Theology of the Body

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Kevin Whelan’s Catholic Exchange column from Oct. 6:

Last week there were three significant ’sex scandal’ stories: the attempted blackmail of TV star David Letterman, the attempted extradition of film maker Roman Polanski, and the admission of an affair by U.S. Senator John Ensign. I listened with only passing interest to some of the coverage of these stories. I found some of the commentary a bit more interesting: Is Hollywood’s Defense of Polanski Justified?, Isn’t Polanski’s Crime Worse than Letterman’s?, Isn’t Ensign’s Greatest Infraction His Hypocrisy?

Then on Saturday evening as I started gathering the family for our weekly discussion of the Sunday readings, I reviewed the readings for the 27th Sunday in Ordinary Time and was motivated to declare it “Theology of the Body Sunday” – at least in my house. I explained to my children that the “TOB Sunday” designation was totally compatible with “Respect Life Sunday.” The first reading (Genesis 2: 18-24) and the Gospel reading (Mark 10: 2-16) are two of the chief texts cited in John Paul II’s Theology of the Body. While others may speculate on the amazing tapestry woven by God to bring all these events to our attention, I looked at it from a more parochial point of view: we’ve got a lot of work to do.

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From Dr. Gerard O’Shea:

It is now almost thirty years since Pope John Paul II began his series of Wednesday audiences that was to form the basis of his Theology of the Body. We could even go back further and quote from the Apostles Creed, which comes from the earliest ages of the Church: “I believe in the resurrection of the body…” Still, there is a lingering sense among ordinary Catholics and perhaps Christians in general that the body somehow doesn’t count in the final scheme of things. As a teacher and principal of many years experience, I have stopped being surprised at the answers I receive just after Easter when I go into classrooms of primary school children and ask this question: When Jesus rose from the dead, did he have finger nails and hair? Almost invariably, the children are not sure, and most believe that he didn’t. They think that when He rose again, He was a spirit; He left his body behind!

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A column from Fr. James Farfaglia at Catholic Exchange:

Because of original sin our darkened intellects, weakened wills, and inflamed passions will always move us in the wrong direction. Continual effort is necessary to control the inner movement of our ego and allow the presence of grace to take control of our thoughts, desires and actions.

The battle of the spiritual life might be compared to walking in a river against the current. If we do not continue walking or reaching out toward a rock for support, then the current will most assuredly carry us in the opposite direction.

Any serious discussion about the charism of celibacy or the sacrament of matrimony must take into consideration the seriousness of concupiscence and John Paul II, in his monumental work “The Theology of the Body,” delves into this reality with profound insights for our considerations.

Priests who live out their vocation with fidelity, enthusiasm, and joy should not be surprised that the charism of celibacy does come accompanied by a continual struggle. This struggle is rooted in the human condition.

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An article on physical prayer from Joel Haubenreich:

Crucial to the understanding of the necessity of physical prayer is the fundamental Christian belief that we do not merely have bodies, but in fact are bodies. At Mass we profess our belief in the resurrection of the body, our hope in the reunification of our whole persons. Our bodies will on that day be rejoined to our souls, and we will once more be complete. Our bodies, then, here on earth must have a part in every action, even spiritual actions. We must, taking seriously Jesus’ charge to “love the Lord you God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind,” commit ourselves fully to his service, using every faculty given to us.

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A great article at Catholic Online:

Unless we give sexual intercourse its due reverence, we’ll never give human life its due reverence. The two can never be separated, as Pope Paul VI tried to tell the world in his prophetic encyclical, Humanae Vitae. If we don’t regard all life as sacred – and thus the creative act of sex—then we will always find ways to rationalize and justify the murder of a child as a “right.


A column by Joel Haubenreich:

Traditionally, I am told, within the Church the term “vocation” has been reserved for a call to the priesthood or religious life. Marriage was not called a vocation per se because it is the natural state of things. Marriage is the norm, and it is those select few who are called to something different, something higher.

But popular usage of “vocation” these days includes marriage. It is not, I think, that until recently people discerned whether they had a calling and, if they did not, were met simply with Divine silence. Rather I think discerning persons today more explicitly acknowledge that God’s “No” necessarily implies a “Yes” elsewhere—for marriage, while still the “natural” state, is still very much a part of His plan for us.

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The conclusion to Fr. Loya’s two part article on homosexuality is now up:

When it comes to same-sex marriage, we often hear it asked today: “What if two men really love each other? Why can’t the Church let them be married so they can be happy? If it is meaningful to them, who are we to judge?” To understand the Church’s answer to this question, we must once again head into the “H-zone:” the Honesty Zone. Let’s see how the H-zone gives us the most compassionate answer to these questions.

The answer to the above statement lies in being honest to the meaning of the words set in italics:

Continue reading Part IIcheck out Part I