Why Christopher West is a Danger to the Church
#11
(11-23-2009, 09:21 PM)SearchingCatholic Wrote: Also, when I find the articles I will give copies to my parish priest.  He is very orthodox, but West's material was used in adult formation classes in our parish. :(  I don't want to see any more people misled.

There are quite a few here who condemn Pope John Paul II's Theology of the Body outright.  I think it is a really marvelous piece of work that should definitely be used in adult catechesis and marriage preparation.  West, however, has made some extremely large mistakes and his entire attitude toward the topic seems rife with novelty and a misunderstanding of the Church's position on a lot of areas.  Stay away from West at all costs.
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#12
I've never read anything by Christopher West, and never will.  Whether I read positive or negative reviews of his work, there is something disquieting about it.  Criticizing those holy saints, saying they were spiritually immature - no matter how West actually said it - raises a serious alarm for me.  From everything I've heard, it sounds like he misses a huge point:  these bodies are temporary.  We are supposed to keep in the mind the Four Last Things - death, judgment, Heaven, and hell.  If we go to Heaven, we will be resurrected in an eternal body God wishes for us all.  That is our aim.  I hope West makes it to Heaven to see who really understood what.

Dr. Alice von Hildebrand's critique (posted above by SaintRafael) confirmed my doubts.  Among the comments below the article, West's fans said Dr. Hildebrand is just jealous, proud, and behind the times, and they tried to excuse West's language as being necessary because we live in vulgar times.  Then, I saw this comment:

Quote:The distinguished lady is right. Christopher West has gone overboard. He teaches that sodomy can be good in certain circumstances. However, the Church teaches that sodomy is one of the 4 sins crying out to heaven for vengeance. Christopher West is attempting to deconstruct that catechetical teaching of the Church. Once he starts doing that it's time for us to say GoodBye Chris West!

Can anyone verify this?  If true, that is a serious danger to many already nominal Catholics.

My favorite comment:

Quote:What all this sex talk has to do with Catholicism?

Edited to add:  I should clarify that I know Christopher West knows about the Four Last Things, and he's probably talked about them, but I think a good Catholic writer should anchor their work in what is most solid.  If he tempered his work with the right Catholic teachings, holding them higher than any of his own interpretations of the Theology of the Body, I don't think there would be much controversy.  I think his writings would then be safe, but so far I agree with the criticism that West doesn't take seriously enough the dangers of his approach and all the unforeseen consequences to which it can lead.
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#13
He's a wanker, no pun intended. Just goes to show that Theology of the Body (West's and others' versions of it any way, not necessarily JP2's original conception) is sex obsessed and infantile. Bodily mortification isn't only about sexual stuff, for goodness' sake - it's about "fleshly" ways of thinking/ behaving like pride, gossip whatever just as much as sexual stuff. It's unfortunate that bodily mortification and sexual temptation go so hand in hand in many traditional stories about the saints etc. Plus I guess in the modern mind flagellation and sex are linked! Wankers like West who attract audiences with sensationalism see that stuff as easy material for winning over teenagers etc.

Why not talk about St Teresa using a log as a pillow, or even St Therese teaching herself to cultivate a taste for dirty water that was slapped on her when the nuns washed their clothes? That's "self-inflicted mortification" just as much as the more dramatic flagellation stuff is. I agree that those who mortify themselves excessively and before any need for it, out of romantic notions about what the saints did, are showing "spiritual immaturity", but for a tosser like West to say that anyone who did it was spiritually immature is just pathetic. I can't imagine him ever reaching the point where he realizes that knocking back a high five might be good for his soul, let alone reaching the point of spiritual maturity that calls for more serious mortification.

And no, I don't whip myself or anything!  But if I was a St Jerome I might have need to!
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#14
(11-23-2009, 11:48 PM)Admiratio Wrote: Then, I saw this comment:
Quote:The distinguished lady is right. Christopher West has gone overboard. He teaches that sodomy can be good in certain circumstances. However, the Church teaches that sodomy is one of the 4 sins crying out to heaven for vengeance. Christopher West is attempting to deconstruct that catechetical teaching of the Church. Once he starts doing that it's time for us to say GoodBye Chris West!

Can anyone verify this?  If true, that is a serious danger to many already nominal Catholics.

http://lesfemmes-thetruth.blogspot.com/2...th-of.html

FROM RANDY ENGEL
Date: Tuesday, June 2, 2009, 10:55 PM

"In my two year study on John Paul II’s Theology of the Body which ran as a 7-part series in Catholic Family News (May-November 2008) and is now available online at www.newengelpublishing.com, I tackle the issue of the morality of anal penetration by married couple as a form of foreplay as explained by Christopher West.

In Chapter Five of his book Good News About Sex & Marriage – Answers to Your Honest Questions About Catholic Teachings (First Edition), in response to a question on the morality of anal sex for married couples, West states “There’s nothing inherently wrong with anal penetration as foreplay to normal intercourse.” This is a false teaching and a serious moral error.

Based on my 17 years of research for The Rite of Sodomy – Homosexuality and the Roman Catholic Church, which included a study of all of the Church Fathers, including Saint Peter Damian and Saint Bernardino of Siena, on the vice of sodomy, I can categorically state that the Catholic Church has always defined sodomy to include anal penetration, with or without ejaculation.

The act of sodomy, whether carried by homosexuals or by spouses, is intrinsically evil and a perversion. A married couple who engages in anal penetration and then goes on to normal coitus has engaged in two separate acts - the first, sodomy, is a grave sin, whether or not ejaculation has occurred. Further, the physiology of anal copulation is such that it would be most difficult to prevent ejaculation.

In West’s revised edition of Good News About Sex & Marriage, this grave moral error was not corrected. After pointing out that anal penetration is unsanitary and unaesthetic, West asserts:

Perhaps in some abstract, objective sense, there is nothing to condemn mere penetration of the anus as absolutely and in every case immoral. But subjectively speaking… it is very difficult to justify anal penetration as a loving act of foreplay to the marital embrace. It is an act that seems to stem much more from the disorder of lust than from a genuine desire to symbolize and renew the marriage commitment.

Now, alas, we have Janet Smith, claiming that:

Certainly there isn’t any “Church teaching” about this action at a magisterial level, but few seem to know that there is a tradition of approval of such behavior as foreplay to intercourse (not to be confused with the biblical condemnation of sodomy which replaces intercourse) by orthodox Catholic ethicists. The principle generally invoked is that consensual actions that culminate in intercourse are morally permissible…. Perhaps it is time for ethicists to work on the question…

What madness is this?

Where, pray tell, is the Catholic tradition that approves of anal penetration as a forerunner to coitus to be found?

What question is there for ethicists to work on?

Isn’t 2000 years of Church teachings on the immorality of sodomy good enough for West or Smith?

Do West and Smith have to be reminded that not all married couples have normal sexual desires? Indeed some are drawn into sinful acts as a prelude to intercourse including sadomasochist acts, the viewing of pornography to stimulate sexual excitement, and sodomy.

Isn’t it time that TOB advocates like Christopher West and Janet Smith be held accountable for their erroneous and dangerous pronouncements on Catholic sexual morality and conjugal love?"
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#15
Do Christopher West's works carry with them an imprimatur or other official recognition? 
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#16
(11-24-2009, 06:37 PM)Miquelot Wrote: Do Christopher West's works carry with them an imprimatur or other official recognition? 

Yes. I bought Theology of the Body for Beginners by Mr. West a couple of years ago, and it has an imprimatur from Cardinal Rigali, the Archbishop of Philadelphia. I am sure that the other books of Christopher West have imprimaturs.

Ever since Vatican II and the crisis of the last 50 years, I have zero faith in imprimaturs. They are jokes now. Any heretic and paperback theologian can get imprimaturs in the last couple of decades.
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#17
The question, broken down, becomes...Is it John Paul II's Theology of the Body that is cause for concern for some, or Christopher West's presentation and interpretation of the late Pontiff's Theology of the Body?  If it is the latter, who other than West does one turn to for explanatory texts about the Theology of the Body? 
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#18
(11-24-2009, 07:17 PM)Miquelot Wrote: The question, broken down, becomes...Is it John Paul II's Theology of the Body that is cause for concern for some, or Christopher West's presentation and interpretation of the late Pontiff's Theology of the Body?  If it is the latter, who other than West does one turn to for explanatory texts about the Theology of the Body? 

The problem is JPII is virtually incomprehensible, possibly even to himself.  It's a disgrace that the average population needs "translators" to make careers telling us what they think JPII meant.  His whole output is useless as a philosophy, theology and a teaching tool for Catholics.  If it had been any good, the years since 1978 in the Church would have been a lot better.
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#19
I don't agree personally that jp2 is incomprehensible - you just have to get used to his repitition and long-windedness. The poor fellow was a polish poet and mystic educated in scholasticism and trying to put things into words that "everyone" could understand, so it was always going to be difficult!

That "anal penetration" thing is hard proof enough that the likes of West have totally perverted (literally!) jp2's original ideas, which were fine. Can anyone imagine jp2 discussing such a thing? West seriously seems like a dirty-minded teenager sometimes.
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#20
I agree.  The worst I can say is that the Theology of the Body can be more abstract than concrete (at least to this simpleton's eyes, ears, and mind), thus enlisting the need of others to expound upon it.  But how is this any different than many a writing from the pens of the Fathers and Doctors of the Church? 
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