This is our catalog of courses. We will occasionally adjust the course listing to reflect the addition of new courses and the retirement of others.
Join this Theology of the Body (TOB) course where your student learns from a leading expert on John Paul II’s teaching on humanity, gender, marital love, and more. With an in-depth study of scripture and Church documents. Please read the outline below for an in-depth understanding of the course topics.
With a special focus on St. John Paul II’s Theology of the Body (his scriptural reflections on the meaning of the human person, sexuality, and marital love), this course will lay the foundations for an authentic, philosophically rich and theologically clear understanding of our identity as “made in the image of God” and the vocations in which we live out our identity (sacramental marriage and consecrated celibacy). Through an in-depth study of Sacred Scripture, key Church documents, and contemporary works of music and film, the student will discern God’s original plan for marriage “from the beginning” and discover the redemptive vision of the Church for marriage and human relationships today.
Week 1: I Am Fearfully, Wonderfully Made: The Human Person in the Divine Plan
We will look at the creation story in Genesis, addressing the beauty and dignity of the human person in God’s design. Topics include Psalm 8, Psalm 139, Psalm 131, Matthew 6:26… The art and imagination of God the Creator, the Hierarchy of Being, the person as body/soul composite, and crown of creation. Documents referenced will include St. John Paul II’s Letter to Families and TOB catechesis, and Pope Benedict’s teaching on Genesis, among others.
Week 2: Back to the Beginning: The Genesis of Gender
We will discuss the present cultural confusion over human identity and sexuality; specifically the gender ideologies as problematic as they are detached from the reality of the body and the truth of the person as an incarnate being. We will reference dualism, the cartesian influence in a philosophy of the human person today, then St. John Paul II’s TOB catechesis as a “homecoming” to the human person as an “embodied” reality. We will reference Popes Francis and Benedict’s teaching on gender, among other sources.
Week 3: Into the Deep: Exploring Eden’s Original Experiences
We will apply the teaching of St. John Paul II on “original man” and the original experiences in Eden as a template for the person today. The importance of solitude, unity, and the meaning of original nakedness in St. John Paul II’s thought, self-awareness, self-determination, communion of persons, the spousal meaning of the body and their significance for the present culture will be addressed.
Week 4: Eden’s Original Experiences Continued
We continue to reflect on the importance of solitude, unity, and the meaning of original nakedness in St. John Paul II’s thought. The communion of persons and the spousal meaning of the body and their significance for the present culture will be addressed.
Week 5: The Battlefield of the Heart: Lust and True Purity of Heart
We will apply the teaching of St. John Paul II on “historical man” and the fallen experiences of men and women today. The objectification of the body, the loss of the dignity of the human person in culture, the relationship of eros and agape, chastity, passion, personal integrity, and mercy and forgiveness will be addressed.
Week 6: The Redemption of the Body: Heaven and the Human Heart
We will discuss the definition of eros and the importance of it being properly directed in a fallen world.
Week 7: The Redemption of the Body: Heaven and the Human Heart Part 2
We will continue to discuss the definition of eros and ethos and the importance a proper integration in the life of a believer.
Week 8: The Heavenly Marriage I am Called to Embody on Earth
We will unpack the rich insights of St. John Paul II on the experience and anticipation of the human person for the eschaton, Heaven, and its application to life here and now. How does our orientation towards Heaven shed light on our path today?
Week 9: The Heavenly Marriage I am Called to Embody on Earth Part 2
We will reflect on the powerful new perspective on the gift and call to celibacy for the Kingdom in the TOB, finding the fuller meaning of masculinity and femininity, fatherhood and motherhood through an encounter with the spousal truth and meaning of the body as male and female.
Week 10: The Vocations: Schools of Spousal Love
We will discuss the powerful connections between the prophetic character and words spoken by the language of the body with the language of the Liturgy and the Eucharistic Mysteries.
Week 11: The Vocations: Schools of Spousal Love Part 2
We will address the issue and history of contraception and abortion in light of all we’ve learned about the theology of the body..
Week 12: The Beautiful Mess of the Family
Week 13: Addressing LGBTQ+ Questions Part Two
We will consider the work of evangelization and explanation in the light of the times young people are living in. We will discuss how to live the truth in love, and to show mercy and compassion without compromising the truth.
Week 14: Roundtable Closing Class, The Digital Revolution and Evangelizing with TOB
We will address how modern man has everything at his fingertips but little seems to be affecting or transforming the heart. We live in the most technologically advanced society in human history, with answers at the tips of our fingers and ways to communicate instantly with anyone anywhere. But with all of these ways to communicate, we still seem so far from real communion. We will explore how a knowledge of the theology of our bodies can return us to truly life-giving connections with others that will reawaken wonder. We will discuss takeaways from the course and ways to implement the pope’s theology of the body as a young person today.
Course Materials: “Men and Women are from Eden” by Mary Healy, ISBN-10: 0867167009 or ISBN-13: 978-0867167009 (https://amzn.to/38fKlq6)
Homework: Weekly reading and assessment questions. Journal entries and other assessments.