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Theology of the Body


Theology of the Body Chris West Mary Shivanandan Series of Talks 1979-84 Purpose Defend Humanae Vitae Explaining the importance of the body to understanding the human ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Theology of the Body

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Theology of the Body
Chris West
Mary Shivanandan
Series of Talks 1979-84
  • Defend Humanae Vitae
  • Explaining the importance of the body to
    understanding the human person
  • Understanding the body as a sign of transcendent
  • Helping us understand our vocation in the world
    as being made in the image and likeness of God,
    as male and female

Return to Scripture
  • Likewise let the other theological disciplines
    be renewed through a more living contact with the
    mystery of Christ and the history of salvation.
    Special care must be given to the perfecting of
    moral theology. Its scientific exposition,
    nourished more on the teaching of the Bible,
    should shed light on the loftiness of the calling
    of the faithful in Christ and the obligation that
    is theirs of bearing fruit in charity for the
    life of the world. (Optatam Totius, 16, 1965)

Christ Reveals Man to Himself
  • In reality it is only in the mystery of the
    Word made flesh that the mystery of humanity
    truly becomes clear. For Adam, the first man,
    was a type of him who was to come, Christ the
    Lord. Christ, the new Adam, in the very
    revelation of the mystery of the Father and of
    his love, fully reveals humanity to itself and
    brings to light its very high calling. (Gaudium
    et Spes, 22)

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  • If human beings are the only creatures on earth
    that God has wanted for their own sake, they can
    fully discover their true selves only in
    self-giving (Gaudium et Spes, 24)
  • Man must lose himself, to find himself. (Luke

Matt 19 4-8
  • He said in reply, "Have you not read that
    from the beginning the Creator 'made them male
    and female' and said, 'For this reason a man
    shall leave his father and mother and be joined
    to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh'?
    So they are no longer two, but one flesh.
    Therefore, what God has joined together, no human
    being must separate." They said to him, "Then why
    did Moses command that the man give the woman a
    bill of divorce and dismiss (her)?" He said to
    them, "Because of the hardness of your hearts
    Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from
    the beginning it was not so.

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Genesis 127, 31
  • God created man in the image of himself, in the
    image of God he created him, male and female he
    created them. God blessed them, saying to them,
    Be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth and
    conquer it.God saw all that he had made and
    indeed it was very good.

Man Made in the Likeness and Image of God
  • Rational thinks, is creative, is intuitive
  • Free makes free choices, creates himself and
    impacts the world around him
  • Relational is designed to love and be loved

Powerful Metaphysical Context
  • Man cannot be reduced to the world.
  • Procreation places him in the world of time and
  • The goodness of creation introduces the notion
    of value.

Blessing of Fertility
  • In the mystery of creation on the basis of
    the original and constituent solitude of his
    being man was endowed with a deep unity between
    what is, humanly and through the body, male in
    him and what is, equally humanly and through the
    body, female in him. On all this, right from the
    beginning, the blessing of fertility descended,
    linked with human procreation (cf. Gn128). (TOB,

Genesis 2 7, 18-19
  • Yahweh God fashioned man of dust from the
    soil. Then he breathed into his nostrils a breath
    of life and thus man became a living
    being.Yahweh God said, It is not good that the
    man should be alone. I will make him a helpmate.
    So from the soil Yahweh God fashioned all the
    wild beasts and all the birds of heaven. These he
    brought to the man to see what he would call
    them each one was to bear the name the man would
    give it.

Original Solitude of Adam
Original Solitude
  • Names the animals
  • dominion
  • different
  • Self-aware
  • Alone

Genesis 220-22
  • But no helpmate suitable for man was found for
    him. So Yahweh God made the man fall into a deep
    sleep. And while he slept, he took one of his
    ribs and enclosed it in flesh. Yahweh God built
    the rib he had taken from the man into a woman,
    and brought her to the man.

Genesis 223
  • The man exclaimed This at last is bone of my
    bone and flesh from my flesh! This is to be
    called woman, for this was taken from man.

Original Innocence
  • The man and his wife were both naked, yet they
    felt no shame.
  • They had no disordered passions.

Original Unity
  • Intersubjectivity They were one in their
  • They could participate in the freedom of the
  • They were transparent to each other.
  • They were a Communion of Persons.
  • They did not use each other.
  • They simply delighted in each other.

Nuptial Meaning of the Body
  • The body is an outward SIGN of an inner reality.
  • Adam and Eve were made for each other.
  • They are complete only as a whole.
  • We are all meant to give to others and receive
    from others.

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Key Terms
  • Original Solitude
  • Original Unity
  • Nuptial Meaning of the Body
  • Communion of Persons
  • Naked without Shame
  • Freedom of the Gift
  • Language of the Body
  • Shame

Results of Original Sin
  • Disunity/Fragmentation
  • Of Man from God
  • Of male and female from each other
  • Of the passions within each person
  • Shame

Language of the Body
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Human Sexualityis a Language
  • I want to give myself completely to you and to
    receive you as a gift.
  • I will respect you as a person.
  • I will deserve your trust.
  • I will not use or exploit you.
  • I will delight in your otherness.
  • I am willing to be a parent with you.

Need for Self-Mastery
St Paul
Universal Call to Holiness
  • What God wants is for you all to be holy. He
    wants you to keep away from fornication, and each
    one of you to know how to use the body that
    belongs to him in a way that is holy and
    honourable, not giving way to selfish lust like
    the pagans who do not know God. He wants nobody
    at all ever to sin by taking advantage of a
    brother in these matters. (Thessalonians 4 3-5)

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Christ as Bridegroom
  • There are eunuchs who were born thus from their
    mothers womb and there are eunuchs who have made
    themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heavens
    sake. He who is able to accept it, let him accept
    it. (Matt 1912)
  • For when they rise from the dead, men and women
    do not marry no, they are like the angels in
    heaven. (Mark 1225)

St. Paul on Celibacy
  • I would like to see you free from all worry.
    An unmarried man can devote himself to the Lords
    affairs, all he need worry about is pleasing the
    Lord but a married man has to bother about the
    worlds affairs and devote himself to pleasing
    his wife he is torn two ways. I say this only
    to help you, not to put a halter round your
    necks, but simply to make sure that everything is
    as it should be, and that you give your undivided
    attention to the Lord. (1 Cor. 7 32-35)

Continence for the Kingdom
  • Celibacy is a charismatic sign. The human
    being, male and female, who, in the earthly
    situation where people marry, freely chooses
    continence for the kingdom of heaven, indicates
    that in that kingdom, which is the other world of
    the resurrection, people will no longer marry (Mk
    1225). This is because God will be everything
    to everyone (1 Cor 1528). (TOB, 267)

Celibacy Eschatological Sign
  • Earthly continence for the kingdom of heaven
    is undoubtedly a sign that indicates this truth
    and this reality. It is sign that the body,
    whose end is not the grave, is directed to
    glorification. Already by this very fact,
    continence for the kingdom of heaven is a witness
    among men that anticipates the future
    resurrection. (TOB, 267)

Mystic Marriage Of St. Catherine
Celibacy a Spousal Relationship
  • Continence for the sake of the kingdom of
    heaven, the choice of virginity or celibacy for
    ones whole life, has become in the experience of
    Christs disciples and followers the act of a
    particular response of love for the divine
    Spouse. Therefore it has acquired the
    significance of an act of nuptial love, that is,
    a nuptial giving of oneself for the purpose of
    reciprocating in a particular way the nuptial
    love of the Redeemer. (TOB, 282)

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Wives be subject to your husbands, as to the Lord
(Eph. 52)
  • the author does not intend to say that the
    husband is the lord of the wife and that the
    interpersonal pact proper to marriage is a pact
    of domination of the husband over the wife.
    Instead, he express a different concept that
    the wife can and should find in her relationship
    with Christ, who is the one Lord of both the
    spouses, the motivation of that relationship with
    her husband which flows from the very essence of
    marriage and of the family. (TOB, 310)

Mutual Submission
  • The husband and wife are in fact subject to
    one another, and are mutually subordinated to
    one another. The source of this mutual subjection
    is to be found in Christian pietas, and its
    expression is love.Love excludes every kind of
    subjection whereby the wife might become a
    servant or slave of the husband, an object of
    unilateral domination.The community or unity
    which they should establish through marriage is
    constituted by a reciprocal donation of self,
    which is also a mutual subjection. (TOB, 310)

Contraception violates the Language of the Body
  • It can be said that in the case of an
    artificial separation of these two aspects, a
    real bodily union is carried out in the conjugal
    act, but it does not correspond to the interior
    truth and to the dignity of personal communion
    communion of persons. This communion demands that
    the language of the body be expressed
    reciprocally in the integral truth of its

  • If this truth be lacking, one cannot speak
    either of the truth of self-mastery, or of the
    truth of the reciprocal gift and of the
    reciprocal acceptance of self on the part of the
    person. Such a violation of the interior order of
    conjugal union, which is rooted in the very order
    of the person, constitutes the essential evil of
    the contraceptive act. (TOB, 398)

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