Friday, June 12, 2009

Awesome Critiques of Chris West

Chris West is a friend. In fact, we jammed together at the Cowboy Cafe some 10 years ago. But I have had disagreements with his interpretation and presentation of John Paul II's Theology of the Body for a long time.

One of the problems in general is that it really shouldn't even be called Theology of the Body. The official Italian publication of the Pope's Wednesday Audiences from 1979 to 1984 is titled Uomo e donna lo creo: Catechesi sull'amore umano.

It would be better if everyone knew it as the Catechesis on Human Love. Waldstein's new translation, which was much needed, does use the title Man and Women He created Them, but still retains Theology of the Body as subtitle.

Having John Paul II's teaching known as Theology of the Body seems to overstress the role of the body and shifts emphasis of the teaching to sex and sexuality, which was not the Pope's intent. While the body and sexuality are an essential, they are to be understood with in the context of the whole person still effected by original sin and the person's invitation to participate in the Divine Mystery.

David Schindler, Dean of the John Paul II Institute, has written two insightful critiques of Christ West that I think are much needed. With the rapid rise in the popularity of Theology of the Body, largely from Christ West presentations, there needs to be further discussion which takes into account other views on the Pope's teaching outside of the United States.

Schindler's Critiques One & Two