Tuesday, July 27, 2010

What Purity Isn't

My reaction to Alice von Hildebrand's essay in which she criticizes Christopher West's interpretation, enthusiasm, and crude language in his delivery of John Paul II's Theology of the Body.

From the Article:
As West’s Crash Courses on John Paul’s teaching grew in popularity, I found myself confronting friends and other college-aged Catholics about the views they developed either from reading West’s books, attending a West seminar, or listening to his long crash course tape series. Whether it involved the crass language they used in speaking about the sacred or pinning up signs in their dorm room which read “Sex is loved misspelled,” the number of people I discussed West’s teaching with was growing every year.


E. B. said...

Good job, PC.

And wow - von Hildebrand's essay is REALLY good.

I'm sad that you moved away, especially now that I'm taking classes in NOLA!

Greg said...

I have to offer a different opinion.

While von Hildebrand's essay was well written, very educated, and eloquent in defense of her husband, it is absolutely dated. Not that modesty in respect to purity is not relative to society today, but I think she cannot understand a priori what it is to be young in our culture.

We grow up now in culture where casual sex is the norm. Pornography is everywhere, easily accessible in movies, music, and the internet. To reach after the modesty von Hildebrand discusses, we fight with sex as dirty and struggle to see the holiness. And "silent adoration" does nothing to transform our minds.

Christopher West does speak the current language. He transforms the dirty associations into something beautiful again. I owe him a lot, for making the Pope's teachings accessible to me.

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