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Thursday, November 07, 2013

Conservative Catholic sex

Trawling theology videos, I came upon one by Christopher West, a Catholic who gives lectures on JPII's theology of the body. I'd read of him before in an article at America magazine but hadn't ever seen or read him. The talk began with West showing a slide of the statue of the virtue 'virginity' or 'chastity' at St. Peter's, which is of a semi-clad women holding a rose in one hand and a unicorn's horn in the other .....

I stopped watching the talk shortly thereafter - I think the 'theology of the body' is just dopey at best.

But anyway, an ABC interview with West mentions what a big business Catholic Sex Therapy is ... he has sold millions of books, CDs, and runs the "Theology of the Body Institute". Given the church's idea of what marriage should be, I can understand why so many Catholic couples might need therapy ;) but still ....

[W]hen West looks at the Bible now, he sees the ultimate sex guide. The "Joy of Sex" as a path to salvation.

"How do we live our sexuality in a way that points us to ultimate love, and ultimate happiness, and ultimate fulfillment?" he asked.

Of course, there is some fine print. West addresses his teaching only to straight men and women, properly married. No gay sex. No birth control.

Asked why contraception is wrong given that the Bible does not explicitly outlaw condoms, for example, West has a snappy reply.

"Where in the Bible does it say, 'Thou shalt not cut off thy neighbor's head with a chainsaw'? It also says in the Scripture that a husband is to love his wife as Christ loves the church. And Christ's love is a life-giving love."

In other words, West believes sex without the possibility of creating new life is a sin, and that using contraception is, if you will, a kind of a sexual bulimia.

"I want the pleasure of the act, but I don't want the consequences of the act, so I am going to vomit out my fertility," is how West describes the mind-set.

But West also believes sex without pleasure would be a sacrilege. In fact, he sees orgasm as a glimmer of salvation ....

What I find creepy about all this is that West uses sex as a kind of carrot - he takes something that's both extremely attractive and morally neutral, and builds a whole religious mythology around it in order to reinforce conservative church teaching on contraception, divorce, same-sex attraction, and gender roles.


Anonymous Richard said...

Dopey,Creepy and the rest of the seven dwarves. You shouldn't listen to that stuff Crystal, it's bad for you :/ I really enjoyed the prayer video though, I listened to it at work :)

7:10 PM  
Blogger crystal said...

It's strange that both of those videos came from the same - Westminster Cathedral :) ...

8:06 PM  
Blogger Phil Miller said...

Yep. You definitely just called sex morally neutral. Nothing so intricately linked to the course of history could be "neutral".

6:46 PM  
Blogger crystal said...

I guess I think the acts of sex are mostly neutral but that the intentions of the people participating and the surrounding circumstances are not neutral. For instance the same sex act that can be positive between two consenting adults in love would be negative if one person forced it on another or if a child was involved with an adult, etc.

10:27 AM  

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