Respect Life: Theology of the Body

Theology of the Body

What is Theology of the Body? Very simply put, it’s a way of looking at our human bodies as “speaking” to us about God and about ourselves.

Saint Pope John Paul II gave a series of weekly addresses from 1979 to 1984. In this series of talks, now known as the “Theology of the Body”, he reflected on the relationship between God and human beings. Among other things, he explained that our bodies are part of who we are, not just something we carry around with us, which means that our physical activities really do matter. Not only that, they teach us about God and his love for us.

A brief overview of these talks is given here at the USCCB’s web site for reference, but a very readable summary from Fr. Richard Hogan can also be found here.

Pope John Paul’s talks have been collected in various print sources, most notably in Michael Waldstein’s Man and Woman He Created Them – A Theology of the Body (Pauline Books and Media, 2006), and the addresses can be found online at the Vatican web site here. But because Pope John Paul’s writings are so theologically rich, it may be helpful to find other writings that explain the Theology of the Body more simply. This web site collects resources from various sources, for example, but you can also search Catholic bookstores and even do online searches of “Theology of the Body” to locate faithful Catholic explanations.