Friday, July 3, 2009

Christopher West leads Faithful to God?

A well known moral theologian Fr. Maurizio Faggioni, OFM, a professor at the top pontifical institute for moral theology, the Pontifical Academy “Alphonsianum,” sheds a new light on the Theology of the Body debated started by the Christopher West interview on Dateline. In his interview West speaks of attempting to start a Catholic Sexual revolution saying we must fight fire with fire… but is this true? Many theologians and philosophers have been divided on this point. Alice Von Hildebrand holds that West’s view takes the sacredness out of the marital act. Janet Smith rather likes West’s style and believes that he is on the right track with regard to helping Catholics become more content in their own marriages. Fr. Faggioni has a different take on the subject. He expresses concern with some of the lengths and practices of West.

Fr. Faggioni explained that some of the issues discussed publicly by West, such as the appropriateness of anal sex or other forms of sexual “foreplay” in married relationships, have to be dealt with using great care, since “the risk is of displacing the attention from marital love and the anthropologic meaning of lovely gestures to merely the genital aspects.” Furthermore regarding the practice of blessing the genitals before a sexual relationship, Fr. Faggioni expressed “real perplexity”… “Without doubt, all the body in each one of its parts is God’s creation and deserves honor. We precisely respect our private parts by surrounding them with greater respect and modesty.” He continued, “Nothing forbids thanking God for the sexual body of oneself or the spouse, but from the perspective of Christian anthropology, it is not right to emphasize the genitals as if our sexuality could be reduced to them. Love is made with all the body, with the entire person’s humanity, not only with the genitals.” CNA

Fr. Faggioni is looking deeper into the West approach of Theology of the Body. Fr. Faggioni spoke of the ardent desire of the late Pope John Paul II’s desire to keep from trivializing sex or treating it puritanically. Still Christopher West’s work continues to grow and hundreds of Catholics are finding happiness in his understanding. This work of West is not infallible and is not exactly the work of JPII. So when one looks into West’s studies you must take this into consideration and know that there is a risk of loosing the beauty of the marital embrace to over emphasizing the genital aspects.

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