FAQs

A comprehensive FAQ document is available as a pdf download. Please click here to view the free download.

1. What is the Theology of the Body?

2. What is the Theology of the Body for Teens program?

3. Is this something that will really interest teens and pre-teens?

4. Why do teens and pre-teens need the Theology of the Body?

5. What setting is this curriculum designed for?

6. How does Theology of the Body for Teens handle sensitive issues?

7. Is there a parental component to the Theology of the Body for Teens?

8. What is the length of each lesson?

9. Is the content difficult to teach?

10. Does Theology of the Body for Teens have the Imprimatur? Is it approved by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB)?

11. Can this material be used in a retreat format?

12. Can Theology of the Body for Teens replace a sexual morality or chastity program?

13. Does one need to be trained to teach this curriculum?

 

1. What is the Theology of the Body?

The Theology of the Body refers to the series of 129 lectures given by Pope John Paul II during his Wednesday audiences in Rome between September 1979 and November 1984. These addresses were later compiled and published as a single work entitled The Theology of the Body According to John Paul II (now called Male and Female He Created Them). The Theology of the Body covers such topics as the bodily dimension of the human person, the nature of human sexuality, the human need for communion, and the nature of marriage.
 
The Theology of the Body is an articulation of the faith that is intended to enrich the lives of all people. Commentator Emily Stimpson describes it in this way:
“The Theology of the Body is more than an exposition of the Church’s teachings on human sexuality. It is, in fact, the Catholic sacramental worldview, understood, structured, and articulated for a culture plagued by a diseased understanding of man. When properly understood and truly lived, that worldview has the power to transform the way men and women understand their bodies and their souls, their masculinity and femininity, their vocation in this life, and their destiny in the next” (Franciscan Way, Autumn 2007).
 
2. What is the Theology of the Body for Teens program?
 
The Theology of the Body for Teens is the first published curriculum which applies the Theology of the Body to the lives of teen and pre-teens.  The High School and Middle School Editions specifically address questions relating to chastity and sexuality in the lives of students.  It is a multifaceted, segmented program that can be used in a variety of different contexts.
 
3. Is this something that will really interest teens and pre-teens?
 
Absolutely! Many teens and pre-teens do not understand their sexuality, let alone their purpose in life, yet they have a strong desire to do so. The Theology of the Body speaks to the deepest meaning of why they were created, the purpose of love and sexuality, and the meaning of life.
 
Not only will teens and pre-teens be interested in the Theology of the Body, they crave it—even though they may not know it at a cognitive level. Teens and pre-teens are yearning for answers to life’s deepest questions, as well as a positive portrayal of their sexuality. John Paul II’s vision for the meaning of our bodies and our sexual desires is a topic that will connect with teens and pre-teens in a way that speaks to the deepest desires of their hearts.
 
4. Why do teens and pre-teens need the Theology of the Body?
 
Human beings were made for greatness. We were made to know God, know truth, and live life in a way that brings us peace and happiness. These pursuits, though, are hard to come by in today’s distracting and permissive culture. As a result, it is perhaps harder to live as a teen or pre-teen today than at any other time. The wounds our teens and pre-teens experience are deep and manifold.
 
Today’s teens and pre-teens are starving for real love; they are looking for meaningful and lasting relationships. They have witnessed firsthand the pain of divorce and seen how permissive sex plays out in their own lives and the lives of those around them. Due to our culture’s focus on immediate gratification, many teens and pre-teens have lost their way, and in the process, have lost hope. The Theology of the Body will help restore their hope because it reveals for them a road map to real love and authentic happiness.
 
5. What setting is this curriculum designed for?
 
Theology of the Body for Teens works anywhere teens and pre-teens meet. It can be used in a classroom, a youth group, a CCD program, homeschool study or as an after-school program.
 
6. How does Theology of the Body for Teens handle sensitive issues?
 
Our curriculum is faithful to the language of John Paul II’s original lectures. As such, it presents the Church’s teachings human sexuality using specific—but never overly explicit or graphic—language. Therefore, we believe that its content is appropriate for the maturity level of the average Catholic teen and pre-teen.  This curriculum presents Catholic teaching on topics such as homosexuality, masturbation, pornography, contraception, and others, always with great pastoral sensitivity. Since most Catholic teens and pre-teens are aware of such issues in today’s culture, we thought it was important to address them.
 
7. Is there a parental component to the Theology of the Body for Teens?
 
Yes. The Parent’s Guide serves as an excellent and informative overview of the Theology of the Body for Teens curriculum. While it has been specifically written for parents of teens and pre-teens participating in the programs, it can be used by any parent wishing to learn more about the Theology of the Body and pass it onto their teen or pre-teen. It includes summaries of each of the chapters contained in the Student Workbook for that Edition; a basic intro to the Theology of the Body; study questions for parents to discuss with their teens and pre-teens; and family applications to help create and foster a Theology of the Body culture in the home. There is also a Parent Overview segment included in the Theology of the Body for Teens DVD series.
 
8. What is the length of each lesson?
 
Each chapter in both Editions of the Theology of the Body for Teens can be presented in a variety of time formats. The length of the lesson will depend upon the time you spend in discussion, activities, outside reading, and the needs of the class. Ascension Press has produced a free Guide to the Leader’s Guide, which provides four different schema for 60, 75, 90, and 120-minute class scenarios. This resource is available for free at www.TOBforTeens.com.
 
9. Is the content difficult to teach?
 
Although the content of the program is very rich, it is presented in a manner so that most High School or Middle School religion teachers and youth ministers can understand and teach it without much difficulty. The Leader’s Guide to each Edition provides helpful teaching tips and discussion questions for each topic, and the DVD series provides an invaluable overview and introduction to each of the chapters to further facilitate the learning experience.
 
10. Does Theology of the Body for Teens have the Imprimatur? Is it approved by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB)?
 
The Leader’s Guide and Student Workbook for the High School Edition have been granted the Imprimatur by Justin Cardinal Rigali, Archbishop of Philadelphia.
 
The Leader's Guide and Student Workbook for the Middle School Edition have been granted the Imprimatur by Archbishop Gregory Aymond, Archbishop of New Orleans.
 
The USCCB’s Ad Hoc Committee for Conformity of Catechetical Materials with the Catechism of the Catholic Church has reviewed Theology of the Body for Teens and determined that, because it is a supplemental program, Theology of the Body for Teens neither requires nor can it receive a formal review from the Committee.
 
To ensure fidelity to the teachings of John Paul II, the program has been carefully reviewed by theologians and experts in the Theology of the Body, including Dr. Mary Healy, Mary Beth Bonacci, M.A., Christopher West, M.T.S., Fr. Walter Schu, LC, Ph.D, and Katrina Zeno, M.A.
 
11. Can this material be used in a retreat format?
 
Yes. Using the Leader’s Guide, Student Workbook and DVD set, the Theology of the Body for Teens: High School Edition authors have developed an easy to follow weekend Retreat Guide that is currently available as a free download.  A Retreat Guide is coming soon from the authors of the Middle School Edition.  Visit www.TOBforTeens.com to download the Retreat Guide.
 
12. Can Theology of the Body for Teens replace a sexual morality or chastity program?
 
Absolutely. This program speaks to the heart of what sexual morality and chastity programs are based upon. The Theology of the Body brings a greater understanding of love, relationships, and the basic meaning of life, so that teens and pre-teens are able to appreciate the sexual virtue of chastity, and therefore live it in a more profound and meaningful way.
 
13. Does one need to be trained to teach this curriculum?
 
Although the content was written in an intuitive manner, and most educated theology teachers and youth ministers will be able to understand and pass it on, receiving training in this curriculum will be beneficial for every presenter. Teachers and authors of the program offer full-day Trainings in both High School and Middle School Editions for religious educators.  Visit www.TOBforTeens.com for more details about these Training Sessions.
 
Beyond the Training Sessions, the Theology of the Body for Teens DVD series provides excellent instruction and commentary from the authors on every chapter for each Edition. The DVD series is an excellent tool for any educator who wants to become more familiar with Theology of the Body for Teens. Furthermore, the Parents’ Information segment of the DVD series provides a great introduction to the program for parents who want to know more about it as well.
 
Your teens and pre-teens will undoubtedly have many questions about the material, as it will engage and inform them. You will want to be as prepared as possible to give them the answers to these questions that they desperately seek. There are many difficult questions and issues that arise when discussing human sexuality. While training is not essential, it is a great asset and resource when preparing to teach this material.