Renate und Norbert Martin:
Theology of the Body – Background and Main Themes
(FKTh 2019-3, p. 184–200)
Theology of the Body is the topic of a series of 129 lectures given by Pope John Paul II during his Wednesday audiences in St. Peter’s Square and the Paul VI Audience Hall between September 5, 1979 and November 28, 1984. It constitutes an analysis of an extensive Christian Anthropology based on the Old Testament and New Testament.
“The fact that theology also considers the body should not astonish or surprise anyone who is aware of the mystery and reality of the Incarnation. Theology is that science whose subject is divinity. Through the fact that the Word of God became flesh, the body entered theology through the main door. The Incarnation and the redemption that springs from it became also the definitive source of the sacramentality of marriage...”
Apart from the preparation and evaluation of the family synod in 1980, the Pope aimed also for a deeper anthropological justification of the controversial encyclical “Humanae Vitae” (1958) by Pope Paul VI. The reception of the “theology of the body” is only hesitantly beginning, especially in the German-speaking world, but is gaining momentum through newer literature, training academies and congresses.