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Full Version: Christopher West Thanks and Responds to his critics
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(10-24-2009, 08:00 PM)Walty Wrote: [ -> ]I'm not saying that this is your issue with it, but I honestly think that many trads don't like it because they assume it doesn't follow with the traditions of the Church.  It does, in fact, do just that.  It simply expands upon what the Church has always taught about man's relationship with God and among one another. 

There is no real "it" to TOB.  It is the thought of one man, not the Church.  You are stating that he expands upon what the Church has always taught about Man's relationship with God and among one another.  The problem is JPII makes a lot of assertions and doesn't prove them.  When reading it, you are just supposed to by into it unquestioningly.  He talks about things that are "certain" and "necessary" and never proves that they are "certain" or "necessary" and in some cases he never clarifies what is certain except some concept.  

Quote: When I say that it is deep and thorough I mean to say that it is truly a work of theology and philosophy.  It is a scholarly work that digs deep into the Church's teaching on not only sex, but the nature of relationships and how that applies to God and Man. 

How is it a work of theology and philosophy?  

Quote:I would invite those who think that it is espousing anything new, novel, or biased to JPII to name exactly what teachings of TOB they find are so. 

As I've pointed out before, the idea of recapturing "original innocence" is not only new and novel, but it is ridiculous because it assumes that we are not inferior to Adam and Eve in their original innocence.  

Quote: When you say that you doubt JPII understood if, do you really, seriously mean that? 

Yes.  I believe there is a strong possibility that JPII did not have a firm grasp of reality due to the times he was brought up in.  He was philosophically modern and viewed nothing as solid.  Fr. Malachi Martin viewed his brand of phenomenology as an attempt to reconcile Heidigger and others into a Catholic framework and what came out was a shadowy clawing at relationships that had no sure foundation in metaphysics.  The consequences of that affect his ideas of sin, grace, the Real Presence etc.


Quote:You think that JPII just wrote this long document to sound smart even though he had no idea what he even meant?  I mean, those are the kinds of claims that are frustrating when dealing with traditionalism and TOB.

I think it was some of that.  Tielhard de Chardin didn't know what he was talking about.  He made unprovable assertions, developed an undefined vocabulary and wrapped it up in charisma and passion in order to influence people.  Rahner dismantled Catholic understanding of human nature and reconstructed in the "Supernatural Existential" a principal that is all happy and sunshiney about God's love for us and our wonderfulness because of it.  It implicitly denies the Fall and original sin and that can only lead to the denial of the Redemption.  JPII seems to have at least been influenced by this in his obsession with Man's understanding of Himself and his constant talk of Mankind everywhere being affected in his nature by the Incarnation.  

Quote:I don't want to say that people just don't understand it, but I fear that that is a lot of the issue here.  A lot of the objections are that it is too wordy or ambiguous.  I disagree.  I have read much of it and found it quite clear and understandable. 

Can you cite an example of some part that people find wordy and ambiguous that you find clear and understandable?  

Quote: This would lead me to think that some, unfortunately, don't understand and make assumptions. 

I tend to think that some people find the poetic aspects inspiring but don't ask whether it objectively holds together.  They wish it would hold together and so they don't question it.

Quote:I also do not find anything novel or antithetical to previous Church teaching in this document. 

There are problems implicit with it.  Do you not see the wavering on the literal events in Genesis by the heavy emphasis on symbolism and grand statements about Mankind?  

Quote: The lack of anyone whom I have ever spoken with on here to provide any concrete ideas or themes to the contrary, again, makes me think that people genuinely don't understand the document in part or whole.

What would you say are the concrete themes of TOB?  That sex is a "gift" of oneself?  The Traditional teaching is that the spouse has dominion over the other, the gift is given once in totality at the Marriage.  The sex is a "marital debt" and part of the consolation for the difficulties of life shared together.  "Adjumentum" is what it's called.


Quote:JPII's account of Genesis in TOB never states that Genesis is purely metaphorical.

Yet he never states that it was a historical fact when explaining it's "meaning."  

Quote: It does talk about man and the position that Adam found himself in.

And he's inconsistent in discussing it.  Did Adam find himself in a real situation?  Was Eve seduced by the Evil One in the form of a serpent or is it in "the account" an evil spirit "symbolized" by the serpent?  

Quote: It is not navel-gazing.  It is an explanation of how man comes to know and understand who he is and how he forms relationships with others.  It shows how those relationships directly parallel and influence man's relationship with God. 

How is that not self-evident in the text  of Genesis itself?  This is the crux of the problem, JPII engages in special pleading, assertions and logical contortions in order to create a convincing argument for justifying established moral codes as the Church teaches without having to accept a literal account of Genesis with an evil spirit taking the form of a serpent, perfectly made humans falling into sin and Mankind being the result of the union of those two people after the Fall. Man's relationship with God comes first, then as a result of that comes Man's relation to Man.  
Any person's relationship starts first with God and then extends to man.  By itself, I'm indifferent to man.  I love my fellow man because they are created by God and have a value that I may not see or appreciate but because God has created them, I accept their value.  

Quote: It shows the true nature of love and how we act out the love which Christ gave on the cross. 

How does he prove this case?  Did Christ love us less before the Cross?  Is not the Cross the winning of our Redemption and satisfying the Justice of God?  

Quote: To be honest, if anything, I think TOB made me a more thorough Christian with a better understanding of relationships and giving as a reciprocal gift of self. 

Relationships of love between humans are more meritorious when they are not reciprocal.  Loving your enemy is not reciprocal.  It is sacrificial.

Quote: These themes, as a part of my genuine mindset and worldview, have not held me back or changed my thoughts on tradition.  In fact, since I've read the TOB I've only grown closer and more fully to traditional Catholicism.

I don't know what "growing closer"  and "more fully" to Traditional Catholicism is.  How "unfull" are you still?   What matter is:  Are you a better Catholic?  Do you avoid sin?  Do you pray more?  Do you frequent the Sacraments for Sanctifying grace?  Are you living the Catholic life in terms of the Virtues and the Corporeal and Spiritual works of Mercy?   This is simple stuff.

Quote: I see nothing in the TOB that is building a new religion.  It is honestly just the same thoughts and beliefs that stem from aristotle, thomas etc. and have been accepted by the Church for centuries.  It is not about a new religion in the slightest.

It's the Religion of Man being emphasized.  God is sort of a background player laying these little packages that don't mean what they say, they are little messages that need to be decoded because we are so clever and lo and behold we figure out that we are just wonderful.   It's the biting of the fruit.  Eat this and be as God.  It is Darwinian at it's core.  Darwin's tree of life is the one JPII is writing about.  Not the tree of knowledge of good and evil.  

Quote: I also wonder what you find troubling in "In the Begining"  It seems to me that too often people read philosophical treatises by our Church leaders and expect them to come out and say, "Truth is objective.  Gary marriage is bad.  The Bible should be read literally most of the time.  Outside of the Church there is no salvation."  All of that is good and well and nothing in these documents contradicts what the Church teaches.  They do however go much deeper and into theoretical territory in an attempt to uproot the problem of modernism where it starts, which is in bad philosophy.  

First, once again, it's a reading of Genesis that is denied its obvious and literal meaning because of an unwarranted faith in Darwin.  Card. Ratzinger says plainly that he believes in evolution,  and therefore he's had to reconstruct an understanding of Genesis that denies its literal meaning and creates something else that supposedly has a greater depth even though there is not substance to it.   Original Sin in Ratzinger's view is a badly named explanation for why we wake up in a world of sin.  It's not something that is transmitted physically from generation to generation as taught by the Church.  

Darwinism is wreaking havoc with the faith and minds of these capable scholars.  Just as it does with the otherwise intelligent scientists who engage in ridiculous contortions to avoid seeing design in the Universe and all of Creation.   Once a person's mind is cleansed from all of that evolutionary poison floating in it, all of this becomes very simple and clear and uncomplicated.  They way God intends for us to understand things.

And "In the Beginning " was taken from a series of sermons when the was Bishop in the early 1970's.  One can only wonder how many heads left those Masses scratching themselves.    
BrevisVir55 Wrote:I still believe very strongly the description of Chris West as an "oversexed man-child" is the most accurate.

There are worse things to be, my friend. Much worse.
Gerard,

Many things to address there so I will just pick a few for now.  The reciprocal love bit is actually about how to truly love you must give your whole self.  JPII talks much about how that comes with the greatest of risks because you may or may not be accepted by that other person.  It is truly unconditional love, the kind that Christ taught and gave.  In no way is it espoused that relationships run on getting something back.  That's not what he means by reciprocal.

And, again, I don't know what you find ambiguous.  If you can provide some example then perhaps we could look into it further.  I found the text clear so I'm not going to provide my own example and guess at what others found ambiguous.
(10-24-2009, 11:19 PM)Walty Wrote: [ -> ]The reciprocal love bit is actually about how to truly love you must give your whole self.  JPII talks much about how that comes with the greatest of risks because you may or may not be accepted by that other person.  It is truly unconditional love, the kind that Christ taught and gave.  In no way is it espoused that relationships run on getting something back.  That's not what he means by reciprocal.

And, again, I don't know what you find ambiguous.  If you can provide some example then perhaps we could look into it further.  I found the text clear so I'm not going to provide my own example and guess at what others found ambiguous.

It's ambiguous because he's conflating definitions.  If he means altruistic love, he should say so.  If the love is not accepted by the other person it can't be reciprocal.  Reciprocal means a mutual exchange. 

The love in a marriage is conditional because it is part of the marriage bond.  That's not a bad thing.  Relations are a part of the marital debt.  If you really want to use marriage as a figure of the Cross, then you have to realize that the spouses freely bind each other to the marital debt and relations are required by justice unless the spouses mutually decide to remain continent.  So a man may not deny his wife and a wife may not deny her husband without a truly grave reason.  The Cross is a warning of the severity of the marital committment. It's a costly and painful sacrifice more than a "gift." 

Another of my concerns about TOB is the comparative "pie in the sky" attitude put forth by JPII which is in my opinion very naive.  His analogies to the Cross do not go far enough,  should each man go through his "Agony in the Garden" on the eve of his marriage sweat blook asking God to "Let this cup pass me by?" 

Marriage and relations in marriage are connected with the Sacrament of Marriage.  The Eucharist is the Eucharist.  They are two distinct sacraments, related, yes. but Eucharistic sex is a dangerous path to tread down considering human concupiscence and the possibility of perversion, and psychological associations distracting a person during Mass.
All this coming from someone who hasn't even studied it?

:laughing:

Somewhat tangentially,  I have been reading Veritatis Splendor recently for a class...  so far it is an excellent encyclical. 
(10-27-2009, 08:47 PM)anthony Wrote: [ -> ]All this coming from someone who hasn't even studied it?

:laughing:

I'm not sure which one of us you were referring to.  If it's me, I have only read a few of JPII's addresses and I've taken the course of Theology of the Body as presented by Christopher West's organization at a local parish out of curiosity. 
(10-27-2009, 11:01 PM)Gerard Wrote: [ -> ]
(10-27-2009, 08:47 PM)anthony Wrote: [ -> ]All this coming from someone who hasn't even studied it?

:laughing:

I'm not sure which one of us you were referring to.  If it's me, I have only read a few of JPII's addresses and I've taken the course of Theology of the Body as presented by Christopher West's organization at a local parish out of curiosity.   

I think part of the issue is that you are familiar with it through Christopher West.  I don't think anyone here would claim that West is anywhere near ok in his approach, nor is it loyal to the actual work of JPII.
The TOB of JP II is a theology of "the Incarnation". God took flesh; God coming in the form of a body. The material body is more than a created object. It is being 'divined'. The profundity of the TOB is just being explored and could plumb greater depth. . Sex is just an aspect, an important one, of how two bodies relate with each other, as God intended in the beginning. The TOB could be JP II's greatest contribution to the 21st Century Catholic thoughts.
(10-28-2009, 12:14 AM)iggyting Wrote: [ -> ]The TOB of JP II is a theology of "the Incarnation". God took flesh; God coming in the form of a body. The material body is more than a created object. It is being 'divined'. The profundity of the TOB is just being explored and could plumb greater depth. . Sex is just an aspect, an important one, of how two bodies relate with each other, as God intended in the beginning. The TOB could be JP II's greatest contribution to the 21st Century Catholic thoughts.

I honestly don't believe JPII to be profound in the slightest way.  I find him to be severely misguided and he spent a lot of time and mental energy running down a blind alley.  The problem with that take on TOB is that it runs along the lines of Karl Rahner's Supernatural Existential which leads to his "anonymous Christianity" claptrap.    It also bears the influence of Darwin and consequently Tielhard de Chardin.  The simple fact is, two bodies cannot relate with each other as God intended in the beginning because of our Fallen Nature and concupiscence coming out of Original Sin. 

JPII thinks early man looked like this:

[Image: lgearlyman2.jpg]

Whereas Adam probably looked more like this:

[Image: billy_crudup_as_dr_manhattan_and_jeffrey...550922.jpg]

The second image while taken from "the Watchmen" movie corresponds pretty well to what people like Bishop Sheen,  Fr. Malachi Martin and others have espoused as the traditional understanding of the superiority of our first parents.  As the Scriptures attest, Man was made "a little less than the Angels."   

The profound gulf in perspective between the traditional and correct view of Adam and Eve vs. JPII"s bias towards Darwinism creates lasting effects on how we view ourselves in the here and now.  Are we a pinnacle of the evolutionary process? Or are we creatures with a fallen nature trying to implore grace from Our Savior to restore us one day to what we were and what we were meant to be in sharing a part of His Divinity in adoration of Him?

Needless to say, when comparing the traditional view of the first man and the prototype of Man with TOB's perspective,  I'm underwhelmed when reading JPII's rhapsodic reflections on Man. 



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