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Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Fr Sam Medley speaks to priests on the Theology of the Body

Fr Sam Medley
Fr Sam Medley SOLT spoke to the Association of Priests for the Gospel of Life today on the theology of the Body of Blessed Pope John Paul. He spoke with eloquence and erudition, making for one of those days when you go away knowing more than you did when you arrive (a useful success criterion for priests' Study Days, I think.)

The first lecture looked at the philosophical and theological influences in Blessed Pope John Paul's life, at the structure and principal topics of the Theology of the Body General Audience addresses, and the impact that this development can have in pastoral life. Fr Medley also addressed the concerns that priests have about the presentation of the theology of the body in which inappropriate images are used such as describing the Song of Songs as the "centerfold" of the bible. He made it clear that such images find absolutely no justification in the addresses of Blessed Pope John Paul.

After lunch, the lecture was more personally focussed and looked especially at the way in which the Theology of the Body can help priests to understand celibacy within the plan of God and live it joyfully. One of the priests present (several decades ordained) told me that it was the best presentation of celibacy that he had heard in his life.

Robert Colquhoun gave great assistance in the organisation of the day. Robert blogs at Discover Happiness and has enthusiastically promoted the 40 Days for Life initiative in London. The next 40 days begins on Wednesday 28 September. Priests are always most welcome at the vigils; in God's providence there are often more "turnarounds" when a priest is there quietly praying. If you can find the time and energy, you may be God's instrument to save a life.

I hope to make the text of Father Medley's first lecture available on the internet for you to download. In the meantime, here are a couple of links that he recommended:
NFP and more
Chastity.com

If you wish to study the General Audience addresses in which Pope John Paul elaborated the Theology of the Body, it is best to get Michael Waldstein's critical translation which is published by Pauline Books with the title "Man and Woman He Created Them. A Theology of the Body." The Study Day was held in the new underground hall at St Patrick's, Soho Square. the facilities there are impressive and versatile. It is a good venue for an event like ours but is also used for direct charitable work, providing food for the hungry. The Church is also beautiful after its renovation. I'll do a separate post with some photos.
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