Christopher West left a jarring first impression when I listened to him in 2002. Gathered in a Vancouver living room, we were a dozen Catholic men watching one of his DVD presentations about John Paul II’s Theology of the Body. Our group consisted of good friends, but we suddenly became a little uncomfortable in each other’s presence when he started mentioning certain parts of the male anatomy.
The awkwardness proved to be momentary, as just a half-hour into the video, we realized that four of our vehicles had been towed. Our men’s night ended with an expensive trip to the impound lot.
Eight years later, West is still attracting crowds of easily-embarrassed Catholics. I was again among them for his most recent conference in Toronto, organized by the God, Sex and the Meaning of Life Ministry
. With his trademark humour, he called us out on our timidity and quickly put us at ease. West riveted the thousand-strong audience with his insightful, pull-no-punches presentation of the late pontiff’s teaching.
Prior to the conference, I interviewed the popular speaker and author for Catholic Focus
, which premieres this Wednesday night at 7 & 11 pm ET (8 pm PT). In the above clip, I asked him whether he thought Catholics were ready for a candid exploration of faith and sexuality. He returned, as he so often does, to the prophetic example of one “great theologian”—John Paul II.