Friday, October 23, 2009

Christopher West: Defending his life.


Christopher West seems to have made a very credible defense of his teaching of Theology of the Body.  It's all good - he's good - JPII is good - every body is good - okay, only God is good.  But West attempts a pretty good defense - he cites the following from the writings of JPII to demonstrate his pivotol point:

With the passage of time, if we persevere in following Christ our Teacher, we feel less and less burdened by the struggle against sin, and we enjoy more and more the divine light which pervades all creation. This is most important, because it allows us to escape from a situation of constant inner exposure to the risk of sin – even though, on this earth, the risk always remains present to some degree – so as to move with ever greater freedom within the whole created world. This same freedom and simplicity characterizes our relations with other human beings, including those of the opposite sex... Christ, supreme Teacher of the spiritual life, together with all those who have been formed in his school, teaches that even in this life we can enter onto the path of union with God... [This union allows us to] find God in everything, we can commune with him in and through all things. Created things cease to be a danger for us as once they were, particularly while we were still at the purgative stage of our journey. (Memory and Identity, pp. 29-30)
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In Conclusion:
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One of the most common responses I receive when I present this beautifully challenging and hopeful vision of human life and sexuality is this: I’ve been a Catholic my whole life – why haven’t I ever heard this!? The truth of the matter is that it is rarely taught... - Source
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I'm no expert, but it seems to me the truth of the matter is that it is rarely taught because this grace is normally only given to souls who have been elevated to a certain degree of contemplation and/or mystical union, and usually only after serious mortification and purgation of the senses.  West might do well to study more closely the authentic mystics of the Catholic Church - especially the works of St. John of the Cross.
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UPDATE:  Be sure and Check out Steve Kellmeyer's latest response to West.

3 comments:

  1. Anonymous10:06 AM

    It is difficult to balance hope and sobriety. While I certainly think that West seems to have, at times, short-changed sobriety, hope should still be preached. We need a vision of both a) what is possible, given consistent cooperation with the grace of God, and b) the ascetic steps required to get there.

    Fr. Joseph Bittle (Eastern Orthodox admirer of JPII)

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  2. Thanks for the link to Kellmeyer, Terry. The comparison to the Cathars is fascinating!

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  3. Elena - I thought so too!

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