See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient with it until it receives the early and the late rains. - James 5:7

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Sex and the City of God

Schindler's list...
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"Continuing the reaction to Catholic speaker Christopher West’s ABC interview on the Theology of the Body, prominent theologian David L. Schindler has said that despite West’s fidelity to the Church and his positive results for many Catholics, his approach significantly misrepresents Pope John Paul II’s thought and is “too much about sex and too romantic.”
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Schindler, who is also an editor of the international Catholic review “Communio,” emphasized that he agreed West intends to be a faithful Catholic. In fact, Schindler said he believes the speaker “would throw himself in front of a bus for the Church.”
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Though remarking that West has had “positive results” in drawing many Catholics, Schindler said good will is not synonymous with sound thought.
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“West’s work seems to me to misrepresent in significant ways the thought of John Paul II,” he wrote at HeadlineBistro.com.
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Schindler cited several instances where he said West was not only “vulgar and in bad taste” but also suggestive of “a disordered approach to human sexuality.”
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He claimed that West has suggested spouses bless their genitals before making love, has blessed the ovaries of women in his classes, and has advised young men in college and the seminary to look at their naked bodies in the mirror daily “in order to overcome shame.”
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Schindler also claimed that West has used “phallic symbolism” to describe the Easter candle, has criticized “flat-chested” images of Mary in art, and has claimed there is nothing wrong with an unnatural act as marital foreplay.
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An “objective distortion” in approaching sexuality is not eliminated simply because of theological overtones, Schindler wrote."
- Read more.
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19 comments:

  1. I've not actually read West, but these criticisms seem as if West is on the mark, in some respects.

    1. There IS phallic symbolism with the Paschal Candle. (Note the ritual of the Blessing of the Font, with its "plunging.") This rite is pagan in origin, blessed and re-ordered for use in a Christian rite.

    2. Why should ovaries not be blessed? Heavens, I should think that such would be considered "good," if God is involved in the procreative process!

    3. Why should people feel ashamed of their bodies? I doubt very much that West was speaking to carnal sensuality, but a view that anything made in God's image is not only good, but should be respected as such.

    Perhaps there is an undertone in West's work that is off the mark. As I said, I haven't read him. But these examples that were used seem sound to me, and completely in line with theological and rational thought.

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  2. Yeah, it fits in well with the Gay Catholic Guide to Sexual Spirituality.

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  3. How could this possibly be (mis)construed as "gay?"

    Refute my claims, not my status, for heaven's sake.

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  4. Thom, that wasn't a personal insult. (Nor hate speach.) I have things to do today, but I will get to your point on another post in the future. I will say that if you read some of the literature on gay spirituality you will notice similar parallels in the language and practice. That's all. Then just read your friend Michael's blog:

    "If they (gay people) accept that their sexual orientation is part of the created reality and at the same time that it is an “orientation to evil,” then they will experience a deep crisis in their ability to trust creation and God. Their only alternative is to begin the development of a deep spiritual life. They must achieve an even deeper trust of self, body, nature, the cosmos, and God.

    ...gay people have a keen awareness that spiritual life is not a head trip but a heart trip. Thus, a healthy spiritual life must be holistic; it cannot be based on a denial and rejection of the necessary sexual component in our search for intimacy with God. To totally suppress that component can place a major obstacle in the path of spiritual growth." - John McNeill
    ...
    Furthermore, I have heard gay priests encourage gay men in relationships to look upon their lover and or partners, as Christ, in order to sanctify their sexual realations, "to see Christ in their limbs and sexual organs, to bless them and take pleasure in them." (I realize this is anecdotal and may not measure up to your strict adherence to documentation of sources and fact checking, so you are free to just assume I'm lying.)

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  5. Nah, don't even worry about it.

    I engaged you, in good faith, and got nothing but bitterness in return.

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  6. Thom, Sorry your sensibilities were offended, happens to me all of the time.

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  7. IS there phallic symbolism in the Paschal candle? Or do I just have a dirty mind?

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  8. Carol3:14 PM

    Such reasoning as Thom's above et al seems to me straight out of the asp side of Eden. It's all seems so very reasonable, no? No. It is like satan's man-covered voice also later asking, "What is Truth?"

    Gayness (including phallic worship) is never (licitly) taught in the Church's name, rather, it is considered a disorderedness needing healing.. so right off the bat, gay-agenda'd folks are doing what the Evangelist threatened them not to do regarding sacred Scripture. Worse, even worse, they are complicit in what Christ called the unforgivable sin.

    The gayness defense which further rapes Christ and His altar boys and thus, all the Church, comes from the same audacious and penultimate abandonment-filled, self-filled pool of utter hatred that Pilate dipped into when he challenged the Lord with proffered *wisdom*: "Well, then, Jee-zus, refute them!!"

    Such call the faithful fools because it can be pointed to that Christianity's rites often seem dolled-up pagan rites, but they are incapable ("Even that little bit you had will be taken away and given to others"?) now of recalling clearly enough that the Lord, via the Cross, transformed the post-Decalogue residual genital/monkey/golden duckie worship once and for all, "It is finished."

    I hope Pilate second-guessed himself (or at least I hope it wasn't just some "WhoWasThatUn-MaskedGod??!" cya) with his: "I have written what I have written." One little kudo to Jesus.. just like this culture. Words come cheap as hell after successful crucifixion of holiness, yes? Yes.

    It's our choice: Be Jesus' echo, or the asp's. The Woman's seed, or the serpent's. If what we are about to say seems a tad ambiguous to us (note not least of all to Mr. Wild Reed as well as Wild Weakland) we shouldn't even go there, lest some little one trips via potential asp-speak and gashes his or her soul.

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  9. Angela - you are so lucky I'm not your dad - the Paschal Candle is not about pagan temple rites or phallic symbols!

    Meditate the Exultet:

    "This is the night,
    when first you saved our fathers:
    you freed the people of Israel from their slav'ry,
    and led them dry-shod through the sea.

    This is the night,
    when the pillar of fire destroyed the darkness of sin.

    This is night,
    when Christians ev'rywhere,
    washed clean of sin and freed from all defilement,
    are restored to grace and grow together in holiness."

    No wonder Moses broke the Tablets over the Israelites heads.

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  10. Paula - check out Dawn Eden for Kellmeyer's take on the eroticization of the Paschal Candle.

    http://dawneden.blogspot.com/2008/11/catechists-erroneous-zones-guest-post.html

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  11. Christopher West has agreed to speak and give a response to the von Hildbrand based questions/assertions made last week at the following (open to the public):

    http://www.thepersonalistproject.org/index.php/TPP/lecture_new/von_hildebrand_on_sexuality

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  12. Susan - that is good news, I'm sure he will clear it up then.

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  13. Ter, I am corrupted. I am a product of public schools of the 70's. And felt banners. And nuns in polyester and fugly shoes. *sigh*

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  14. I'm new to Catholicism and haven't read this West guy, but it seems he's making quite an uproar in the Catholic blogosphere lately. I've recently read well-meaning Catholics for him and against him, though I've read more against him. Looks like something I need to read more about before I form a solid opinion on him. From what I've seen though it seems he means well...but some of it does seem to lead to dangerous territory if you're a faithful Catholic. Like with the suggestion to seminarians to look at themselves naked every day: why would you develop a sexual attitude toward a body consecrated to holy celibacy? Should you not rather have him develop a quiet appreciation for not being for sexual things? I would think this development of a sexual attitude in a man vowed to celibacy would only cause him problems. I know it would cause me problems.

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  15. I'm guessing Christopher West is a fine Catholic. TOB is very popular.

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  16. Leorufus6:08 AM

    Just because something is longer than it is wide and rounded rather than squared that does not make it phallic. That is old Freudianism, a dated 19th century psychology seized upon by those with excessive sexual proclivity to make everything an object of sexuality. I suppose a chalice could be construed as vaginal by the same illogic. "sometimes a cigar is just a cigar".

    Christopher West strikes me as being juvenile - and I think his TOB stuff is a distortion. Anyone can create a 501c3 non-profit organization and call it an "Institute". Up to now West's work has not been subjected to rigorous peer review and does not have professional credibility. The peer review he is currently getting from von Hildebrand et al. is not good.

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  17. Leo - I'm sure West is an ardent Catholic...

    I find it astonishing that everything, including liturgical symbols are being sexualized by this culture. Surely there is a connection to the "abomination of desolation" the prohet spoke about. Of cource ancient temple cult ritual degenerated into the sexualization of the sacred as well... liturgical dance, phallic symbolism, and so on.

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  18. Carol, I forgot to thank you for your good comment - so thanks!

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  19. Thank you for posting this. I have similar sentiments on my blogs.

    www.donnamarieembracingmotherhood.blogspot.com

    and www.donnamariecooperoboyle.blogspot.com

    God bless,
    Donna-Marie

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