his appearance on ABCâs âNightline.â West remarked that the segment, which showed him saying he loved Hugh Hefner, took some of his remarks out of context..- Adding another voice to the discussion over Christopher Westâs presentation of the Theology of the Body, writer James Likoudis writes that West has ignored criticisms of his irreverent style and has advocated the âprofoundly troublingâ idea that Christian freedom rejects fears about the âdangers of sexuality.â Controversy over West came to the forefront after
West responded to his critics in an October essay, saying he has read some âthoughtfulâ critiques but others simply repeated rumors. He acknowledged that he failed to emphasize manâs struggle with a tendency to sin. However, he said the pivotal question for him was what the grace of redemption offers âwith regard to our disordered sexual tendencies.â
Likoudis, past president of Catholics United for the Faith, discussed Westâs response via e-mail with CNA.
He said the response was âquite disappointingâ because West ignored criticisms of âhis irreverent style of vulgar and offensive sexually explicit âstreet languageââ in his discussions of human sexuality. He has also failed to repudiate his approval of certain unnatural sexual practices, Likoudis charged.
West continues to distort the teachings of Pope John Paul II on sexual concupiscence and the âfreedom of the redeemed person,â he added before noting that Westâs ideas of âsexual liberation from concupiscence,â in Likoudisâ view, remains âprofoundly troubling.â Westâs praise for a kind of freedom in which one is âdevoid of fear and sin,â Likoudis warned, ignores the âdangers of sexuality.â
âHe has muddied the waters of âChristian freedomâ,â Likoudis told CNA, arguing that West forgets that âmature purityâ has not freed the Christian from carnal desires that prevent âthe complete victory of the soul over the body.â
In support of his criticism of West, Likoudis quoted theologian Jean Mouroux.
âEven when redeemed, we are all too aware that the body remains profoundly sensible to pleasure, and shamefully weak in the face of sexual seduction. However, there can occur the progressive repossession of the body by the soul sanctified by the Eucharist and this can lead to a progressive spiritualization of the body,â Mouroux wrote.
âIt is important to stress that the married are not liberated automatically from surrendering to carnal desires. If they are in the state of sanctifying grace, they are in union with God and their marital intimacy blessed if conducted according to God's Law. Even for them, it must be said that the body is redeemed in hope alone, that is to say, it remains unsubmissive, a trial, a temptation, and under one of its aspects the wound of a rebellious concupiscence inflicted by original sin is always open,â continued Mouroux.
Mouroux said that the âfull subjection of flesh to spiritâ is a Christian ideal to be pursued without end, but it is ânot a state that is normally realized.â
âEven redeemed, the body resists the spirit; it subjects it to grievous temptations, it brings suffering and death. All the misery the person encounters in this life still hangs around it even when the body becomes Christian,â the theologian added.
While the sacraments deliver the Christian from the flesh, it is âthe height of spiritual realismâ to realize that the body is redeemed only âin germâ and will come to fruition âonly when time is no more and there is the glorious resurrection of the body.â
Likoudis, summarizing his own opinion, said that the âfatal flawâ in Westâs version of the Theology of the Body is a âdangerous illusionâ for presenting Christians as so liberated from âthe domination of concupiscenceâ that âthey need no longer to seriously fear the âdangers of sexualityâ and can thus enjoy themselves in sexual indulgence.â