Our culture continues to struggle with important existential questions like, “What does it mean to be human?” and “What is my purpose?” Pro-lifers of any faith or no faith at all can see the consequences of failing to answer, or incorrectly answering, these fundamental questions.
One common answer to what determines humanity is the “might makes right” mentality, which in many cases is used to justify abortion by denying the humanity of the preborn child, setting up a false dichotomy that pits the mother against her preborn child in a zero-sum game of “rights.” Then, too, a deeply entrenched societal belief pathologizes women’s fertility, framing the intricacy of the female body’s cyclical hormonal changes and her unique capacity to bear human life as a form of biological slavery. From this view — that women’s fertility is a liability — flows the understanding that children are a burden and an obstacle to their parents’ personal, professional, financial or other fulfillment.
From May 8-10, over 80 speakers at the Theology of the Body virtual conference will share a contrasting worldview — namely, the late St. Pope John Paul II’s insights into the ways that our male or female bodies show us the meaning of our existence according to God’s marvelous design. These insights were originally shared through a series of lectures given during his weekly public audiences in Rome between 1979 and 1984 and collectively titled, “the theology of the body.” Far from an “Eat, Pray, Love”-type mentality that encourages individuals to “find” themselves by leaving friends or family behind for a jet-setting quest for self-discovery, the “theology of the body” teaches that all humans find themselves and the meaning of their existence through self-gift, a gift of self to others — and furthermore, that our physical bodies are theological because “in understanding them, we understand God.”
John Paul himself said “The body, and, in fact, only the body is capable of making visible the invisible: the spiritual and the divine” (TOB 19:4) Far from viewing women’s bodies as a liability, the Theology of the Body presented authentically body-positive messaging before it was “cool,” understanding every human person, body and soul, to be good, made by Love Himself and for love.
During the conference, a veritable “who’s who” of internationally renowned experts will unpack various aspects of John Paul’s teachings as they relate to human sexuality, human dignity, and much more. The conference will be hosted by the Theology of the Body Institute, a nonprofit seeking “To help men and women realize how their bodies, along with all of creation, proclaim, reveal, and invite them to participate in the fulfillment of their deepest longings.” According to the conference website, its goal is to show how the “Theology of the Body provides a road map to the fulfillment, peace, hope and joy for which we are made.”
All talks will be accessible for free during the conference by those who register at the website, and a premium pass will grant access for those unable to tune in during the weekend.
Click here to register.
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