Tuesday, December 1, 2009
On The Christopher West Controversy
This is a letter of support from Cardinal Justin Rigali and Bishop Kevin Rhoades for Christopher West, founder and speaker of the Theology of the Body Institute in reference to the criticisms of conservative Catholic writers on his "unconventional" style of interpreting and preaching the writings of the late Pope John Paul II on Theology of the Body. After all that have been said against Mr. West, it is only fair to hear his side of the story. Thanks Fr. Dan for sending me these links.
Cardinal Justin Rigali, as Chairman of the Episcopal Advisory Board for the Theology of the Body Institute and as local ordinary of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia where the Institute is located, and Bishop Kevin Rhoades, Christopher West's local ordinary in the Diocese of Harrisburg, have stated that they are pleased to express strong support for the important work of the Theology of the Body Institute and, in particular, that of Christopher West.
We are convinced that John Paul II's Theology of the Body is a treasure for the Church, indeed a gift of the Holy Spirit for our time. Yet, its scholarly language needs to be "translated" into more accessible categories if the average person is to benefit from it. To do this is the specific mission of the Theology of the Body Institute, and we believe that Christopher West, the Institute's popular lecturer and spokesman, has been given a particular charism to carry out this mission. With great skill as a presenter, with keen insight as a thinker, and with profound reverence for the mystery of human sexuality, he has been able to reach thousands in our sexually wounded culture with the Gospel of salvation in Christ.
In light of recent discussions, we are happy to state our full confidence in Christopher, who continues to show great responsibility and openness in listening carefully to various observations and reflections on his work and in taking them into account. He and the Theology of the Body Institute are in communication with us, their local ordinaries. They work with our episcopal blessing. In our view their programs, courses, and materials reflect strong fidelity to the teaching of the Church and to the thought of Pope John Paul II. As such, we consider them of superb value for promoting the New Evangelization.
We sincerely hope that Christopher will continue his much needed work in the Church. He does so with our enthusiastic encouragement. It is also or hope that more and more men and women -- priests, deacons, religious and laity alike -- will avail themselves of the valuable training and resources offered by the Theology of the Body Institute.
August 10, 2009
Cardinal Justin Rigali
Archbishop of Philadelphia
Most Reverend Kevin C. Rhoades
Bishop of Harrisburg
To read more on Zenit's interview with Christopher West, please click the links below:
Sex and the Journey of Redemption (Part 1)
Sex and the Journey of Redemption (Part 2)