Has anyone ever read the original Theology of the Body? Y’know, the one written by St John Paul II. The confusion people have over what they think T.O.B. actually means concerning our bodies is so bad, that the renowned Dr. Von Hildebrand actually wrote a book about it. This book reminds us: “The essential link between sexuality and intimacy is modesty.”
‘Dr. von Hildebrand s book offers a true analysis of intimacy and modesty in current Western culture. The author rightly dedicates some pages to pornography, the total violation of personal intimacy, because it reduces a person to a toy, degrades her to the level of an object.’ –Carlo Cardinal Caffarra, Archbishop of Bologna
Dr. Von Hildebrand also criticized the Christopher West’ “primer” of T.O.B. titled, “Theology of the Body: For Beginners”. His pathetic remarks in an ABC interview describing a profound connection between Hugh Hefner (yes, the playboy old guy) and St. John Paul II made two other Theologians speak out as well.
“Why was Hugh Hefner a successful ‘evangelist’? Because eating fast food is a lot better than starving to death,” (So, fornicating yourself to the point of boredom is a lot better than lifelong celibacy?) West said. “What Pope John Paul II does is, he shows us that Christianity is considered an invitation to the banquet of love that truly satisfies.”
Alice Von Hildebrand “criticized his presentations as irreverent and insensitive to the ‘tremendous dangers’ of concupiscence.”
But apparently concupiscence is just something that doesn’t exist anymore? HA!
Von Hildebrand continued in this interview from CNA:
“My feeling is that his vocabulary and his way of approaching it totally lacks reverence.”
“Reverence is the key to purity,” she told CNA.” The intimate sphere “is not a topic of public discussion” but is “extremely serious.”
“It seems to me that his presentation, his vocabulary, the vulgarity of things that he uses are things that simply indicate that even though he might have good intentions he has derailed and is doing a lot of harm.”
She said people should not forget that we have been “profoundly affected” by original sin.
“In paradise there was perfect harmony between Adam and Eve. There was no concupiscence.”
“After original sin, not only were we separated from God and condemned to losing eternity. On top of it, every single human faculty was affected. Our intelligence was darkened. Our will was weakened. And all of a sudden, we had the dreadful experience of something called concupiscence.
Before the Fall, there was no inner temptation to impurity between Adam and Eve even though they were naked, she explained. After they sinned, the two started to look at one another with concupiscence.
The Fall had consequences that are “so serious” that it was only the Redemption and the grace of God could remedy.
The fight against concupiscence is “not an easy process,” Dr. von Hildebrand continued. “It is something that calls for holiness, which very few of us achieve. It is a sheer illusion to believe that by some sort of new technique we can find the solution to the problem.”
While one can lead a holy life in marriage, she said to become a saint is “a long and difficult process that calls for a spirit of penance, a readiness to sacrifice.”
“The tragedy of original sin is that all the beautiful male qualities of strength, courage, objectivity, nobility, a chivalrous attitude towards women, degenerated. The danger created by original sin is that many men use their strength and become brutal and abuse women or look at women as mere objects of pleasure.
“Eve was also profoundly affected by original sin,” she added.
“To my mind the conflict between man and woman can only be healed by striving for holiness,” she said. “There are many things Christopher West does not mention.”
Additionally, she charged that West does not mention the Old Testament figures who fell to sexual sin: David, King of Israel, who was blessed in “an extraordinary way” but ordered the murder of the husband of a woman with whom David committed adultery.
“Adulteries lead to murder. It is one of the most abominable stories you can imagine,” she said, explaining the Prophet Nathan’s rebuke of David led to the composition of Psalm 50.
She said it was upsetting to her as a youth to learn that a young man who prayed for “the straight and honest heart so that I may serve my people” went on to have 750 concubines.
“How can you be so good when you’re twenty, and lead such an abominable life when you’re seventy?” she asked. “As far as I can tell, this is something that Christopher West forgets, in this sphere which is extremely dangerous.”
She reported that a priest friend of hers had told her 90 percent of the sins that men accuse themselves of involve the Sixth Commandment against adultery.
Christopher West’s approach makes him forget that sex is “an extreme danger.” Though sex can be sanctified, that sanctification implies “a humility, a spirit of reverence, and totally avoiding the vulgarity that he uses in his language.”
Today, it seems that people forget the entire point of T.O.B. and believe that it now gives us the right to portray ourselves as objects? Or completely abandon all earlier truths of Concupiscence, Modesty in dress and such and exploit the body as if it we receive extra graces for doing so.
One Catholic Twitter-er posted a brash article on sex from “Men’s Humor“, with a photo that doesn’t hide anything. He just quoted it, “Don’t need to know, already read Theology of the Body.” Uhm?
Now here’s a lovely shocker, Theology of the Body isn’t even something we are BOUND to listen to. It isn’t magisterial. This means that St. John Paul II is not infallible, nor are we obliged to adhere to it as if it were the Commandment of God, or the Bible.
So this strange idea that we have, concerning T.O.B., that is so twisted that we all believe we are free from all concupiscence, temptation of the body, or the need to battle forms of lust… is based on a very beautiful, yet not infallible document by St. John Paul II.
Go ahead and read T.O.B.! Please! But don’t go spreading the lie that we are all now free from Original sin and can brashly talk about Sex, or walk around with no clothes on without any spiritual consequences. Remember, souls are sent to hell from a mortal sin; lusting after someone elses’ body is a mortal sin. And being the cause of that person’s lust also means you more than partly to blame.
Featured photo source.