Anyone who argues that religious people have low IQs haven’t read anything from our current Pope Benedict XVI or his predecessor John Paul II. When I had newly discovered my faith I attempted to read Benedict’s Jesus of Nazareth, I got through it, but the one thing I took from it was boy there is A LOT of stuff I don’t know about my faith and secondly, that the Catholic Church has some super higher level thinking going on.
I have also attempted to read Pope John Paul’s more popular work Theology of the Body, but I failed miserably and settled for the much easier read Theology of the Body for Beginners by Christopher West. This work though always fascinated me because it actually “explained” the why about human sexuality, rather than the usual rule book. This positive approach to human sexuality, I can’t help but think, would have been a better alternative than the “you will get pregnant and die” threats that I got in high school religion classes.
Despite all the great supplementary works on Theology of the Body present in our world today, I still always wanted to actually read it for myself. So currently I have enrolled in a university like course, where I will not only be reading the original book, but will be getting help along the way. Thank God for that, since I am 60 pages in and struggling to make sense of it all. Hopefully, my second time around I will make it through, I certainly have the desire to actually read it, and now I have additional pressures, because my school paid for the course!
For those unfamiliar with the Theology of the Body, it is a series of talks that Pope John Paul II gave to his Wednesday audiences between the 1979-1984. These reflections centred on the meaning of the human body and human sexuality. It has, in recent years, become increasingly popular. Catholic theologian George Wiegel describes this work as “one of the boldest reconfigurations of Catholic theology in centuries…a kind of theological time bomb set to go off with dramatic consequences…perhaps in the 21st century.” Judging by the increased interest in not only parishes but the educational system, I’d say that the bomb has gone off.