Colorado Springs, Colo., Sep 20, 2010 / 19:50 pm
Christopher West, the popular author and speaker whose presentation of Pope John Paul II's “Theology of the Body” has provoked controversy, returned from a six-month sabbatical with a new multimedia show this past weekend. Maintaining that his goal is to correct common misconceptions of Christianity, West added that he is most often criticized by members of “the religious right.”
His Sept. 18 show, titled “Fill These Hearts: God, Sex and the Universal Longing,” was a collaboration with the young folk-rock group Mike Mangione & The Union. West's teaching was also illustrated visually through film and sand paintings. The show was initially developed for Sydney's World Youth Day in 2008, and performed earlier this year in New York City.
The performance at Colorado Springs' Pikes Peak Center this past Saturday was West's first public appearance since his announcement of a six-month break in April. His “personal and professional” sabbatical followed a spate of critical comments from Catholic theologians and authors, such as Dr. Alice von Hildebrand and David Schindler, who claimed that West was ignoring the weakness of human nature and presenting an overly sexualized vision of Christianity.
West was also criticized for comparing Pope John Paul II to “Playboy” founder Hugh Hefner in a 60 Minutes interview, a comparison he said was misconstrued in the television profile.