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From the Editors

We’re delighted to welcome Agi Reefman to our list of regular contributors. Agi with her husband Aaron are mentors to the engaged. She also writes a great blog inspired by her study of the Theology of the Body. Don’t know what Theology of the Bogy (TOB) is? Read on to get the shortest summary ever!

In Faith and Love,

Francine & Byron Pirola
Directors | Marriage Resource Centre

Feature Article: The shortest summary of TOB (Theology of the Body) ever!

By new contributor, Agi Reefman

Ok, so I’ll be honest. I don’t actually know if this is the shortest summary ever – I haven’t looked up every single summary of TOB to make sure. But it’s one blog post, which in TOB terms is very, very short.

So here goes, everything you need to know about TOB to know you want to know more…

Image from Waiting for the Word
Please keep in mind such a short summary of TOB is necessarily very simplistic, which TOB is anything but, so if you have any questions about a particular part you need to check out the original source.

What is TOB?

TOB stands for Theology of the Body. That’s the name given to a collection of talks (or more specifically, Wednesday audiences) given by Pope John Paul II between 1979 and 1984. (Actually JPII wrote the talks as a book first and when he told he wasn’t allowed to publish it he broke it up into talks (omitting some talks he thought might be too racey for a general audience) so if you’re reading the most up to date compilation it will include sections that were never publicly spoken).

It’s been named Theology of the Body because it shows how God is revealed through the human body.

What is TOB about?

The purpose of TOB is to explain the meaning and purpose of human sexuality and how to apply it in every day life.

In looking at the purpose and meaning of sexuality JPII examines:

  1. What we were created for – relationship with God and each other.
  2. What happens when sin enters the world – basically why we have so may problems with relationships with God and each other; and
  3. Why we don’t need to settle for less than were were created for, even though sin has changed things. We can strive for true love and real joy! And with the help of Jesus, we can actually reach some measure of that love and joy this side of heaven.

JPII then looks at how we live this vision of love and sexuality as a celibate person, as a married couple, and specifically in relation to openness to life.

What’s the big fuss?

JPII asks us to look at our own experiences and those around us and compare it to what he’s presenting. This makes the whole thing incredibly accessible and incredibly powerful. Instead of giving us a list of dos and don’ts he asks us to look inside and see what it is we really want.

He asks us to look at our own experiences – If a stranger walked in on you in a shower block, would you cover up? Do you want to feel loved and looked upon with dignity? Do you ever feel used after sex? Do you think you should feel that way or is sex supposed to be more than that? Do you ever feel lonely? Do you wish you could share your life with someone?

The difference it makes

TOB explores some big ideas that will change the way you look at your life, like:

  1. You are made in the image of God who is love – this means you’re made to love
  2. You are made for relationship with God and others
  3. You are designed to make a gift of yourself to others
  4. We speak with our bodies, and so what we do with our bodies not only matters but communicates profoundly.

Is it a new teaching of the Church?

No. It’s not a new teaching, but it is a different way of understanding what the Church has always said. Church teaching grows and develops. This is one of those developments.

Check out more on TOB if you want:

  • answers to questions like  – “what am I created for”?
  • relationships that don’t end in tears, depression, and a bucket of ice cream
  • a marriage that lasts
  • friendships that are true and lasting
  • to understand your calling in life
  • to be a better wife, mother, husband or father
  • to understand single life
  • a sex life that’s fulfilling and free from worry

Where do I get more information?

Check out the resources page of my website.


Next time someone asks, “What’s Theology of the Body anyway?” You can tell ‘em! Or just send them here. And I hope you find that past and future blog posts show just how beautiful and freeing this view of human sexuality really is.

– See more at:


The most recent addition to our series of resources in support of marriage is the BreakThrough Workshop. Focussed on debunking myths about marriage and providing information helpful to those in stressed or ‘gridlocked’ marriages, the three hour workshop has been successful in its purpose. We have been delighted to receive overwhelming responses from participants on the content and practical strategies provided.

If you would like to host an event in their parish or would like further information, you can call our office on 02 9319 6280.

Ron and Kathy

For the first time, international presenters Ron and Kathy Feher of Philadelphia are coming to Melbourne to present a Living In Love weekend THIS MONTH in Vermont on May 24 & 25

Ron and Kathy have been joyfully married for 44 years and are the parents of 10 children. For the past 39 years, they have seriously and prayerfully reflected on, and intentionally tried to live out the full vision of the Sacrament of Matrimony in the church.

This is a weekend you won’t want to miss! Secure your place NOW by contacting Rachel on 03 9800 0851 or email [email protected] 

From the blog

Video: My Beautiful Woman | An incridible display of love…a must see video!

Three Magic Words | The three words Pope Francis encouraged 20,000 engaged couples to use in their journey as husband and wife.

Singing Priest Rocks WeddingIrish priest Rev. Ray Kelly has ignited a social media storm with his surprise cover at a wedding earlier this month!

For Better is Important too | Research from the positive psychology field has demonstrated that the way spouses respond to positive events is possibly even more important to marital satisfaction than how they respond in tough times…

Sex: for pleasure or life-giving love? | The cultural view of sex is that it’s just a recreational activity which means other duties take priority over love making. However, sex is so much more than ‘just another thing to do’ – it is a type of communication.

Movie Marriages | Can movie marriages help real life couples with their relationships? A recent study says yes!

Natural Fertility – The Vision | Unlike secular marriage, Catholic couples are called to a radical lifestyle of total self-giving to each other; a lifestyle that goes against many of the expectations of our contemporary society…

Intentional Intercourse | All couples need to find creative ways of dealing with the inevitable periods of abstinence. Some couples use times of planned abstinence for non-genital ways of expressing their love and passion for each other, focusing on emotional and verbal intimacy.

Weekly Podcast by Francine & Byron Pirola

Tune in to Wollongong’s weekly Catholic radio show, The Journey on Pulse 94.1FM every Sunday from 11am, to hear a variety of Catholic speakers including Fran & Byron Pirola.

Or, listen to their individual 2 minute podcasts for their bite sized pieces of weekly wisdom.

To get all the SmartLoving Blog posts, follow us below, or sign up for the Free eBook to join our mailing list: here

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Featured Resource: The Genius Project


A four-part DVD resource with personal and group study guides, the Genius Project extends a life-changing invitation to every woman. Based upon Pope John Paul II’s teaching of the feminine genius. It’s an invitation to embark on a journey of discovery, a journey into the deeper meaning of your existence and your purpose in life:

Thinking of a gift for your friends or family?

Whether they’re celebrating an anniversary or getting engaged, our gift vouchers are a perfect experience they’re sure to love!

Take advantage of this years sale price of the Marriage Seminar at only $125 for a weekend event (includes meals). Purchase : here

The SmartLoving Engaged course is valued at $275. It’s the perfect engagement or wedding gift that will be used for the rest of their married lives. Purchase : here

SmartLoving @ Home

A series of DIY sessions you can use at home or in a small group. For less than the cost of a cup of coffee, you can download the file at the time of purchase and use the material on your computer, mobile device or make a print copy.

SL@Home Grateful

Grateful | When gratitude is present in a marriage, the couple’s good humour and welcoming generosity make their homes places of hospitality and warmth for all their visitors.

Responsible Honesty | It’s more than not telling lies; in marriage it requires an willingness to share deeply and vulnerably.

Sexuality as Gift | Learning to appreciate our sexuality and build the sexual atmosphere between us.

The Ambitious Couple | What is the role of ambition in marriage?

Hear Me Know Me | It is often said that we cannot love what we do not know.

CathFamily eMagazine

The Feminine Genius
May 2014 | The Feminine Genius 
A Special feature for the month of Mary and Mother’s Day.

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