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St. Dominic Church to offer course on Theology of the Body
September 26th, 2016
By Valerie Schmalz

No academic experience required – just a desire to learn more – is what’s required for an 18-hour, three-Saturday course on St. John Paul II’s Theology of the Body that begins in October at St. Dominic Church in San Francisco.

The course, “St. John Paul II and the Meaning of Love” taught by author and educator John Hamlon, uses almost entirely original sources, Hamlon said, including some of the philosophers such as Edith Stein who the pontiff drew upon. Two of the three six-hour seminars will be taught at St. Dominic Church on Oct. 15 and Oct. 29 and one will be at St. Cecilia Church on Oct. 22, he said.

The course is free although a free-will offering of $75 per person or $125 for a married or engaged couple is suggested. Coffee and pastries provided each morning, but participants are asked to bring their own lunch.

Theology of the Body infuses many of St. John Paul’s apostolic exhortations and encyclicals, such as the apostolic exhortation “Familiaris Consortio” or “On the Christian Family in the Modern World,” but was first presented by St. John Paul on and off in a series of Wednesday audiences from 1979 to 1984, Hamlon said.

Hamlon says what makes Theology of the Body revolutionary is St. John Paul’s teaching that God created marriage as part of the creation of the world, that it is a “primordial sacrament” that also draws its meaning from the doctrine of the Trinity, which is the community of three persons in one God.

In the past in the Catholic Church, marriage was described as “a natural institution raised to a higher level by Jesus Christ when he took six jars at the wedding at Cana” and turned them into wine. “John Paul II says marriage is a primordial sacrament” damaged by original sin of Adam and Eve and “when sin comes he sends his Son to repair the crack in the engine block,” taking on the sins of humanity “and therefore all of humanity is going to be redeemed,” Hamlon said.

“You have an intellect and will that reflects the spiritual nature of God. St. John Paul II says when one person and another person become man and wife, the communion of persons reflects God more than each one does by self – because God is a community of persons” in the Trinity, Hamlon said.

“He is putting marriage center stage,” Hamlon said.

The course is free but a freewill offering of $75 per person or $125 per married or engaged couple is suggested. The text will be “Man and Woman He Created Them: A Theology of the Body,” Pauline Books & Media, 2006, which costs about $30. Selected readings will be provided free via email to registrants.

Register and/or pay online at or in the St. Dominic parish office. Email or call (415) 377-0873.

From September 29, 2016 issue of Catholic San Francisco.


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