Topical Tuesday: Theology of the Body

Today I leave with the lovely Daughters of St. Paul (see, one day as officially resigned, and I’m working with them again 🙂 ) for Philadelphia to attend the Theology of the Body Congress.

Theology of the Body (or ToB) has an interesting reputation—depending on whom you talk to. Some of the most…enthusiastic…interpreters see it primarily as a lens through which to understand human sexuality as God intended it. Others make it their mission to ignore the “sex stuff” and look at it as a theology of signs—the ensouled body (the whole body) points us to God. And then there are those whose life’s work is to understand the totality of Saint John Paul II’s teachings—sex and all.

Some Quick Facts:

–          ToB actually comes from a series of Wednesday audiences given by Pope John Paul II.

–          It is a theology, not a doctrine. Pope John Paul II was not speaking ex cathedra, so it is not


–          But it just makes so much darned sense that dear Saint Papa JPII was probably right.

–          According to this article, ToB is actually pretty big only in the West (read:  

              United States)

–          You want a treatise on what the Pope thinks about sex? It’s not ToB. Try Love and 


–          ToB can be applied to anyone in any state of life—not just married people.

And that’s what I hope to take away from this conference. I will try to meet two authors I know who are working on manuscripts that will speak to religious and lay people in any state in the context of how ToB applies to them. Emily Stimpson, author of These Beautiful Bones:   will be giving a talk. Finally, there are multiple sessions for relaying the profound message of ToB to kids, teens, and young adults. Come back Friday for the highlights—7QTF style!


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