Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Dr. Alice Von Hildebrand and Some Sanity

In response to the disgraceful performance by Christopher West the "Catholic" sex guru, Dr. Von Hildebrand points out the obvious problems with West's approach and the dangers.

The article is here.

Her comments:

“My feeling is that Christopher West has become famous because he started discussing the Theology of the Body, which is extremely appealing topic. The difficulty is that, in the meantime, he became so famous that I do believe he has become much too self-assured and has lost sight of the extreme sensitivity of the topic.”


This is “very troubling” because what she calls the “intimate sphere” is something “very mysterious, very profound, something that has a direct relationship with God.”

“My feeling is that his vocabulary and his way of approaching it totally lacks reverence.”

“Reverence is the key to purity,” she told CNA.” The intimate sphere “is not a topic of public discussion” but is “extremely serious.”

“It seems to me that his presentation, his vocabulary, the vulgarity of things that he uses are things that simply indicate that even though he might have good intentions he has derailed and is doing a lot of harm.”


Most troubling are the comments at the end of the article which mostly support Christopher West and his pornographic views of intimacy. The prevailing sentiment seems to be that if it were not for Christopher West, some of the writers would not be Catholic. It makes you wonder what they have converted to? The Faith or hedonism and the Theology of the Body's attempt to redeem hedonism by couching it in spiritual terms?

Apparently a "clarification" was released on behalf of Christopher West, painstakingly explaining the difference between Hugh Hefner and Pope John Paul II. Thanks but the differences are obvious to anyone of sense. It is the similarities that West "cites" and has convinced himself of that is so troubling. The whole "clarification" can be read here.

Best of all is this statement in "the clarification"

Christopher West is not a sex therapist. He is a Catholic educator, author, lecturer, and faculty member of the Theology of the Body Institute. The TOB Institute is an educational organization and does not engage in sex therapy.


Why pray tell would that be necessary????? Could it be because of the way that Christopher West has characterized his own work? Of course.

The clarifications and halfhearted back tracking can only mean one thing- donations are down. And that's good news.

19 comments:

Leila said...

Von Hildebrand is a breath of sanity.

The sense of mystery is exactly what these popularizers lack -- and not only Theology of the Body hacks, but also NFP promoters.


There is a lot to be said in these areas and a lot of mischief to be undone, but without losing the delicacy the topics deserve!

You say a lot by HOW you say something...

Dymphna said...

I have a problem with lay people who make their living from selling books, seminars, and giving lectures on their interpretation of the Church's teaching.

sue said...

How could West be so naive? Doesn't he know anythng about Hugh Hefner? Let alone Manicheanism? It's like the church never existed before JPII or had anything relevant to say. I am always amazed at the way Neo-con Catholics like West dispense with 2000 years of theology. He seems embarrassed by Old Fashioned Catholicism. I wonder if he's read Casti Connubi? (Which is necessary if one wished to understand TOB)
This Naked w/o Shame theme is nothing more than a denial of original sin. That's why he can say nice things about Hefner. It's not his fault... he's just looking for the same thing we are... If only we could present truth to him in a palatable way he would embrace it... West should get himself a hair shirt and then take a break from TOB and read LOTR.

Bexo said...

I couldn't agree with Alice von Hildebrand more. It is truly lack of reverence that people like Christopher West lack. He is trying to elevate sex, but he ends up demeaning it through his lack of reverence. Mother Church has always valued privacy, especially within marriages. Amen regarding Leila's comment also! So true, so true...

Anonymous said...

I have always told our children there is a sacred secrecy about marital love between God, husband and wife. Amen...enough said!

Anne R Triolo said...

I love to hear anything those Von Hildebrands have said...Thanks, Mary!

Anonymous said...

Lack of reverence... You have hit it on the head, Bexo. Not just w/West. With the Liturgy itself. That Mass being turned into a worship service... and so forth. Reverence replaced by modernism. Look at the Confession lines before and after Mass at most parishes - if they even offer the Sacrament. Compare to the lines for Confression at your FSSP pasrishes... Long. Even on Saturday mornings. My teen daughter goes on her own, often. No pushing from mom and me. My son can't wait to serve ont he altar. He loves to hear the Lord's Prayer sung in Latin. I have four children. None squirm at Mass. My son wants to wear a tie (not even I like to wear a tie, but I do, because he convicts me, holds me accountable). Yes, we have lost that Reverence that made our parishes Holy. West, to me, is a modernist. Making good coin off of his philosophy, which, as far as I can see, has few parallels to the Holy Father John Paul 2's encyclical.

Anonymous said...

Sorry for the spelling errors on the last post. Was in a rush! ;)

Michael H. J. said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

i love how people can make sweeping assumptions and reactions based on a 6 minute video on a media outlet that has much to gain by discrediting west. Christopher West has always maintained to take what is from God in his talks, and leave what is from him.
His talks aren't bad if you come to them with a totally open mind.

Disciple said...

I remember watching West on EWTN for the first time. And being absolutely appalled! If you want to learn about the TOB, read or listen to Fr. Richard Hogan. Listen to Fr. Mitch Pacwa. I'm a convert myself but I love the teachings of Holy Mother Church. I converted because in the Church I found the Truth. But I realize that many Catholics, old and new, cling to their own ways and notions and turn away from the Truth. Dr. Hildebrand is correct, as usual. Steer clear of Christopher West and his crowd.

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Jared said...

Dymphna:
A lay person who is called to the type of work Christopher West is has to make money someway. By making money from their work they can focus their life entirely on their work and vocation. This is a good thing. It's part of stewardship. This is like saying we shouldn't pay teachers in our Catholic schools or we shouldn't pay priests. We're supporting those like Christopher West in their vocation with money. Lay people are called to contribue in the way West does. St. Thomas Moore was a lay man and made incredible contributions to the Church. It is part of our vocation to promote and help them in their vocation. God Bless.

Jared said...

Dymphna:
A lay person who is called to the type of work Christopher West is has to make money someway. By making money from their work they can focus their life entirely on their work and vocation. This is a good thing. It's part of stewardship. This is like saying we shouldn't pay teachers in our Catholic schools or we shouldn't pay priests. We're supporting those like Christopher West in their vocation with money. Some lay people are called to serve in the way West does. St. Thomas Moore was a lay man and made incredible contributions to the Church. It is part of our vocation to promote and help them in their vocation. God Bless.

Jared said...

Sue:
Christopher West has dedicated his whole life to Theology of the Body. I was heard him in person and he has mentioned the relationship of Hugh Hefner and JPII. It was presented much better in person. We have to remember that ABC is a secular institution and that they are removed from the truth. They did not present West's view well at all. When looking at West's work as a whole the comparison is much less scandalizing.

We must also remember that old does not mean better. We must remember that throughout the 2000 years of Church history we have gone deeper in our understanding of God.

Just because we sin and have original sin does not mean we should just give up on God's original plan for sexuality. We strive for perfect holiness but will never attain it. That doesn't mean we should not try.

This isn't of great relevance, but Christopher West mentions LOTR in his talks. I encourage you to read and or listen to more of Christopher West.

Jared said...

I strongly disagree that Christopher has a lack of reverence for sex. Reverence is not synonymous with silence and secrecy. This silence and secrecy with sex by the church was present when contraception was introduced. We have also seen an increase of divorce, homosexuality, pornography, etc. I don't have statistics on hand to show this but I assume all would agree.

The Church is the authority on truth, correct? If the Church does not teach and speak out about sex who will? People who see and use sex in the wrong way will take over. Every person wants to know about sex. If the Church (including the foundation of the Church, family) does not educate about sex then someone else will.

With this being said, because of the way the culture is, we must bring the beauty and holiness of sex to where the people are. If we fail to do this we will continue to lose souls. Christopher West does and amazing job with this.

This is an intense spiritual battle and we must fight against Satan. Remember, Satan is cunning and sly and attacks what is strongest. I beg you to please recognize the importance and power of sex and family. Please notice the world around us and all the sin against sex and family life that is going on around it.

Jared said...

Lasty,

I want to say that I will be praying for all you. Also, I thank you for expressing what you believe is truth. God Bless

"We must love them both, those with whom we agree and those with whom we disagree. For both have labored in the search of truth, and both have helped in the finding of it." St. Thomas Aquinas

AspieCatholic girl said...

Alice Von Hildebrand is one of the great women of our time.

AspieCatholic girl said...

It's modern Catholics as a group that lack a spirit of reverence, that don't even know the spirit of reverence. If Chirstopher West lacks it (and I don't know first hand because I'm not familiar with him) he is nothing more than a product of our times.