Friday, May 27, 2011

Tree of Life: a TOB film?

Sr Helena can't stop talking about Malick's "Tree of Life" (awarded the Golden Palm at the Cannes Film Festival). She kept saying "It's a God movie; it's a Theology of the Body movie..." (Here's her review, and all the tweets she sent while the review was embargoed!) Fr. Robert Barron agrees that it's a God movie, big time.

Tree of Life opens in limited release today.

Friday, May 13, 2011

TOB: in Benedict's words

Today is the 30th anniversary of the assassination attempt on Bl. John Paul II. As he met with a group from the Blessed's own "Institute for Studies on Marriage and the Family," Pope Benedict commented on the anniversary and on his predecessor's Theology of the Body:

 At noon today the Pope received participants in a meeting sponsored by the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family.

  At the beginning of the address the Holy Father recalled that 30 years ago the newly Blessed John Paul II founded that Institute and the Pontifical Council for the Family and that it was precisely on 13 May thirty years ago that he "suffered the terrible assassination attempt in St. Peter's Square".

  Benedict XVI noted a few points of reflection to the members of the institute for "uniting the theology of the body with the theology of love in order to find the unity of the path of humankind".

  While emphasizing that "the body is the place where the spirit can dwell", the pontiff noted that "in light of this we can understand that our bodies are not inert, heavy material but, if we know how to listen, they speak the language of true love".

  "The body", he explained, "speaks to us of an origin that we haven't granted ourselves. ... It is only when recognizing the original love that has given them life that human beings can accept themselves, only then can they be reconciled with nature and with the world".

  Referring to the creation of our first forebears, the Pope asserted that " before the Fall, Adam and Eve's bodies appear in perfect harmony. They have a language that they didn't create, an eros rooted in nature that invites them to receive one another mutually from the Creator so that they might thus be able to give themselves. ... The union in one flesh thus becomes a union of all of life, so that man and woman might become one spirit. ... In this sense", he continued, "the virtue of chastity takes on a new meaning. It is not a "no" to life's pleasures and joys but a great "yes" to love as the profound communication between persons, which requires time and respect, as a path together toward fullness and as love that becomes capable of generating life and generously welcoming the new life that is born".

  The Holy Father said that "the body also contains a negative language. It speaks to us of the oppression of the other, of the desire to possess and exploit. Nevertheless, we know that this language does not pertain to God's original plan, but is the fruit of sin. When separated from its filial meaning, from its connection with the Creator, the body rebels against humans, and loses its capacity to show communion, becoming a place where the other is appropriated. Isn't this", he asked, " the drama of sexuality that today remains locked in the vicious circle of one's own body and emotion, but which in reality can only be fulfilled in the call to something greater?".

  "God offers humans a path of redemption to the body, whose language is preserved in the family ... where the theology of the body and the theology of love are intertwined. Here the gift of self in one single flesh is lived in the conjugal love that unites spouses. Here the fruitfulness of love is experienced and life is joined with that of other generations. In the family, humans discover their relationality, not as autonomous individuals who are self-made but as child, spouse, and parent whose identity is based on being called to love, to receiving another's self and to giving oneself to others".

  Benedict XVI concluded, recalling that "God takes on the body and revealed himself in it. ... As the Son, he received the filial body in gratitude, listening to the Father, and he offered his body for us, so that the new body of the Church might be generated".
AC/                                                                                       VIS 20110513 (620)

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Thursday, May 5, 2011


How Theology of the Body brought blogger Jennifer Fulwiler and her husband into the Catholic Church (she from atheism, he a fallen-away Baptist):
Despite the fact that I found this religion to be imminently [sic] reasonable, I still couldn’t convert until I saw some kind of evidence that its doctrines were divinely-guided, as it claimed they were. After months of reading, I discovered the writings of John Paul II, specifically his Theology of the Body. What I found was a counter-cultural, brilliant yet counter-intuitive wisdom like I’d never encountered before. Reading his words made me feel like he had access to some secret owner’s manual to the human soul. It was the pebble that tipped the scales. Taken in total, I didn’t believe that humans could come up with this unfathomable body of wisdom on their own; I saw divine intervention. My husband and I both became Catholic at Easter Vigil in 2007.

From the Washington Post; read the rest here.

Monday, May 2, 2011

To celebrate the beatification of Pope John Paul II, here are a few new-to-me online resources to help you learn and share his insights on the Theology of the Body:

8-part video series by Fr. Roger Landry: an overview of the whole arc of the Theology of the Body
Fr Landry's "Cliff Notes" version of TOB
Introductory overview of TOB by Fr. Jose Granados

William E. May on Fatherhood in Pope John Paul's document on the Christian Family; on male/female complementarity; on the biblical teachings on sexual morality in the light of TOB

And here's a pre-pontificate writing by the new Blessed, prepared for the 10th anniversary of Pope Paul's encyclical "Of Human Life"