January 14, 2009
THEOLOGY OF THE BODY STUDY NOTES
THEOLOGY OF THE BODY---FATHER THOMAS LOYA January 14, 2009
[Sr. Helena’s comments in brackets]
What was to be the “place of the interior gaze”—the male/female relationship became a battleground.
“Eschatalogical” means where we’re going as a human race, our ultimate destiny.
“Sacramental “ = the visible makes the invisible visible. We can participate in what’s invisible through our bodies which are gendered. The DNA of the whole created order is the “spousal mystery.” God made us as His Bride and He unites Himself intimately with us.
Theology of the Body says first: God is Trinity. We are made like the Trinity, a union and communion of persons.
Adam and Eve SAW sacramentally when they saw each other for the first time, that’s why they were “naked without shame.”
Kerry Kennedy’s (Robert Kennedy’s daughter) book, “Being Catholic Now,” sidesteps Catholic sexual morality, but embraces Catholic social teaching (social justice).
Many people were raised with guilt, sin and rules in the Catholic Church and not much else or nothing about the wonderful “why.” It’s really all about the HEART.
JP2G italicized his statement that “a wrong understanding of moral purity developed” (in the times of Jesus) and this interpretation became widespread. So all the rules even about ritual washing, etc., became applied to even biological functions! That’s why we say even today: “dirty” jokes!
2 extremes: prudishness and license.
Participant: Here’s an analogy—“anorexia” and “gluttony.” That’s why we call them eating “disorders.”
Jesus is concerned with purity of heart.
HISTORICAL—the fall & concupiscence of heart (prone to lust) THEN Jesus’ purity of heart
Who’s a better driver: the one who acquiesces to the law because they understand the law of the road, OR the one who does it only so they don’t get a ticket? The first driver is like what it means to live LIFE IN THE SPIRIT. We are honest and free because we get it.
Eastern concept of the person is body, soul and spirit. The soul is more like the life principle, and the spirit is the psychology/character of the person (and animated by God). [The soul is kind of like the material soul of the plants and animals (that we share with them). The spirit is like the “spiritual” soul of the human.]
As we mature, we should come to this mature TOB spirituality, but sometimes we need the law first to instruct us. But we ARE supposed to be maturing spiritually.
For some Catholics today, there’s a tendency to want to go backwards to an unhealthy sense of the body. “Custody of the eyes” is important, but it’s not enough. JP2G says: “Purity is seeing the glory of God in the human body.” We should keep our bodies in holiness and reverence. Purity is about how we SEE the body, not just how we AVOID it!!!!! JP2G’s “Love and Responsibility” talks a lot about this. (Father is skipping the part in TOB text on art and pornography to do at another time.)
Our obligation is to SEE and not to lust, no matter what is in front of us.
Participant: When my kids were 3 or 4 years old, I let them run around naked in the house, and looked at them with purity, not the least amount of lust. If we could see everyone that way, that would be purity of heart, right?
Fr. Loya: Yes. And let your kids do that in the privacy of your home when they’re little so they learn a degree of comfort with their bodies, and don’t get the message at a very young age that their bodies are bad and evil.
What about nudist colonies? Participant: The German nudist movement of the 20’s was all about that, but it was ruined by those who came to the colony in order to lust. It wasn’t done in a sacramental way (or at least they didn’t realize it), but they were going for the innocence of it.
Fr. Loya: Wherever there is more of a Catholic ethos (in traditionally Catholic countries), there tends to be more nudity, because true Catholic culture is more at ease with the body, that’s why the nude body was used so much in Catholic art of yesteryear. JP2G had the bodies uncovered when the Sistine Chapel was renovated. Luther objected to the Sistine Chapel’s naked bodies!! Participant: Luther said: “if all those asses farted at the same time, the roof would cave in.” He was a very crude. [ha ha]
If we could see people as PERSONS, we could see them as persons, even if they were naked.
We’re supposed to see God in people’s bodies and people’s bodies in God.
In fundamentalist Islam, the de-personalization of women is taken to the extreme. They are ONLY an object of lust. So they have to be covered from head to toe. (And therefore aren’t treated as persons who can participate in public life even—drive, vote, etc. ) [And it depersonalizes MEN, too, because women are ½ the human race, and the men think they are wild animals that can’t control themselves.]
JP2G was shot down the week between when he delivered his TOB talk on porn and art AND his announcement of the founding of the JP2 center for TOB in Rome. The missing May 13, 1981 talk is in the new translation, “Male and Female He Created Them—A Theology of the Body.”
West: Emphasizes there is no marriage(as we understand it on earth) in heaven.
East: Emphasizes that what starts on earth continues in heaven, but is transformed in heaven into its completion and fullness. We only get snatches of intimacy in this life through things like marriage, but we long for more and God will fulfill our desires!
We are united so intimately to God as to be grafted onto His nature (not His essence), body and soul.
The only reason “virginity” is considered “greater” than marriage is because it’s what we’ll be in heaven. But virginity really means “completely God’s, a singularity towards God” (it’s NOT so much about an absence of sexual relations!) (Augustine got a little hung up on the excellence of celibacy.) We can’t say one Father of Church or teacher is THE spokesperson for Catholicism. We need to listen to them all. And now we will HAVE to listen to JP2G in a big way.
We aren’t about “saving our SOULS,” but about saving our whole SELVES, as WHOLE PERSONS!
Conjugal relations are liturgical. The old English formula wedding formula was: Groom: “With my body, I thee worship.”