The Theology of the Body as Realized Eschatology

9 05 2009


Incarnation, Desire, and the Rise of Pop Catholicism

Trying to write an extended critique of Pope John Paul II’s theology of the body is like hitting a Jello Mold with a sledge hammer. After long hours of reflection, study, and yes, reading the original text carefully and openly, I some time ago concluded, to paraphrase Gertrude Stein, that there is no there there. In its original form, one sees the summit of Wojtyla’s muddledness: swimming in the outdated phenomenology of early last century, he seeks to wow the reader with an unconvincing prose from which anything, from the sober reflections of neo-scholastics, to the ravings of hip “TOB” apologists, can spring. Some can say it is a continuation of Aquinas’ “turn to matter” against “Augustinian” Platonism, others can say that it is completely revolutionary, overturning the old fuddy-duddy, sexual prudishness of the pre-Vatican II church. Some say it helps them in their married life, others say it helps them their consecrated religious life. Still others use it as a banner against the broad, “anti-human” tendencies of modern-day society. Such an ideology is either what its advocates say it is, a “theological time bomb” set to go off some time this century, or it is a bunch of hot air. I have concluded the latter, and I will explain why.
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