“If you have a body, Theology of the Body applies to you”

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Katrina Zeno is Coordinator of the John Paul II Resource Centre in Pheonix, Arizona. PHOTO: Supplied

As Christians we should begin with the end in mind, says Theology of the Body expert, Katrina Zeno. And what is the end-game for Christians? The resurrection of the body. Not just any body, not just Christ’s body, but your body and my body.

“In business there’s a saying, ‘begin with the end in mind.’ That’s good business sense. I’d like to see us live Christianity the same way,” Ms Zeno told The Catholic Weekly.

The Coordinator at the John Paul II Resource Centre for Theology of the Body in Phoenix, Arizona, will be touring Australia from 3 to 31 July.

Through her talks on St John Paul II’s spirituality and his Theology of the Body, she hopes to contribute to re-energizing the Church in Australia.

St John Paul II bows his head during Mass celebrated after he closed the Holy Door of St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican on this 6 January 2001. He first delivered his Theology of the Body in a series of Angelus addresses. PHOTO: CNS photo/Reuters

The author and public speaker says it is essential, as part of this re-energizing process, that Catholics understand what their Church teaches about the resurrection of the body.

“The resurrection of our own bodies has dropped out of common Catholic knowledge. If you talk to someone about the resurrection of their own actual body they will look at you with horror.”

She says when people recite the Apostle’s Creed at Mass, which refers to “the resurrection of the body,” they think it applies to Christ alone, not their own bodies.

This way of thinking has led to a “new Gnosticism,” she said, where we consider our spiritual self—commonly thought of as the soul—to be more important than our bodies.

The Risen Christ is depicted in the painting “Resurrection” by 15th-century Italian master Andrea Mantegna. Easter, the chief feast in the liturgical calendars of all Christian churches, commemorates Christ’s resurrection from the dead. PHOTO: CNS/Bridgeman Images

“We’re in the middle of a new Gnosticism that says all that really matters is getting the soul to heaven and the body is really irrelevant to our ultimate happiness and perfection.”

“It’s a misunderstanding of equating our human nature with the soul or spiritual part of us and seeing the body as just something that’s tacked-on that we will eventually shed and discard.”

“But the human person is actually tripartite—body, soul and spirit.”

This devaluing of the body, she says, has led to the current phenomenon in our culture of “gender expression,” the idea that there are many different genders, not just male and female.

Katrina Zeno regularly speaks to people about St John Paul II’s Theology of the Body. She is pictured here (in yellow t-shirt on far left) with a group of young Catholics. PHOTO: Supplied

Ms Zeno believes St John Paul II’s Theology of the Body is vital to rectifying this situation because it emphasises the Incarnation—that the Son of God became human. Just like us, he is body, soul and spirit.

“The core of the Gospel is that the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, gave up his body on the cross for the forgiveness of sins, and was raised bodily from the dead so that he can unite us to his body for all eternity.”

“Theology of the Body calls us back to the Incarnation as what reveals the meaning of human nature and human embodiment, which is to be in union and communion with the Trinitarian God whose very nature is life-giving love.”

This will be Ms Zeno’s first trip to Australia and she says she has been hoping to make the trip down-under for a long time. “I have been praying for the Lord to open the door in Australia for ten years. I have great anticipation for what the Holy Spirit and Trinitarian Love desires to do.

Katrina Zeno holds up the cross during one of her talks. PHOTO: Supplied

“I’m hopeful because there’s so much to Theology of the Body that people haven’t heard. If you want to hear something new, come to one of my talks and breathe in the Trinitarian anthropology.”

“If you have a body, Theology of the Body applies to you.”

Ms Zeno will be facilitating a five-day course on Theology of the Body at Campion College in Toongabbie from 9 to 13 July, and will speak at a special commemorative event for the 50th anniversary of Humanae Vitae—Pope Paul VI’s Encyclical Letter on artificial contraception—in Pennant Hills on 21 July.

She will be speaking at various events in Sydney, Melbourne and Hobart during her time in Australia.

For more information on the Humanae Vitae 50th Anniversary Conference and the five-day Theology of the Body course: Steve Buhagiar 0415 600 290 or [email protected]

For more information about Katrina Zeno’s events in Sydney, Melbourne and Tasmania visit parousiamedia.com/events