I'm going to emphasize here some of the main points JP2 makes in summing up these sometimes abstruse and difficult talks.
- He notes at one point that the term "Theology of the Body" is a "working term", and he says that while these lectures focused on "the redemption of the body and the sacramentality of marriage," he was presenting only a portion of the full Theology of the Body. What he was leaving out in focusing on the significance of the body from the point of view of sex and marriage was "the problem of suffering and death, so important in the biblical message".
(Perhaps young eager theologians can get to work on that side of the Theology of the Body).
But while he was not touching upon the body's experience of suffering and death, he was placing "the redemption of the body and the sacramentality of marriage" in the context of the cross - of discipline and self-denial. Indeed, though it may surprise fans of the hyper-sexual misreading of the Theology of the Body as peddled by Christopher West and the Westians, all of JP2's lectures are, in some sense, a commentary on Paul VI's encyclical Humanae Vitae.
In a certain sense we can even say that all the reflections that deal with the redemption of the body and the sacramentality of marriage seem to constitute an ample commentary on the doctrine contained in the Encyclical Humanae Vitae.
The Wednesday Audiences, then, are ultimately about the virtue of chastity and mutual self-sacrifice within marriage. Who would have thunk it?
It's not about staring at naked ladies who aren't your wife because you have "mature purity". It's not about you yourself being naked without shame. It's not about the Paschal Candle as a phallic symbol. It's not about staring at Our Lady's breasts. It's not about sexual desire somehow being a desire for God. It's not about the great deed of West's hero pornographer Hugh Hefner. It's about the following .(take a deep breath, but this is my attempt to distill over 300 pages of material) ...
- From the moment of the creation of man, our bodies (male and female) point toward the communion of persons: which is a love that is both unitive and procreative, establishing the life of the family. Christ emphasized this in his teachings on marriage, and the redemption of the Body made manifest by His incarnation, death and resurrection. St. Paul expands upon the mystery as analogous to the Second Coming, and the Old Testament affirms in many ways this "theology" that the body itself, by its very design and by the longing of our hearts, conveys. The body is both a reality and a sign that points toward a coming reality that is not yet fully present. We are called to re-read and understand anew the language of this sign, a language built into the body at creation and made perfect in redemption. And while in the life to come, communion of persons is achieved and expressed through a virginal purity, in this life communion of persons finds its perfect fulfillment on earth in the sacrament of Matrimony. Within this sacrament, and by the grace of God conveyed through prayer and by means of the other sacraments (especially the Eucharist and Confession) the married coupled are called to dominate concupiscence (i.e. lust and the tendency to lust), which is the one major thing that stands in the way of the very end for which God has designed husband and wife, male and female. In seeking to dominate and overcome concupiscence, the married couple struggle with periodic continence from the marital act, not merely for biological reasons ("responsible parenting"), but also for deeply spiritual reasons; for chasitity is a fruit of the Holy Spirit and is the sine qua non for honoring the dignity of your spouse and the mutual gift of a life of love.
That's it in a nutshell. But that doesn't sell the way pop music and titillation in the sanctuary sells.