Catholic speaker Christopher West has taken a six-month sabbatical at the Theology of the Body Institute after mutual agreement with the Institute’s board of directors. The popular presenter cited family obligations and the need to reflect on advice he has received about his teaching methods.
The sabbatical from teaching and travel was for “personal and professional renewal,” a press release from the Institute says.
“Christopher is taking this leave to attend to family needs, and to reflect more deeply on fraternal and spiritual guidance he has received in order to continue developing his methodology and praxis as it relates to the promulgation of the Theology of the Body,” the statement continues.
The Theology of the Body Institute said it regrets the interruption to upcoming 2010 events but reported that it will continue its education and outreach programs and offer other faculty members and instructors during West’s sabbatical.
After a controversial ABC interview last year, West became a center of criticism for his interpretation and presentation of Pope John Paul II’s teachings on sexuality, popularly known as the Theology of the Body.
His defenders see him as a speaker capable of reaching today’s youth with Church teaching.
His critics have voiced concern about his discretion in speaking about sensitive topics in ways that might arouse unwholesome curiosity. They said his emphasis on purity of intention in human love risks ignoring the dangers of man's tendency towards sin.