Theology of the Body Experts Gather in Rome

Regina Apostolorum Hosts International Symposium

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By Ann Schneible

ROME, NOV. 11, 2011 ( An international symposium in Rome has gathered experts on Blessed John Paul II’s theology of the body.

The four-day conference at the Regina Apostolorum university concludes Saturday. Its theme is «Love: The Splendor of Gift!»

Keynote speakers have included Doctor Janet Smith, moral theology professor at Sacred Heart Seminary in Detroit Michigan; Christopher West, fellow of the Theology of the Body Institute of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; and Doctor Michael Waldstein, theology professor at the University of Ave Maria in Naples, Florida.

In her talk on the differences in the arguments against contraception in «Love and Responsibility» and theology of the body, Smith examined the way in which Blessed John Paul II incorporated the theological principles of the body in these two works. 

A key theme of her talk was how human sexuality, understood within the context of man being made in the image and likeness of God, can teach man how to more fully understand the relational quality of his human nature.»Man can learn from the make-up of his own body that he is meant to be ‘in loving relationship,'» she said. »The most natural relationship is the spousal relationship, [which is] when two become one flesh.»

The conference commenced on Wednesday with the papal audience.

Christopher West’s presentation this evening, titled «Fill These Hearts: God, Sex and the Universal Longing,» included speech, music and art, with the objective of expressing Blessed John Paul II’s theology of the body through artistic means.

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