The Catechetical Review - Communicating Christ for a New Evangelization

Applied Theology of the Body: The Transformative Power of Marital Consent and the Meaning of Marital Sex

Authored by Dr. Donald P. Asci in Issue #9.1 of Catechetical Review

The Theology of the Body (TOB) catechesis[i] culminates with profound teachings on responsible parenthood and a vigorous defense of Humanae vitae, but St. John Paul II equally proclaimed the depth and importance of the unitive aspect of marriage. In fact, nearly half of the TOB reflections are based directly on Jesus’ teachings on the indissolubility of marriage (TOB 1–23, based on Mt 19) and the monogamy of marriage (TOB 24–63, based on Mt 5). While emphasizing the inseparability between the procreative and unitive aspects, a key teaching of Humanae vitae, St. John Paul II also provided a profound way to understand the enormous personal value of unity for man and woman precisely as persons made in the image of God.

By highlighting the meaning of marital unity beyond the juridical level through his focus on the total self-giving and personal communion at the center of Christian marriage, he also gave us some clear criteria for understanding the essential difference between marital sex and premarital sex. This installment of the series describes that essential difference and why our theology says that couples must wait for marriage to begin their sexual life together.

[i] John Paul II, Man and Woman He Created Them: A Theology of the Body, trans. Michael Waldstein (Boston: Pauline Books and Media, 2006), hereafter cited parenthetically in text as TOB.

The rest of this online article is available for current subscribers.

Start your subscription today!


This article is from The Catechetical Review (Online Edition ISSN 2379-6324) and may be copied for catechetical purposes only. It may not be reprinted in another published work without the permission of The Catechetical Review by contacting [email protected]

Articles from the Most Recent Issue

Editor’s Reflections: Eucharistic Communion and Seeing Those in Need
By Dr. James Pauley
Free The Catechism of the Catholic Church tells us that receiving the Eucharist “commits us to the poor” (1397). Why is this so? Receiving the Eucharist means that we enter into union with the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity. And being in Holy Communion with Jesus himself means something profound. Let’s consider one facet of this great mystery.... Read more
The Anawim and the Kerygma
By Colin and Aimee MacIver
Sarah: aged and barren. Joseph: rejected, betrayed, and enslaved. Moses: desperately cast afloat in a basket. Daniel: sent to death by lions. Mary: unknown, unmarried, unbelieved. Salvation history is the story of the poor ones, the bowed down, the lowly—the anawim , as they are named in Hebrew. In both the Old Testament and the New, God tends to... Read more
The Spiritual Life: Poverty, Purity of Heart, & Eucharistic Living
By Sr. Alicia Torres, FE
Free This article is part of a 3-year series dedicated to promoting the efforts of the National Eucharistic Revival in the United States. “The Body of Christ.” “Amen.” Each time we participate in Mass, we have the opportunity to encounter the Lord Jesus in the most intimate way through the reception of Holy Communion. This moment is the most practical... Read more

Pages

Watch Tutorial Videos

We've put together several quick and easy tutorial videos to show you how to use this website.

Watch Now