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Theology of the Body Made Simple
Discover John Paul II's radical teaching on sex, love, and the meaning of life
By Rev. Anthony Percy
—Perfect for beginners, ideal for seekers—
Sex matters. Yet even deeper than the urge for sex is the desire for love. More than sexual, we are relational: meant for true and intimate relationship with each other and with God.
Rather than a “casual indoor sport,” sex is sacred. And John Paul II’s radical perspective on how we view life, love, and sexuality can transform our relationships into profound experiences of communion.
This is a simple introduction to the basic premise of Theology of the Body. It explains how our bodies are symbolic, free, meant for love, and redeemed by Christ. It presents unambiguous reasons for the Church’s teaching on premarital sex, contraception, homosexuality, pornography, and more. And it gives reason to hope that the love we crave so deeply is, in fact, promised us by God…from the beginning.
If any of these questions resonate with you, then Theology of the Body Made Simple is the place to begin!
“ Theology of the Body Made Simple is dynamite. Reading it can change your life. An awesome job!” —Adam Morris, Catholic Youth Ministry, Canberra-Goulburn
Rev. Anthony Percy is a priest of the Archdiocese of Canberra-Goulburn, Australia. His doctorate in Sacred Theology is from the John Paul II Institute in Washington, D.C.
Foreword by Professor Kenneth Schmitz, Associate Fellow of the Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies, Toronto, and professor of philosophy, John Paul II Institute and Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C.
Father Anthony Percy has given us a map that marks out guideposts in John Paul II’s Theology of the Body while at the same time he presents us with a plain, clear volume with a value of its own. He has done this by alerting us to the keys that open the first part of the papal text from which the rest of John Paul II’s work follows.
These keys are experiences that, with the light of the faith, are accessible to the deepest part of our lives. They are deepest because they take us back to “the beginning” revealed to us in the Bible’s Book of Genesis. Percy describes them with brevity and a freshness that is original yet faithful to John Paul’s insights, and that can draw us into the heart of the late pope’s thought. These experiences belong to humanity’s beginning, but not exclusively to that time of prehistory, for “with the aid of Revelation” we also recognize them as part of our experience in these latter days.
These pillars of human experience are four and they manifest four fundamental qualities of the human body. I will only name them here and let you, the reader, discover them for yourself in this book. They are all “Originals”: Original Solitude, Original Unity, Original Nakedness and alas!, all too familiar: Original Sin. Father Percy unfolds these, and, with examples and vivid images, gives color to the text in an easy-to-understand, conversational style.
Following from these original experiences are four qualities of the human body. The symbolic quality of the body shows forth the invisible interiority of the person. From this flows an insight into the very nature of language itself and the intimate and gracious presence of words in our communication with each other. It is language rooted in the Word given to us from the Father. The Book of Genesis reveals the other qualities as well: the nuptial character of the body, but also a freedom that is both fallen and then, in Jesus Christ, redeemed, a final quality. These are not simply a condition of the body, but an experience that, through revelation, is at the root of every human experience.
Who would have thought that there could be “new discoveries about the human body” in the third millennium? John Paul II’s profound insights, and Father Percy’s down-to-earth explanation, is enough to invite us to a new sense of what it means to be a human person and a child of God.
Resources for Theology of the Body 11/13/2008