Thursday, April 18, 2024
20.5 C
Sydney

Theology of the Body will be felt

Most read

Father Anthony Percy, author of an introduction to the Theology of the Body, speaks at a recent book launch. Photo: Supplied
Father Anthony Percy, author of an introduction to the Theology of the Body, speaks at a recent book launch. Photo: Supplied

As part of a series on St Pope John Paul II’s Theology of the Body, The Catholic Weekly asked Fr Anthony Percy what it means to him.

Fr Percy is the vicar general for the Archdiocese of Canberra-Goulburn and author of Theology of the Body Made Simple. He wrote the book to provide an accessible introduction to the fundamentals of what he says is the former pope’s “cultural theology”.

“It isn’t an anthropology, it’s really a cultural theology, then it becomes a theory of sexuality, but you can’t have the sexuality come first,” he explained. “Some commentators move far too quickly into interpreting Pope John Paul II’s work in this area as just about sexuality, but that’s a major mistake.”

- Advertisement -

“However, if you understand the human body to be symbolic, spousal, beautiful and free, wounded and yet redeemed, then it follows that sexuality shares those four qualities. That tends to be an incredibly beautiful message in the world that we’re now living in, which has been quite confused about sexuality for over a century.

“GK Chesterton said in 1926 referring to the sexual revolution, that there’s more madness coming out of Manhattan than there is out of Moscow. We’re now living that full-scale – for example the average age of first exposure to pornography is about 10, and tremendous addictions are being set up in young people.”

The teaching helps people think more clearly about who they are as human beings, who they are as sexual beings and how they should act.

As a philosopher and a priest, St Pope John Paul II was fascinated with the mystery of what it is to be human, and explored this question in his writings in the light of faith.

“When teaching the Theology of the Body, people find it helps them to better appreciate human sexuality and understand the Church’s teaching on sexuality.”

In his book Love and Responsibility and his series of lectures which were collected under the title Theology of the Body, the former pope drew together his own experience, his understanding of the philosophy of St Thomas Aquinas and the newer philosophical school of phenomenology to examine the question, said Fr Percy.

“All of the addresses in which St Pope John Paul II presented this over five years at the start of his pontificate are very detailed and heavily philosophical.

“It’s not accessible to everyone immediately upon reading it if you haven’t got the background, but if you read people who have studied it and tried to explain it in simpler terms, then it becomes very, very helpful. George Weigel said that Pope John Paul II’s Theology of the Body is a theological time bomb due to be detonated sometime in the 21st century.

What is John Paul II’s Theology of the Body?

“I think that’s true and it’s only early in the 21st century, so there’s plenty of time to do it.”

When teaching the Theology of the Body, Fr Percy says people find it helps them to better appreciate human sexuality and understand the Church’s teaching on sexuality, while all of their relationships tend to become more meaningful.

“You understand that the human body is symbolic and spousal and therefore fundamentally relational,” he said.

“And people can profoundly relate to others without having to be sexual, which is true not only of celibates, but of husbands and wives, and people of all life states. It locates sexuality in a wider context of symbolism and the fact that a human being is a spousal being meant for love.

“That’s very helpful as people then begin to think, ‘In what way do I want to express the love that’s been given me?’”

Made for More in Sydney!

At the invitation of the Sydney Centre for Evangelisation Dr Christopher West, the world’s most well-known teacher of the Saint John Paul II’s theology, will travel to Sydney in January before visiting Melbourne in a two-city tour.

The founder and president of the US-based Theology of the Body Institute will present the highly acclaimed Made for More event, along with musician Mike Mangione and Theology of the Body Institute’s Jason Clark.

The Made for More events in Sydney will be held at two locations on Friday, 20 January and Saturday 21 January 2023.

Watch the trailer and get your tickets at www.sydneycatholic.org/TOB/

Related:

Previous article
Next article
- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -