Catechesis on Human Love

Catechesis on Human Love

JPI 554/764
3 Credits

This course examines John Paul II’s Man and Woman He Created Them: A Theology of the Body through a sequential reading of the text and a discussion of its scriptural, theological, and philosophical methodology. The course seeks to elucidate the spousal meaning of the body as it is revealed by Christ. Christ reveals this spousal meaning through his deepening of the historical condition of married love in two directions: towards the beginning, when Christ confirms marriage’s absolute indissolubility (Mt 19:3-9), and towards the eschaton, when he states that man and woman “neither marry nor are given in marriage” (Mt 22:30). According to John Paul II, the beginning consists of three original experiences (solitude, unity, and nakedness) to which we have a certain access in our fallen condition. The eschaton, on the other hand, reveals the final virginal form of the spousal meaning of the body. Both the virginal state and the sacramental economy offer men and women a certain participation in the final form of love revealed by Christ. Christ further reveals the spousal meaning of the body, and hence of human existence, through the sacrificial gift of himself for the Church on the Cross. This redemptive act that brings man the gift of divine sonship is, at the same time, a nuptial act: the forgiveness of man’s sins is at the service of the nuptial union of the Church, the immaculate Bride, with Christ, the Bridegroom. Participating in a real and sacramental way in Christ’s love for the Church, the sacrament of marriage acquires a depth that both transforms and super-abundantly confirms natural marriage and the created order. This participation in Christ’s total, indissoluble, and fruitful love grounds the adequate anthropology that, according to John Paul II, undergirds Humanae vitae’s defense of the inseparability of the unitive and procreative dimensions of the conjugal embrace as well as the Christian understanding of the goods of marriage.

Selected Texts


Nicholas Healy portrait

Nicholas Healy

Associate Professor of Philosophy and Culture
M.T.S. Program Advisor

Dr. Healy teaches and writes in the area of metaphysics, theological anthropology, and sacramental theology. Since 2002 he has served as an editor of the North American edition of Communio: International Catholic Review. He is a founding member of the Academy of Catholic Theology.

Learn More