Monday, May 11, 2009

A theology of the body too far?

"Catholicism, properly understood ... is one of the sexiest of the world's religions." (Ignatius Insight Scoop, May 7, 2009)

That from Christopher West, who is described as a "sex sermonist" in a profile from ABC News:
"I love Hugh Hefner," said West. "I really do. Why? Because I think I understand his ache. I think I understand his longing because I feel it myself. There is this yearning, this ache, this longing we all have for love, for union, for intimacy."

West said John Paul II took the sexual revolution an extra step, outlining what he called the "Theology of the Body." The pope emphasized how God made Adam and Eve naked and without shame, in his own image. And told them to be fruitful and multiply.

In other words, according to the pope, from the very beginning, sexual love has been at the heart of God's plan for us.

"Catholicism, properly understood ... is one of the sexiest of the world's religions," said West. "But what do we mean by that statement? Catholicism is a very physical, very sensual religion. And indeed the authentic soundtrack for Christianity is a small book in the Old Testament called the Song of Songs. And what is it? It is glorious erotic love poetry."
One reader points out that a sub-literature is even cropping up: The Virgin Mary And Theology of the Body: Donald H. Calloway: Books.

Waldstein's new translation of John Paul II's Theology of the Body -- Man and Woman He Created Them: A Theology Of The Body (Pauline Books & Media, 2006) -- has been called "magisterial" by Thomas Howard, and I think Waldstein's Introduction, covering the various influences on John Paul (St. John of the Cross, Immanuel Kant, Max Scheler, etc.) is first-rate.

But a "Theology of the Body" Institute? I'll have to think about that one.

While we're at it, the Calloway's title suggests a question one of our readers raised, so I'll pass it on to you: What Marian books would you recommend as the best coverage of this area theologically?

Of related interest

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