What is “The Theology of the Body”?

“Theology of the Body” is for many a foreign concept, and for not a few it comes across as rather antiquated. What sense can a “theology of the body" make when our society has trained us by way of an incessant flood of advertisements that our body is something we can shape, mold, and make attractive by exercise and diet?


But the body is much more than the simple sum of its cells. It is suffused by life. Together with the mind and soul of the person it forms one living unit. Furthermore, it is through our very bodies that God tells us something about himself as well as about ourselves. Precisely this meaning is intended by the words “Theo-logy of the Body,” – God speaks to us through our very bodies.


Is this not a topic just for experts? No, not at all. Karol Wojtyla, the later Pope John Paul II spent much time with young adults and married couples since his days as a student. Thus he learned to recognize the profound significance of God’s self-communication through the body for our knowledge of ourselves as human beings and for our call to love. He communicated these insights over decades in pastoral conversations and later put them down in various books. Shortly after the beginning of his pontificate, Pope John Paul II started his weekly catechizes on Wednesdays. He spoke about the significance of the body and eventually came to refer to these reflections as “Theology of the Body.”


We propose anew the theology of the body, because especially today it offers concrete and relevant help in order to discover the fullness of being a man or a woman, the significance of parenthood, and the beauty of the marital embrace.