Students seek meaning of body

James Ahrens

Pope John Paul II gave 129 weekly speeches on the issue of theology and the body while he was head of the Catholic Church. The Catholic Campus Center at Washburn University is offering a class every Wednesday-the same day the pontiff offered his lecture, called Theology of the Body. The CCC is never going to make it 129 weeks due to the fact that the class, Theology and the Body, is only an eight week program, but the idea is still there.

Patti Lyon, of the Catholic Campus Center said it wasn’t necessary to be Catholic to participate in the program, you just have to be looking for meaning.

“We all have a body, we’re all looking for meaning and how to put the two together,” said Lyon.

Pope John Paul II began talking on Sept. 5th, 1979, on the meaning of body, life and how the two fit together. Lyon enjoys complementing the ideas of a major religious leader that many people would consider conservative with the views of a liberal status symbol. Lyon gave the quote from Hugh Hefner.

“I started Playboy magazine as a response to the hurt and hypocrisy of our Puritan heritage.”

Lyon made a point that she doesn’t necessarily support Hefner’s lifestyle as the Playboy mogul, or his choices sexually, but that his stance shows a different aspect of existence in a system where what she calls ‘Puritan beliefs’ have sexuality. Theology of the Body is a teaching tool in the form of both a forum and lecture.

“The Catholic church believes that the human body is a healthy thing. We don’t look at sex as a negative thing but we understand where our Puritan heritage has negatively affected our understanding of our body…the beauty of sexuality, and the ‘sexual revolution’ – what negative impact it has had on our culture,” said Lyon. She continues with the inherent question anyone wants to know before paying $10 for the class.

“Why is it significant? The reason this is so significant and should be significant to the students at Washburn is because they are our future leaders,” said Lyon.

The class is being facilitated by third year law student Moises Barraza. Each class will run approximately an hour (scheduled from 6:30 p.m. -7:30 p.m. in the Blair room of the LLC). The class started Sept. 9 and continues for eight weeks, skipping one the week that falls directly before fall break.

“I was very impressed that…people started talking about Theology of the Body,” said Barraza.

He was amazed at how students were able to turn the teachings of one person into discussion. Barraza mentioned after viewing one DVD the class was able to discuss the body openly and freely as if it had never happened…

“Literally from there the discussion probably went 45 minutes, so I was extremely happy. So just to see that it’s really something that interests people because it’s probably, without saying the most important, kind of like… a life issue for a college-age student,” said Barraza.

“Theology of the Body is just recently, I think, starting to spread like wild-fire,” said Barraza. Barazza gave the example of Texas A&M, where something akin to five groups of 20 students have gathered, starting from zero last year.

“Within the context of sexual love, the theology of the body affords rediscovering the whole of existence of the meaning of life. Therefore, theology of the body demands self-education,” said Pope John Paul II.

The wild-fire is spreading. Join the CCC in the Blair room for the next six Wednesdays in the program Theology of the Body and learn some of your own self-education.