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US Theology of the Body: John Paul II's Catecheses on Human Love

In Upper School Theology of the Body, we will lay the groundwork for understanding John Paul II’s catecheses through learning about who St. John Paul II (Karol Wojtyla) was before he became pope. We will then see how the insights shared through these catecheses were complemented and developed further in the teachings of his successor, Pope Benedict XVI who through the first encyclical of his pontificate, Deus Caritas Est, “wanted to reveal the humanity of faith, of which _eros _is a part; the ‘yes’ of man to his bodiliness created by God, a ‘yes’ that in an indissoluble matrimony between man and woman finds its form rooted in creation” (Address at the Meeting Promoted by the Pontifical Council ‘Cor Unum,’” 23 January 2006).

Together, we will discover the great affirmation of the “flesh” (caro) which Tertullian called “the hinge of salvation” (caro salutis est cardo). The human person exists as the unity of body and soul (corpore et anima unus) and it is in and through the body that the human person is raised with Christ to glory. Theological considerations on embodied human existence have been formative in the Church and will be increasingly necessary so as to have eyes open to see truth, beauty, and goodness in our everyday lives. Through studying the Church’s perennial teaching on the human person and our relations with God and each other, we will learn more about the giftedness of our God given identities. This can help us find our true place and purpose in the world and lead us to the God who loved us into existence.

“‘The flesh is the hinge of salvation’ (Tertullian, De res. 8, 2: PL 2, 852). We believe in God who is creator of the flesh; we believe in the Word made flesh in order to redeem the flesh; we believe in the resurrection of the flesh, the fulfillment of both the creation and the redemption of the flesh.” – The Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 1015

The human body includes right from the beginning…the capacity of expressing love, that love in which the person becomes a gift – and by means of this gift – fulfills the meaning of his being and existence.” – Pope St. John Paul II, Wednesday General Audience, 16 January 1980

“If our body is called to be spiritual, should not its history be that of the covenant between body and spirit? Indeed, far from being opposed to the spirit, the body is the place where the spirit can dwell. In this light it is possible to understand that our bodies are not inert, heavy matter but, if we know how to listen, they speak the language of true love.” – Pope Benedict XVI, Address to Members of the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family, 13 May 2011

Required Materials:
Books and supplies are not included in the purchase of the course.

  • _The Jeweler’s Shop _by Karol Wojtyla (Pope St. John Paul II) Ignatius Press
  • _In the Beginning: A Catholic Understanding of Creation and the Fall _by Joseph Ratzinger (Pope Benedict XVI)
  • Called to Love: Approaching John Paul II’s Theology of the Body by Carl Anderson and José Granados

  • Deus Caritas Est* (God is Love) by Pope Benedict XVI
  • _Gaudium Et Spes (Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World)*, _Pope Paul VI
  • _Catechism of the Catholic Church _(any physical copy; digital versions not permitted)
  • Holy Bible (NABRE [Catholic Edition], Revised Standard Version [Catholic Edition] OR New Revised Standard Version [Catholic Edition]; other Catholic translations may be permitted on a case by case basis. Personal physical copy required; students may not use someone else’s Bible.)

*Students may print out assigned sections from these texts for class from the Vatican online library; digital versions will not be permitted for use during class.

Dr. Joseph Lanzilotti began teaching with Scholé Academy in 2024. He ​h​olds a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree in Theology from the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family​. He has reading proficiencies in Latin, Koine Greek, Spanish, French, and German. His dissertation was written on the significance of the biblical heart in the theology of Joseph Ratzinger/Pope Benedict XVI. Dr. Lanzilotti also holds a Master of Arts degree in Theology from Ave Maria University, a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology with a second major in Philosophy from DeSales University​, and a certification in Health Care Ethics from the National Catholic Bioethics Center.

Dr. Lanzilotti's passion for teaching theology and philosophy grew during his undergraduate years, particularly when he was introduced to the writings of Aristotle, Plato, C.S. Lewis, Saint Thomas Aquinas, and Karol Wojtyła/Pope John Paul II. Dr. Lanzilotti ​has taught at the college, high school, and elementary school levels. He currently teaches high school students at a private classical school​ in the Catholic tradition.

Dr. Lanzilotti ​spent his childhood and adolescence in the rural northwest portion of New Jersey. He has a great love for the outdoors and the natural world. He is a beekeeper and a gardener. He enjoys trail running, swimming, and skiing. He is actively involved in his local Melkite Greek Catholic parish where he serves as a reader and chanter. Dr. Lanzilotti and his wife have a two-year-old son and are expecting their second child. They reside in​ Northern Virginia.

Red checkmarkComputer: You will need a stable, reliable computer, running with a processor with a speed of 1 GHz or better on one of the following operating systems: Mac OS X with Mac OS 10.7 or later; Windows 8, 7, Vista (with SP1 or later), or XP (with SP3 or later). We do not recommend using an iPad or other tablet for joining classes. An inexpensive laptop or netbook would be much better solutions, as they enable you to plug an Ethernet cable directly into your computer. Please note that Chromebooks are allowed but not preferred, as they do not support certain features of the Zoom video conference software such as breakout sessions and annotation, which may be used by our teachers for class activities.

Red checkmarkHigh-Speed Internet Connection: You will also need access to high-speed Internet, preferably accessible via Ethernet cable right into your computer. Using Wi-Fi may work, but will not guarantee you the optimal use of your bandwidth. The faster your Internet, the better. We recommend using a connection with a download/upload speed of 5/1 Mbps or better. You can test your Internet connection here.

Red checkmarkWebcam: You may use an external webcam or one that is built in to the computer. Webcam Recommendations: Good (PC only) | Best (Mac and PC)

Red checkmarkHeadset: We recommend using a headset rather than a built-in microphone and speakers. Using a headset reduces the level of background noise heard by the entire class. Headset Recommendations: USB | 3.5mm

Red checkmarkZoom: We use a web conferencing software called Zoom for our classes, which enables students and teachers to gather from around the globe face to face in real time. Zoom is free to download and easy to use. unnamed-e1455142229376 To download Zoom:

  1. Visit
  2. Click to download the first option listed, Zoom Client for Meetings.
  3. Open and run the installer on your computer.
  4. In August, students will be provided with instructions and a link for joining their particular class.

Red checkmarkScanner: In this class, students frequently submit homework assignments by scanning pages from their workbooks. Students and/or their parents should have easy access to a scanner and the ability to use it.


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