Denver, Colo., Aug 10, 2010 / 18:04 pm
Responding to the recent call of Cardinal Justin Rigali to spread the message of the Theology of the Body – Pope John Paul II's teachings on human sexuality – noted author Dawn Eden has made a free copy of her master's thesis, including a new preface and supporting material, available exclusively on CNA.
At the first annual Theology of the Body Congress in Pennsylvania, Cardinal Rigali, Archbishop of Philadelphia, exhorted the faithful to promote the work of the late Pontiff, describing his teaching on sexuality as the modern “curriculum of the Culture of Life.”
In support of Cardinal Rigali’s exhortation, Eden responded, “I have decided to make my master’s thesis available free of charge to all.”
Eden’s thesis—which gained public attention in June when she published her official defense on her blog—has sparked controversy among some Catholics, as it critically examines popular speaker Christopher West’s presentation of John Paul II’s teachings.
Among the assertions made by West that she faulted was his claim that the Church’s liturgy “is modeled on the union of spouses,” which he supports by saying the Easter Candle is “truly” intended to be a phallic symbol. Eden countered this by citing documentation from the Consilium—the body of experts charged with revising the liturgy following Vatican II—showing that theologians appointed by the Magisterium had rejected the phallic interpretation of the candle.
Eden’s thesis also asserted that West, in telling engaged couples that they should not marry until they attain a complete victory over lust, forgets that only the sacrament of matrimony can enable a couple to move from the imperfect virtue of continence into the perfect virtue of marital chastity. As a result, Eden claimed, he unwittingly promotes “a semi-Pelagian ideal of human-powered self-control.”
Author of the hit book “The Thrill of the Chaste,” Eden successfully defended her master’s thesis this past May 19 at the Pontifical Faculty of the Immaculate Conception at the Dominican House of Studies in Washington, D.C.
Speaking to CNA in a phone interview on August 9, Eden said, “My purpose in writing the thesis was to help the church's teachers give a more accurate and faithful presentation of the Theology of the Body.”