.2 describe reliable ways of forming healthy and loving intimate relationships as long-range preparation for Matrimony and parenthood, with skills and strategies needed to help relationships thrive at various stages (e.g., communication skills, coping skills, conflict/resolution strategies) [CCC no.1632; (Pope) St. John Paul II Theology of the Body]
Teacher Prompt:

  • What is the purpose and meaning of dating and engagement, and why should chastity be maintained in these relationship stages?
  • Which fruits of the Holy Spirit [Galatians 5] are most important in forming healthy relationships?
  • If dating someone does not lead to Matrimony, why should a person remain hopeful, with gratitude to God?

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