Theology of the Body for Clergy

  Theology of the Body Resource Page for Clergy


“The Future of the World and of the Church passes through the Family.”   


Why should I promote TOB in our parish?

There are many things that compete for the attention of your parishioners, from A to Z. So, maybe you’ve asked yourself, “why bother promoting John Paul II’s ‘Theology of the Body’ (TOB), when there are so many other things to be concerned with these days?” There are many reasons to integrate the Theology of the Body into your parish.

Why should I promote Theology of the Body in our parish?

There are many reasons to integrate the Theology of the Body into your parish. Here are just four:

1) Every BODY needs to know about it. What do our bodies teach us about God? Can Christ heal my relational wounds? How can I discover my vocation? What is love? These are some of the crucial topics covered in TOB. While many are discovering its profound message, many more have not yet even heard of it. Theology of the Body matters … to everyone who has a body. And by making it a priority in your parish, and by helping your parishioners live & proclaim it, many may hear it, and lead changed lives as a result.

2) “I do.” The Theology of the Body is a biblical catechesis on fidelity, human sexuality, openness to children … in short, the essence of the Sacrament itself. It proclaims the truth and beauty of marriage, and how we are called to love as Christ loves: Freely, Totally, Faithfully & Fruitfully. Parishes that understand & embrace TOB will awaken people to the true meaning of marriage & help them make wise decisions, before & after they say ‘I do’. TOB is overflowing with practical implications that can transform marriages & families in many lasting ways.

3) Teens and young adults need hope. There has never been a generation of teens & young adults more bombarded with destructive images & false messages about their bodies. Many  are confused about what “true love” is, and need clarity on the differences between “love & lust”. As high school & college students engage in pre-marital sex, they experience the pain & disillusion that accompany it, including STD’s, unwanted pregnancies that end in abortion, and devastated lives. For many, sex is defined by Howard Stern, Rap stars, and by how their peers “rate” their body. In TOB, they’ll discover dignity & hope, and the love of Jesus. Its message offers the true light of Christ, and a practical vision for retaining and / or  reclaiming their worth as human persons. 

4) Your ministry to your parish will be more effective. As your own appreciation for TOB increases, it will have many ripple effects with your parishioners — from deeper marriages, to young adults heading off to college well-prepared for the challenges that await them. And, TOB can be integrated into many dimensions of parish life, such as in weekend homilies, RCIA programs, faith-sharing groups, service opportunities, & youth ministry. George Weigel called TOB a “theological time-bomb set to go off with dramatic consequences …perhaps in the twenty-first century.” Our hope is that your parish would be one of the places that fuse will be lit. 

 How can I promote Theology of the Body in our parish? 10 Suggestions …

 1) Be well-informed yourself.

2) Build support among your key leaders.

3) Proclaim TOB in your homilies regularly.

4) Youth ministry.

5) Address “cohabitation” with theology AND statistics

6) Promote TOB Study Groups.

7) Publish all 129 talks of TOB in your bulletin!

8) Invite a TOB speaker to your parish.

9) From Rome to Home.

10) Support Natural Family Planning.

Other Writings of John Paul II (and Related Church Documents)

Evangelium Vitae (The Gospel of Life). Boston: Pauline, 1995.

Gaudium et Spes (The Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World). Boston: Pauline, 1965.

Familiaris Consortio (The Role of the Christian Family in the Modern World). Boston: Pauline, 1981.

Mulieris Dignitatem (On the Dignity and Vocation of Women). Boston: Pauline, 1998.

Letter to the Bishops (On the Collaboration of Men and Women in the Church and in the World)

Redemptor Hominis (The Redeemer of Man). Boston: Pauline, 1979.

Veritatis Splendor (The Splendor of Truth). Boston: Pauline, 1993.

Additional Resources
Iformation, books, tapes, CD’s by Christopher West, a leading voice on TOB, and who has unfolded Pope John Paul II’s teachings on human sexuality.
National and international support and assistance for those promoting the theology of the body. Includes books, materials, and conference tapes and CD’s.
Resources on the Holy Father, Pope John Paul’s writings especially his book, Love and Responsibility, and the Theology of the Body. Also contains an excellent Bibliography on John Paul II.