John Paul II canonized as Theology of the Body turns 35

Theology of the Body Institute sponsors International Congress July 9-11 to teach the divine meaning of the body in honor of JPII

PHILADELPHIA, April 10 – Pope John Paul II, the Father of the New Evangelization, challenged the world with his enlightening Theology of the Body 35 years ago. Now, as the Church prepares to canonize him this month, the Theology of the Body Institute will honor him by continuing his work to teach the divine meaning of the body at the International Theology of the Body Congress.

“John Paul II’s vision of the human person – body and soul – is a beautiful synthesis of some of the best theology and philosophy of the past 2,000 years. It answers the deepest yearnings of the human heart,” said Damon Owens, Executive Director of the Theology of the Body Institute.

The Congress, themed “Love, Mercy & the New Evangelization”, will gather top experts and educators to re-ignite evangelical zeal for sharing the true meaning and significance of the body. It will take place July 9-11 at the Sheraton Downtown Hotel in Philadelphia. Experts include Bishop Jean Laffitte, Secretary for the Pontifical Council for the Family, Dr. Janet Smith from Sacred Heart Major Seminary, and Director of the Association for Marian Helpers Fr. Michael Gaitley.

“Through the intercession of John Paul II, we pray the Congress will pave the road for renewed marriages, families, parishes and the whole culture,” said Owens.

Soon-to-be Saint Pope John Paul II embarked on this first major teaching project of his pontificate in 1979, beginning the talks on what would become his Theology of the Body. By helping the Church understand the profound interconnection between sex and the Christian mystery, John Paul’s Theology of the Body enables everyone to rediscover “the meaning of the whole of existence, the meaning of life” (TOB 46:6).

Now, 35 years later, the Theology of the Body Institute still works to ensure that John Paul’s teachings are promoted faithfully and effectively.

“A proper understanding of the body impacts all areas of life. At the heart of the teaching is the recognition that sexuality is a gift, that each human person is a gift, and that no one in any way should be treated as an object. If this teaching were firmly grasped, it would literally change the way you look at the God, others, and yourself,” said Owens. “We want priests, religious, parish educators and lay people to join us as we delve into this rich theology and how it pertains to the new evangelization. The world is starving for this recognition of the human person as gift, and soon to be St. John Paul II has given us this gift in his great work.”

For more information on the Congress, please visit www.TOBcongress.com.