Friday, May 08, 2009

Christopher West on ABC Nightline

Watch the video of Christopher West talking about the Catholic teachings of sex and marriage.

Christopher also posted a few clarifications on his website:

Christopher West and the Theology of the Body Institute are pleased that a wider audience will be exposed to their work through the article posted on ABC's website and the segment which aired on ABC's Nightline. It is our hope that it will encourage people to take a deeper look at the Church’s teachings on the sacredness of human sexuality as God intends it.

In an effort to correct any editorial comments which may appear misleading, the following few points will help clarify the actual teaching of The Theology of the Body:

Christopher West is not a sex therapist. He is a Catholic educator, author, lecturer, and faculty member of the Theology of the Body Institute. The TOB Institute is an educational organization and does not engage in sex therapy.

John Paul II's Theology of the Body is intended for every human being,regardless of his or her state in life and regardless of what sexual tendencies one might experience in this fallen world. The TOB povides not only a vision of God's glorious plan for human sexuality and married love, but a vision of what it means to be human and what it means to love in the image and likeness of God.

From beginning to end, Sacred Scripture unfolds a glorious love story, a story about the "marriage" between God and humanity, Christ and the Church. By inviting men and women to particpate in this love, Scripture shows us the "path of love" -- including the path for spouses in their sexual intimacy. However, in a cultural climate fixated on the mechanics of sex rather than on authentic marital love, to describe the Bible as the "ultimate sex guide" can be misleading. It is certainly a guide to love, and, indeed, to the "ultimate" love: the love revealed in Christ.

The Song of Songs presents an unabashed biblical celebration of the chaste love of a husband and wife, including multiple references to the intimacies of "tasting" the goodness of the other. To construe this as an endorsement for "oral sex" (as the culture uses that term) can be more than misleading. Please see Christopher West's book Good News About Sex and Marriage (chapter 5) for the full context of his answer to this question.

The Song of Songs is of great importance to a proper understanding of Christianity. Indeed, the saints and mystics of the Catholic tradition have written more commentaries on the Song of Songs than any other book in the Bible. It is in the very center of the Bible for a reason. Calling it the "centerfold" in Scripture, Christopher intends to redeem the common understanding of the word "centerfold," which is usually associated in popular culture with pornography. In no way is it meant to compare the sacredness of the Song of Songs with the distortions of pornography.