"I am well aware," Christopher West confessed in his recent interview with S+L, "that those looking for flaws in me will always be able to find them."
The popular Theology of the Body author and speaker offered a forthright response to his critics, who last year sparked a surprising public debate among Catholic academics. Theologian David L. Schindler derided a “pansexualist tendency” in West's work, claiming that he too broadly links sex with “all important human and indeed supernatural activity”. Philosopher Dr. Alice von Hildebrand questioned his frequent use of blunt, informal language, commenting that he “lacks reverence”.
Moral theologian Dr. Janet Smith soon responded by defending West's work as “completely sound” and calling Schindler's critiques unsubstantiated. Then, crucially, his superiors Cardinal Justin Rigali and Bishop Kevin Rhoades issued a joint statement reaffirming their “strong support” and “full confidence” in West, granting their episcopal blessing to the Theology of the Body Institute where he is a research fellow and faculty member.
The eloquent West is quite capable of articulating his own defense and, invoking John Paul II, he maintains that the late pontiff's Theology of the Body is key to overthrowing today's 'culture of death'. Still, looking back on his early years in ministry, he concedes that he would now express some of his arguments differently.
"'You will come to see that your critics will demand perfection of you,'" says West, quoting the advice he received from a bishop. "I humbly admit I don't have perfection to give."
If you missed our interview with West when it first aired on S+L two weeks ago, the Catholic Focus episode is now streaming online.
This week on a special edition of the SLHour, we focus on movies. Our film expert, Sr. Marie Paul Curley, has been producing Windows to the Soul segments for years now and it’s time to share some of ...read more
Salt and Light Catholic Media Foundation – Born on the wings of World Youth Day 2002 in Canada, Salt + Light is a unique instrument of the New Evangelization. It is dedicated to being – and helping others become – the salt of the earth and the light of the world. Our mission is to proclaim Jesus Christ and the joy of the Gospel to the world by telling stories of hope that bring people closer to Christ and the Catholic faith.