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For those who may be confused, this is the new translation of John Paul II's 'The Theology of the Body: Human Love in the Divine Plan' (the original title). JPII's "Theology of the Body" is culled from a series of homilies (129 to be exact) he delivered in his Wednesday audiences beginning in 1979. Considering the complexity and profundity of these sermons, it is hard to believe that many in the crowd actually comprehended them. L'Osservatore Romano, the Vatican newspaper, published the homilies, but this was done by a variety of staff translators, thus resulting in an inconsistent translation when published as a whole. Now, for the first time in English, we have a professional, critical translation of these homilies. John Paul's "Theology of the Body" has been highly lauded as one of the greatest (if not *the* greatest) exposition on Christians sexual ethics, with a focus on the human person and the gift of the body. It is perhaps JPII's greatest gift to the Church, especially as it was/is critical in the renewal of the Church after the devastating effects of the sexual revolution of the sixties and the irresponsible and childish rebellion of certain Catholic academics. For a greater appreciation of this work, one can do well to consult the more philosophical works, 'Love and Responsibility' and 'The Acting Person'. The work of Dietrich von Hildebrand would also be a great supplement. On a lighter side, Dawn Eden's 'The Thrill of the Chaste' (recently released) would be a fine example of how JPII's theology of the body is influencing the younger generation.
This book is indeed one of the milestones of Christian Philosophy and Theology. This book along with C.S. Lewis' MERE CHRISTIANITY, are the MASTERPIECES of 20th Century Christian Philosophy. Where Lewis turns the tide and challenges the Atheism of Bertrand Russell by giving a powerful case for and introduction to Christianity, John Paul the Great presents a stunningly beautiful look at what it means to be Human. He sets up a dam to the line of reasoning that led to the Sexual "Revolution" and ultimately to the Utilitarian ethics at the root of the Culture of Death. His presentation of the true meaning of Human Sexuality gives one deep insight to what and why we are. His THEOLOGY OF THE BODY is an antidote to the rhetoric of Alfred Kinsey, Peter Singer, and Richard Dawkins who reduce man to mere organic compouds. We are reflections of the One who has made all things. We are Loved children who are called to Love. This insight can radically change the one who accepts it. Please read this work with an open heart and mind.
P.S.- If JPII's work is a bit dense for you, get a hold of Christopher West's THEOLOGY OF THE BODY FOR BEGINNERS and his monumental commentary THEOLOGY OF THE BODY EXPLAINED. Couples should consider his book GOOD NEWS ABOUT SEX & MARRIAGE and Teens should read Jason Evert's IF YOU REALLY LOVED ME.
It was in 1968 that Pope Paul VI gave the world "Humanae Vitae," his beautiful encyclical on human life: "The transmission of human life is a most serious role in which married people collaborate freely & responsibly with God the Creator.... Responsible men can become more deeply convinced of the truth of the doctrine laid down by the Church on this issue if they reflect on the consequences of methods & plans for artificial birth control. * "Let them first consider how easily this course of action could open wide the way for marital infidelity & a general lowering of moral standards.... * "Another effect that gives cause for alarm is that a man who grows accustomed to the use of contraceptive methods may forget the reverence due to a woman, & ...reduce her to being a mere instrument for the satisfaction of his own desires.... * "Finally, careful consideration should be given to the danger of this power passing into the hands of those public authorities who care little for the precepts of the moral law. Who will blame a government which in its attempt to resolve the problems affecting an entire country resorts to the same measures as are regarded as lawful by married people in the solution of a particular family difficulty? ....Should they regard this as necessary, they may even impose their use on everyone"
Few doubt that there has indeed been "a general lowering of moral standards," as well as a growing disrespect for women, in the past four decades. We also see affluent governments trying to impose contraceptive practices on less affluent governments! Yet, in spite of its proven prophetic nature, Humanae Vitae continues to meet with monumental resistance.Read more ›
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