Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Christopher West's Overevaluation of Sex

Thus, the term "knowledge" used in Genesis 4:1-2 and often in the Bible, raises the conjugal relation of man and woman, that is, the fact that through the duality of sex they become "one flesh," and brings it into the specific dimension of the persons. Genesis 4:1-2 speaks only about "knowledge" of the woman by the man, as if to underline above all the man's activity. One can, however, also speak of the reciprocity of this "knowledge," in which man and woman participate through their body and their sex. Let us add that a series of subsequent biblical texts, e.g., the very same chapter of Genesis (see Gen 4:17.25), speak with the same language. And this way of speaking goes all the way up to the words spoken by Mary of Nazareth in the Annunciation, "How is this possible? I do not know man" (Lk 1:34). --From TOB 20:3

There is an account of Saint Dominic in which someone once asked him why he kept his eyes lowered to the ground for most of the day.

St. Dominic replied, "So that my eyes might be pure when I one day behold the Blessed Mother."


Fr. Angelo Mary Geiger has a very good article here that goes into the important matters, like the mystery that Christ was virginally conceived in Mary, and that it was not impregnation of any kind.

Also read Alice von Hildebrand's essay, which similarly touches upon the subject of analogy.

I've read the chapter, A Garden Closed, A Fountain Sealed from West's book Heaven's Song.

In that chapter Our Lady is analogized, de-personalized into a figuration of the feminine sexual as the highest example of one who was most fully impregnated with/by God (thus Christ is de-personalized as well), as though the Incarnation was just a question of her receiving the greatest possible measure of God as-union-with-Him, rather than the virginal incarnation of the Second Person of the Trinity. So it continues, in this way, that she was able to fully experience the sexuality of her body, and thus it is for this reason that we enter her womb to learn of the goodness of our sexuality, since her sexuality (our sexuality being the one key desire for communion with God) was fully impregnated with God and thus we can be formed into "another Christ" (though at this point what "Christ" means is anybody's guess) in her womb. And that's why she did not engage in the marital act with St. Joseph - because that would have been a "step backward":

To recognize Mary as the "Immaculate One" is to recognize that her sexuality was never muddled by our fallen condition. For she experienced the fullness of redemption right from the first moment of her conception. This would mean that Mary's purity allowed her to experience her sexuality in its fullness - as a deep yearning for total communion with God in Christ. This is why she didn't have sexual relations with Joseph: not because marital union is "unholy," but because she was already living the union beyond sexual union - union with God. This is not to knock Joseph, but earthly, sexual union with him would have been for Mary a step backwards. Instead, Mary took Joseph forward with her into the fulfillment of all desire. --from Heaven's Song, Pg. 86-87

We see in that one single passage (and throughout the chapter) the deconstruction of The Holy Family. Because West has reduced the Incarnation in the way he does (because West is a Manichaean), there is no mention of the Christ Child.

Thus, according to West, the virginal relations between Mary and Joseph was owing to Mary's "sexual fullness" - not because they were both set aside by the very Incarnation which was virginally conceived without impregnation, and which, in being fostered and protected with joy by them, was of a fulfillment in them that was so great that to speak of the sexual sphere in regards to them would be like talking about...well, the sexual sphere of the souls in Heaven. Oh yes, it would also be absolutely insulting to them as well.

In a manner of speaking, the Incarnation "took up all the space". Not temporarily like it was just some distraction, but because it was the Incarnation, being the very pivot of history and of humankind, they gave themselves to Him forever as He chose them, and in so doing, they became The Holy Family. It would have been impossible for either of them, both Mary and Joseph, to turn to sexual desire or to move from sexual desire.

It's precisely here that the Westian will say, "So you're saying that they were without sexuality?!"

Perhaps the Westian can't imagine that the God who created human persons and who made them sexual beings, now being incarnate in the lives of two chaste spouses, couldn't possibly raise that sphere in such a way that it was in its fullest yet, in contrast to the Revelation of their Son and Saviour, was sweetly disposed of, without annihilation and without tension.

In other words they cannot see that The Holy Family is, well, The Holy Family.

It makes sense though, since Christopher West teaches his disciples to stare at their own naked bodies in the mirror until they overcome "their shame". No wonder they can't get over their sexual obsessions.

Christopher West is a living example of what Pope John Paul II (as Karol Wojtyla) wrote about on Humanae Vitae, concerning the "overevaluation of sex":

Modern man must decide correctly, too, the value of conjugal union and the true meaning of love in the mutual relationship of persons of the opposite sex. ... Here too, the encyclical shows an awareness of the complexity of the situation. It does not put all the blame for aberration on the evils of "sexualism," but it does seek to make evident the true value of sex in human life and above all in marriage. The overevaluation of sex results in its devaluation. This is the fundamental error of "sexualism" in its various forms. On this basis, contraceptive attitudes arise as well as the demand for the legalization of contraceptives. The author of the encyclical declares himself in favor of the true value of sex, and defends it against the abasement which lies hidden in its overevaluation in daily life, particularly in conjugal life.


jvc said...

The BVM was a real, flesh-and-blood woman: just like our mothers, our sisters, our daughters, our spouses. Furthermore, she was the most holy, beautiful woman who ever lived. To treat her with anything less than the utmost care and respect is ghastly.

Can any of the Westians claim that he would allow any man to treat his own daughters the way West treats the Virgin Mary? No real man, for sure; not a man with a chivalrous bone in his body.

Others can correct me on this, but was it not Our Lady of Fatima who said that to say with irreverence the 'Hail Mary' was the surest way to damnation? Perhaps the people who are manipulating the text of this holy prayer should be mindful of this.

More later, I'm sure.

Paul, thanks for your continued writing. It does good my soul.

Deacon Jim Russell said...

Hi, Paul--thank you for yet another installment of how *not* to spend Lent and how *not* to have charitable discourse.

Wherein we learn that West is:

1. A Manichean.
2. A Marty Haugen version of Picasso.
3. Author of a "bunch of other crap" and "vile words."
4. Violating "the integrity of our Holy Mother."
5. Rupturing/disintegrating any image of the Holy Family.
6. Reducing the Incarnation.
7. A misogynist.
8. Teaches "a bunch of affirming heretical nonsense."

My goodness. Can the man do *nothing* right? Tell me at least that he "vass a great dahncer," please.

Paul, this is really spiritually unhealthy. How can anyone take any potentially interesting points of concern about substance seriously (e.g. Aquinas on continence and virtue) while all the time you are personally attacking a fellow Catholic in the most uncharitable terms?

Can you not see how you are manipulating the so-called conversation? The direct quotes you take from West himself are by no means supportive of your unsubstantiated claims regarding the Holy Family, the Incarnation, and the Blessed Mother. Rather, you rely on insinuation and outright false characterization to attempt to make your points.

I mean, sorry Paul, but saying what someone writes is "crap" isn't exactly a cogent or rational response to what you perceive as error.

Again, *where* is the error? Where is the "Manichean" heresy? Name it. Cite it. Don't just rip things out of context and argue from "silence" about how, when West emphasizes one point, he must be therefore *excluding* all others.

That's not honest discussion and not honest evaluation of a man's work.

I think you can do better. If *you* think you can do better, too, then drop the name-calling and unproven insinuations and *elevate* the level of the conversation you are insisting upon having during this Lenten season.

God bless you,

Deacon Jim Russell

Deacon Jim Russell said...

Paul--it also has become painfully obvious that the biggest part of the problem with these daily attacks on West is that you are almost exclusively relying on content that is not at all up to date, particularly when it comes to West's own writing.

There is no justice to be found in relying on three-year-old critiques and claims against West when West *himself* addresses most every major claim made against him in the footnotes of his most recent book.

To proceed with this failed Lenten exercise without going to what West himself says most recently about some of these issues is not only a failure of justice but it is also just adding insult to injury.

God bless you,

Deacon Jim Russell

Enbrethiliel said...


It's a fantasy. He doesn't want any sexual thought, impulse or action he does ever to be wrong (even when it is), so he weaves some fan fiction, starring Mary, in which she gets "to experience sexuality in its fullness" and all her devotees can have access to the same high.

He reminds me of a pre-conversion Oscar Wilde, who argued that as long as we have beauty, we do not need to concern ourselves with what is moral and immoral. It's one step away from outright libertinism.

jvc said...

The coward Deacon Jim can't answer a single question in any thread, so he resorts to bashing Paul for commenting on West at all. Pathetic. His game is becoming so routine that one could almost write a script for it. No quote from his Hefner-loving hero West is too inaccurate for him. No attack on the Mother of God or the Saints of the Church is too much.

Paul Stilwell said...

From other posts:

9."stupid exasperating Gnostic bullcrap from Christopher West about entering deeply into your sexuality"

10."So let's say someone wants to make millions of dollars by using a Pope's work of theology, pop sex-magic and a lot of ellipsis."

11."an interview dripping at the seams with the sliest corruption of Church teaching"

12."Oh no, there's no pantheistic sex worship going on here ladies and gentlemen, none at all..." [sarcasm]

13."Oh yeah, while taking Revelation and squashing it down the same crap hole along with it, thus encasing yourself in the impervious walls of spiritual pride."

14."Thank God for good and humble priests, with their rustic Italian advice, who keep this world going in which 7-digit earners (or is West a 6-digit earner?) promulgate their deadly errors on the backs of the fatherless and motherless generations."

15."One of the greatest narcissistic fantasies imaginable to man just so happens to be one which Christopher West teaches as a justification of the "pure gaze of love" in "mature purity""

16."what exactly is he doing describing this inappropriate music video with such voyeurism to people - people whom, we would assume, he would like to have healed of their disordered sexual tendencies? Anyhow, it reminds me of that documentary footage of that mentally disturbed man who came to John Lennon's house quite convinced that Lennon was writing all his songs personally to him."

17."Our life in Christ, the foundation of our faith, is not subject to the crap that West is giving you; it transcends all that, right here and right now."

18."Because he cannot stop cramming everything into his singular sexual mold - the crucible of sexualization which if you do not pass through you will be unworthy of bringing about the new evangelization."

19."For West is entrapped in the interpretation of suspicion:"

20."No, sexuality has become the great incorruptible, the Christ that cannot be defeated by Puritanism the Devil, though Puritanism the Devil may distort it. It rises again from ashes to create itself anew. Our sexuality holds the "key" to our redemption, so no matter about reducing a person to it then." [sarcasm]

21."In the cultish Westian sex-programming, this is a big no-no. In the cultish Westian sex-programming, you are told that in averting the eyes you are doing so because..."

Deacon Jim Russell said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Enbrethiliel said...


Don't fall for it, Stilwell! Don't attempt to discuss anything "charitably" with someone who doesn't even have the wit to see that the only "Lenten facade" is his own.

(You'll be nice and delete this comment, right? =P Of course, I won't hate you if you don't.)