Theology of the Body

What does it mean to be human? What does it mean to be a man? A woman? How can we find happiness?

These are universal human questions. Pope John Paul II addressed these questions in a series of talks that we know as the Theology of the Body. From 1978 to 1983 he delivered to the Church and the world a catechesis that addresses what it means to be human and to be happy: the nature and meaning of love, what it means to be created male and female, the human need for community, the meaning of sexuality, and the complementarity between celibacy and marriage.

In his work, the Holy Father presents the perennial teachings of the Church, but in a new way, one that is more accessible to the modern reader. In essence, he develops the Church’s teaching ‘from the ground up’ — challenging men and women to begin with their own experiences, to look at them deeply, and to learn from them, with the help of Revelation and of the Church, how they are congruent with Church teaching.

The complete papal teaching is available in a new translation by Michael Waldstein, Man and Woman He Created Them: A Theology of the Body, which also has an excellent introduction. It is a dense read, but well worth the effort. You can also read these papal audiences in an earlier translation here.


“Theology of the Body” Resources

Related Books and Church Documents
TOB resource list (2 pages)

* = Particularly Recommended


Essay by Christopher West – Quick Intro to TOB
Fr. Thomas Loya on TOB (Video 1) (Video 2)
TOB Overview / Roger Landry (PDF) (Brief, Outline Format)
JP II’s Theology of the Body Summary
CW Website
Webcasts on TOB
(Periodic Webcasts)

General (All Are Recommended)

Fr Roger Landry – Tons of Good Stuff Here
Theology of the Body International
Theology of the Body
Tabor Life Institute (Speakers and Info on TOB)
Love and Responsibility Foundation – Lots of Great Stuff
One More Soul:  Many TOB and NFP Resources
Culture Project – Great site on chastity


Men and Women are from Eden* / Mary Healy
Called to Love / Carl Anderson and Fr Jose Granados
Men, Women and the Mystery of Love* / Ted Sri (Love and Responsibility Simplified)
Sex and the Sacred City: John Paul II’s Theology of the Body in Simple Language / Sam Torode
Theology of the Body for Beginners / Christopher West
Theology of the Body made Simple / Anthony Percy
Theology of the Body (Simplified) / Vincent Walsh


Fr Richard Hogan – An Excellent Overview*
Theology of the Body (PDF) / Roger Landry (Detailed Outline)
Love and Responsibility – Summary (PDF) (Precursor to TOB)
L & R – Detailed Outline
Cardinal Arinze – Video Clips on TOB
   (YouTube 1)
   (YouTube 2)
   Cardinal Arinze Webcast Theology of the Body on Marriage


Theology of the Body in John Paul II / Richard Hogan*
The Nuptial Mystery / Angelo Cardinal Scola*
Covenant of Love / Richard Hogan and John LeVoir*
Theology of the Body Explained / Christopher West (Detailed)
Naked Without Shame – John Paul II / Edited by Christopher West
Crossing the Threshold of Love / Mary Shivanandan
Love and Responsibility / Karol Wojtyla

Related Topics – Books

Sex and the Marriage Covenant / John Kippley
Why Humanae Vitae was Right / Janet Smith*
Humanae Vitae, 20 years later / Janet Smith
Women, Sex and the Church / Erika Bachiochi (ed)*
The Conjugal Act as a Personal Act / Donald Asci*
The Thrill of the Chaste / Dawn Eden
A Return to Modesty / Wendy Shalit
Toward a Theology of the Body / Mary Prokes
The Virgin Mary and the Theology of the Body / Donald Calloway


The Freedom of the Gift / Anastasia Northrup (Detailed 4-part Study Guide)
The Body Reveals God: A Guided Study Through John Paul II’s “Theology of the Body” / Zeno, Katrino.


Echoes of Worth – excellent Bay Area resource – retreats, study groups and more

Pat Reidy on Teaching TOB to Teens*  –  Two-‘Page’ Essay* – Good Ideas for Teens
You* – updated DVD series on TOB for teens
Theology of Body for Teens Part 1
Theology of Body for Teens Part 2
Theology of the Body for Teens* – Outstanding presentation of Church teaching on chastity, love, sexuality. Challenges teens to look honestly at their own experiences and desire to be loved.
Theology of the Body for Teens – HS – overview
Theology of the Body for Teens – middle school – overview
Theology of the – Tons of Great Resources*


OFWC Media – Many Excellent DVDs*
Ascension Press – Several TOB Presentations, beginning on page 9


Fr Roger Landry CDs – All Excellent.  Examples:
—From Love and Responsibility to the Theology of the Body
—The Redemption of the Body through Life in the Spirit
—The Vision of JP II: 25 Years of Contemplating Christ and Man
Theology of the Body / Fr Brian Mullady, OP (7 CDs)* $35
Glorify God in Your Body / Fr Brian Mullady, OP (for priests, religious)
Naked Without Shame / Christopher West (audio files) 
Naked Without Shame / Christopher West (10 CD set) $35 


Humanae Vitae
Familiaris Consortio
Evangelium Vitae
On the Dignity and Vocation of Women
Veritatis Splendor
Gaudium et Spes
Married Life and the Gift of Love
Truth and Meaning of Human Sexuality: Guidelines for Education within the Family
Donum Vitae
Casti Connubii
Dignitas Personae
Persona Humana