Theology of the Body for the New Evangelization, Part 1

Authored by Katrina Zeno in Issue #1.1 of The Catechetical Review

For us catechists, St. John Paul II's "theology of the body" should strike a single, resounding chord in our hearts and minds: "good news!" It is, in essence, the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

While St. John Paul II's 133 Wednesday catecheses include a profound application to sexual and marital morality, the application occurs primarily at the end of this series of discourses. As a consummate catechist, St. John Paul II knew that grace perfects nature.[1] It doesn't replace nature nor jump ahead of it. Thus, to truly understand how we should act, we have to first understand who we are and what our purpose is. In other words, the foundation of faith is a correct view of the human person, a correct metaphysics.

Before you hurriedly skip to another article because you fear I'm about to launch into the philosophical stratosphere, let me reassure you I am not. Like you, I am a catechist in every pore of my being. I live to communicate the faith to others in a concrete and systematic way. However, I am increasingly convinced that our efforts to pass on the faith often fail to be transformative because we assume others have already adequately answered the key human questions of "Who am I?" and "What is my purpose?" Or, perhaps without realizing it, we have relegated those questions to the realm of psychology and philosophy, as if they are irrelevant to theology and catechetics.

In truth, these two questions constitute the core of Christianity. The cataclysmic shock Christianity introduced into history was not its moral teachings; other cultures and religions embraced and taught similar moral norms. Rather, the novelty of Christianity is its illumination of personal identity. Confessions of faith in Jesus' divinity are the highpoints of the Gospels: Peter professes, "You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God" (Mt. 16:16); the centurion at the foot of the cross concludes, "Truly, this man was the Son of God" (Mk. 15:39); St. John declares the purpose of his gospel to be "that you might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God" (Jn. 20:31).

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 editor@catechetics.com

Articles from the Most Recent Issue

Editor's Reflections: Adult Faith Formation and Culture Change
By Dr. James Pauley
Free This year marks the twentieth anniversary of one of the most important publications the U.S. Bishops have ever written: Our Hearts Were Burning Within Us . The ideals and principles expressed in this document are deeply convicting and can be summed up with these stirring words: “adult faith formation is essential to who we are and what we do as... Read more
From the Shepherds: Catechesis in the Light of the Papal Magisterium of Pope Francis Evangelii gaudium - An Access to the Church’s Mission
By Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst
Free Looking back on the past and on the development of the church since the Second Vatican Council, there are two well-known and profound documents, which have brought the biblical call for evangelization into our pastoral consciousness: Evangelii nuntiandi in 1974 and Evangelii gaudium in 2013. Both apostolic letters have reflected on the manner in... Read more
Our Hearts Were Burning Within Us: A Reflection on Discipleship
By Peter J. Murphy
Do you feel the Holy Spirit working? Do you sense that deeper calling, that desire for renewal, that burning within your heart? Yes, it is the same burning that the disciples on the road to Emmaus felt as their Lord and Savior journeyed with them. Our Hearts Were Burning Within Us was written twenty years ago as a prophetic and challenging... 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