Spirit-ual Bodies: St. John Paul II's Experiential Pneumatology

24 Pages Posted: 27 May 2015

See all articles by Matthew Cavedon

Matthew Cavedon

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Date Written: April 1, 2015


The idea of spirit may seem difficult to consider in a phenomenological era, or at least, for a materialistic and experiential sort of mind. Spirit cannot be weighed, photographed, or dissected. It is not felt in the manner of a cool breeze, or even inwardly like a heartburn. It is in a very real danger of drifting away into abstraction, which for many might as well be total, incomprehensible absence.

This possibility places the Christian theology of the Holy Spirit at risk. Is the third person of the Trinity — unlike the tangible Jesus Christ, or even the all-majestic Father — to become an irrelevance, relegated to a language as far removed from most people’s normal intellectual span as Koine Greek and Aramaic?

St. John Paul II did not think so. His "theology of the body" recovers a vital space for the Holy Spirit and demonstrate how action is the interface through which spirit influences body and vice versa. More radically, the canonized pontiff’s writings show that the sacred future of the body is profoundly relational: Redemption, sanctification, perfection, the infusion of grace, transfiguration, rebirth, and the New Adam are all terms broadly categorized as “spiritualization.” This is a misnomer. Rather, holiness means “Spirit-ualization”: intimate, integral relationship between the embodied person and the Holy Spirit.

Keywords: Holy Spirit, John Paul II, Theology of the Body, sex, Eucharist, Catholic, theology, sanctification, spirituality, phenomenology

Suggested Citation

Cavedon, Matthew, Spirit-ual Bodies: St. John Paul II's Experiential Pneumatology (April 1, 2015). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2610424 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2610424

Matthew Cavedon (Contact Author)

affiliation not provided to SSRN

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