And so forth. There is a theme behind it, and that is of a notable reluctance to place too much importance on the strength of the desire. It is not a denial, but simple reluctance. This reluctance is important. Christopher West in his trampling manner, says it is denial, after which he goes on to not only place too much importance on the call of the lower appetites, but turns them into the one and only desire for communion with God.
The main point of the above-mentioned litany of reluctance-that-is-actually-strength is this: while one's sexuality is a precious gift from God the Creator (realized as such when one is not preoccupied and fascinated with it), its desires and its appetites do not ever have precedence over you. It remains a precious gift without the watch of your fascination, and it is to be kept as such. Protected. Your true embracing of it and affirmation of it is not a focusing on it. Your true embracing of it happens within the Father's embrace, which is gratuitously given in our filiality.
The good priest who proffers the above advice will not entrench you with all this stupid exasperating Gnostic bullcrap from Christopher West about entering deeply into your sexuality so that it will be deeply transformed so that you get to live --sorry, so that you must live in the La-La Land of "sexual redemption" where every single sexual urge becomes akin to a divine call. 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. Wow, not only do you commit sexual sin and keep its near occasion always at hand but you manage to bind it with the other extremity called spiritual pride! Well done good and faithful servant!
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.
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": that a man by his "pure gaze of love" at a woman's body might cause that woman, who happens to notice the gaze, to be awakened to the deep beauty within her - in her sexuality of course. Hey baby, look at my wonderful gaze! Be healed! Now share it with me! Let's celebrate each other!
(Dangerous stuff that. Really, I would rather have looked at a woman too long or in the wrong way and come to know shame afterward, than this garbage.)
Like I wonder if Katy Perry watched West's soul-reading video and experienced the ethos of redemption being unveiled in her own body.
Sheesh, the way he goes on about her music video too...
Uhm, dude, it's a music video. And anyways, 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.
There is nothing in his teaching (and it is West's teaching, not John Paul II's) but slavery of the worst order. Better to have ogled a woman and come to know deep shame afterwards, and thus come to know her personhood, than to attain the heights of West's "mature purity". And yes, I say - though this is by no means a suggestion whatsoever - better to have fallen into the baseness of fornication and come to know its shame than to fall into the same by the glory of God.
Getting back to sanity, the Litany of Distraction or The Litany of Occupation is so good because putting it into effect, one finds that one is, in fact, not distracting oneself at all, but rather realigning the encompassing lens of one's life to the order of things as they are and should be, and this is what you enter into - being. No sooner do you do this than you find you have barely scratched the surface of the goodness of being; you can go further and further with it, by a leaving-off of yourself, by looking outward with a true, upright, outward gaze.
In what is I think the earliest critique of West's work, Mark Lowery, having mostly praise for West's work, writes the following in his NCR article, Christian Sex or Sexy Christianity?:
It is well and good to aim at infusing our sexuality with the fullness of Christian grace. But, this side of the eschaton, many people's damaged raw material—psychological as well as physical—sadly stays put.
The foundation of the faith—the Trinitarian life, grace infused ever more into our being—is something they can have fully, and is in fact something that can grow ever more strong right in the midst of the struggle with our damaged raw materials.
That's sort of what I am getting at. 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. And thank God it does.
The "purification" that West teaches is not the purification that Christ calls us to. Our purification is not ours to call down. Our purification happens in the greater middle-earth of habitual being.
(You know, I really liked just writing that last sentence. If you wish instead to call it "the greater habitual being of middle-earth" I won't object.)
You do see of course the major problem with Christopher West? And by "major problem" I mean deadly error: his focusing upon the sexual only exacerbates the problems therein. And then he says the problem you are exacerbating is owing to prudish puritanism.
But this renders you more and more blind to the fundamental disorder of your very approach, indeed, as said above, encases it in the impervious walls of pride.
Perhaps it is hard to get immodest people to see this. More difficult even those who are proud.