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Christopher West announces sabbatical; Canadian appearances to be rescheduled

Kris Dmytrenko

April 9, 2010
Last week, Christopher West announced that he was taking a six-month sabbatical for personal and professional reasons. In a possible allusion to the debate over the popular author’s interpretation of John Paul II’s teaching, the Theology of the Body Institute stated that he will take time to “to reflect more deeply on fraternal and spiritual guidance he has received in order to continue developing his methodology and praxis.” He will also use his leave “to attend to family needs”. (Read the full text here.)
Unfortunately for Canadian fans of Christopher West, the sabbatical effectively cancels his upcoming speaking appearances in Toronto and Vancouver, which were scheduled to take place May 8th and 22nd, respectively. Couples for Christ, the sponsors of the Freedom to Love conferences, have not yet advertised new dates, though they will presumably occur sometime after September.
During West’s most recent appearance in Toronto, he granted an extensive interview to S+L for Catholic Focus. He addressed the criticism from some Catholic academics, including the concern that his teaching could encourage an unhealthy fixation on sexuality.
"'Don't talk about that, especially not in a Church!' Well, why do we think that?," West responds in the interview -- filmed, appropriately, in a Toronto parish. "I don’t believe that silence is an option. The sexual revolution has compelled us to have this conversation."
He also considered, in content not included in the original Catholic Focus episode, whether the distinction between contraception and natural family planning is analogous to the difference between euthanasia and natural death.
Posted above is S+L’s full, unedited interview with the fascinating, controversial Christopher West.